On October 25, 2017 NHA Chairman, Geoff Whaling and Executive Director, Erica McBride held two very important meetings to further Industrial Hemp legislation.
They were invited to meet with staff of the US House Agriculture Committee to submit changes to section 7606 of the 2018 Federal Farm Bill. While our number one priority remains the passage of HR3530 (The 2017 Industrial Hemp Act) changes to the farm bill language is a back up plan to ensure the industry moves forward in the case the HR3530 does not pass quickly. Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill has been the provision that has allowed states to embark on research programs and begin the reemergence of hemp. We are seeking to remove the research component of the language to allow true commercial activity and to also give Tribal Councils and US Territories the authority to implement hemp programs. While the farm bill does not have the ability to go so far as to remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as HR 3530 will do, it can ensure the industry moves forward and escapes the constraints of research only. Additionally the 2018 Farm Bill MUST be passed no later than September of 2018 so getting this language changed ensures progress next year,
The second meeting was with 5 senior directors of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). As far as we know, this was the first time the DEA has engaged directly with representatives of the hemp industry. It was a 90 minute meeting that was extremely helpful in understanding each other’s positions, finding common ground and a path forward in the spirit of cooperation, While at this point we do not have their responses officially in writing they expressed that they do not seek to stand in the way of building the hemp industry, see no restrictions on acreage in the current farm bill language and that products produced under authorized state’s pilot programs are legitimate and able to be sold for marketing research. CBD continues to be the main and perhaps only point of contention with them, although they do see a legitimate path for CBD research. We intend to keep this conversation going with them and we don’t believe they will attempt to block passage of HR3530.
We have been asked to submit many of the questions we raised with them in writing so that we may get their official responses in writing. We will certainly share this information as soon as we receive these official written responses.