Hemp policymaking expected to be contentious as farm bill delayed

Delays to the 2023 Farm Bill and disagreements among hemp stakeholders could throw the industry off balance after shrinking significantly over the past two years.

Stakeholders have been counting on the Farm Bill to advance industry goals and address critical issues, particularly CBD and other hemp-derived cannabinoids, as well as the cannabis-like psychoactive products downstream of these hemp compounds.

While a stop-gap bill signed by President Joe Biden provides funding for essential farm programs and food aid, the largest program in the five-year farm bill, hemp and other issues are unlikely to receive funding before September 2024 solve. said differing priorities among some cannabis constituencies could complicate cannabis policymaking.

The Farm Bill (officially known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2023), a $1 trillion spending package passed every five years, is a much-needed reset to clarify cannabis rules for businesses and protect consumers . Changes are particularly needed to strengthen language in the 2018 Farm Bill, which federally legalized hemp but failed to account for some products made from the flowers of the hemp plant.

CBD rules take precedence

The most important thing is to regulate CBD as a food additive and dietary supplement. Stakeholders have repeatedly called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow CBD to be added to food or sold as a dietary supplement, but with little success.

The FDA in turn called on Congress to pass legislation setting rules for CBD products, suggesting that the agency’s existing authorities are unable to manage the many risks associated with CBD under rules for dietary supplements and food additives.

The FDA has repeatedly cited studies saying CBD can harm the liver and male reproductive system and said little is known about how it interacts with drugs or its effects on children and pregnant women.

The Farm Bill could be the vehicle for necessary rule changes and go a long way to protecting consumers from the many potentially unsafe CBD products currently on the market, while also establishing a clear level of competition for growers and processors. environment.

The Dilemma of Delta-8

Closely related to the CBD rules is the need for a framework to address delta-8 THC and other cannabis-derived psychoactive compounds that are responsible for the decimation of the cannabis industry.

The delay in the Farm Bill is a reprieve for producers of delta-8 THC and other downstream synthetic CBD products that mimic the high of marijuana.Not regulated and therefore often not safe The product flourished at an astonishing rate and was openly sold in smoke shops, convenience stores, gas stations and online.

Rules are needed to close loopholes in the previous Farm Bill to ensure the safety and consistent quality of these psychoactive products and to provide guidance on where and under what conditions, if any, products frequently marketed to children can be Sales provides guidance.

Delta-8 manufacturers appeal to children by imitating branding and packaging of popular treats.

Increased pressure

Lawmakers and regulators are under increasing pressure to address an out-of-control market for psychoactive cannabis products. While some states protect delta-8 under strict interpretations of the law, highlighting the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says the products do not meet the federal definition of marijuana and are therefore controlled substance. The DEA said it would push to amend federal drug control laws to ban high-concentration synthetic THC products.

Stakeholders in the heavily regulated recreational marijuana industry also oppose cannabis-based psychoactive products, arguing that they represent unregulated competition. Earlier this year, cannabis regulators from 45 states called on the U.S. Congress to close loopholes that allow the proliferation of delta-8 and other unsafe synthetic THC products.

Hemp stakeholders also hope the next farm bill victory will increase the amount of THC allowed in field hemp plants from 0.3% to 1.0% to alleviate farmers’ concerns that the crop will heat up or exceed the limit and become useless.

present and past

The next farm bill could also help by providing more USDA funding for state hemp programs, opening up hemp subsidies to other crops, repealing bans on felons operating in the industry, and allowing hemp grains to be used as animal feed Cannabis industry. Stakeholders also seek to alleviate the need for hemp testing at DEA-registered laboratories, to waive background checks for hemp fiber and grain farmers, and to relax sampling and testing protocols for farmers who grow hemp for use in cannabinoid products.

All these hoped-for changes now have to wait at least nine months

With Congress politically divided, the 2023 bill is one of the few measures almost guaranteed to pass. Lawmakers typically finalize the bill’s highly complex and wide-ranging provisions before the end of the year when it is scheduled to be updated, but that failed to happen this year.

Overall, cannabis interest groups tend to have different priorities, which can complicate cannabis policymaking in the United States because these groups tend to use cannabis as an industrial input, food ingredient, and dietary supplement ingredient, the Congressional Research Service noted.

The 2014 Farm Bill created a hemp pilot program that allowed farmers to grow hemp legally for the first time in more than half a century, but the 2018 bill set a milestone for industrial hemp by removing its drug status, making any part legal Phosphate the plant, including seeds and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts and salts of isomers in which the Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration does not exceed 0.3 on a dry weight basis %.

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Image Source : hemptoday.net

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