Bipartisan lawmakers have introduced a new bill that they claim is what they call “discriminatory” federal policy. The bill prohibits people with felony drug convictions from owning or leading a legal hemp business.
manager. David Torrone (D-Maryland), Shelley Pingree (D-ME), Dave Joyce (Republican-Ohio), and Nancy Mace (Republican-South Carolina) on past conviction provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized cannabis federally sponsors the Free to Grow Act, which strictly addresses
In a press release on Tuesday, Pingree said that despite legalization, “the industry’s growth is hampered by bureaucracy, discriminatory policies and regulatory uncertainty.”
Congress is expected to pass a new version of the Farm Bill this year.
“The upcoming Farm Bill gives Congress a once-in-five-year chance to fix unfair policies that prohibit people with drug convictions from growing hemp,” she said. “I am proud to join Congressmen Trone, Joyce and Mace in introducing the Free to Grow Act, addressing this injustice and supporting a thriving hemp economy.”
A bipartisan law currently stipulates that anyone convicted of a felony drug offense in the past decade cannot legally serve certain roles in a licensed hemp business Farm Bill will break the wording of Congress has moved to end cannabis bans and launch new markets.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) stated in 2019 that the ban applies only to “major participants,” such as chief executives and people serving as chief executives, who have a direct financial interest in the business. made it clear that This means that personnel such as maintenance workers are exempt from the ban, which is in line with the narrower interpretation advocated.
Now lawmakers are trying to get rid of the banned term altogether. The bill’s text, shared with Marijuana Moments on Tuesday, simply states: abolition. ”
“Even though employment is the biggest indicator of declining recidivism rates, more than 27% of returning citizens are still unemployed,” Trone said.
“Worse still, returning citizens, after repaying their debts to society, are barred from doing their best in their own businesses or pursuing career paths of their choosing. No,” he said. Because it is wrong to prevent people from rebuilding their lives.”
We also introduced the Free to Grow Act. @RepDaveJoyce, @RepNancyMaceand @chelliepingreeHemp production is a growing industry but people with felony drug convictions are barred from participating in it. Our bill will change that and give people a real second chance will give
— Rep. David Trone (@RepDavidTrone) March 7, 2023
“Outdated federal cannabis laws continue to create barriers to innovation and hinder economic development, even in industries dealing with the non-addictive parts of the federally legalized plant,” Joyce said. rice field.
“That’s why I joined my colleagues in introducing the Free to Grow Act, which duly allows more Americans to participate in the federally legalized hemp industry without government interference or stigma. I am proud of it,” he said.
Mace said it was “difficult enough to return to society after paying off debt.”
“Let’s not put further restrictions on businesses that are already legal for these people. Hemp is legal and is used in a variety of situations, including stress and skin conditions.” Bipartisan Free The to Grow Act lifts the ban on this restriction and allows formerly incarcerated people to thrive in the hemp industry.”
A coalition of advocacy groups including Americans for Prosperity (AFP), DREAM.Org, Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), Due Process Institute, Minorities for Medical Marijuana Cannabis & Hemp Policy, R St Institute, and the United States have endorsed the reform proposal. Hemp Roundtable.
Pingree has long advocated changing the hemp element of the Farm Bill, and although he introduced another law in a past session that included repealing the felony conviction ban, the THC threshold for legal hemp was and remove the requirement that crops be tested only in laboratories accredited by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
On the latter point, the USDA announced late last year that it was temporarily delaying enforcement of the DEA-registered lab requirement due to “insufficient” capacity at such facilities. The rule did not come into effect on January 1 as he was originally scheduled. The industry-contested rule is expected to come into effect as early as December 31, 2023.
USDA announced in January that it would publish a weekly newsletter that would provide “unbiased, timely and accurate data” on the hemp industry. The development comes shortly after the agency began sending out thousands of surveys to hemp farmers across the country as part of its annual effort to learn how the market has evolved.
In 2020, the USDA announced plans to distribute another national survey to gain insights from thousands of hemp companies that could inform their approach to regulating the industry.
Meanwhile, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report last year outlining the many ways stakeholders want federal hemp laws to be amended to better support the industry through the upcoming Farm Bill. .
Recently, the US Library of Congress published an important report on hemp regulation. In this report, we examined how different countries deal with issues such as cultivation, product testing and licensing of legal businesses.
Separately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said earlier this year it would not make rules to allow CBD to be marketed as a dietary supplement or food, prompting repeated administrative action from legislators, advocates. and stakeholders, leaving a large industry unregulated despite calls for
Following a “careful review” of non-addictive cannabinoids, the FDA said it had reached the conclusion that existing regulatory pathways that apply to other dietary supplements and food additives do not work for CBD. Instead, the agency said it hopes to “work with Congress on new paths.”
Read the text of the Free to Grow Act below.
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Photo courtesy of Brendan Creek.