Four congressmen from Colorado, Kentucky and Virginia on Friday introduced a bill that would exempt industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
The Industrial Hemp Farming Act was introduced by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) and Jared Polis (D-Colorado), as well as Reps. James Comer and Thomas Massie, two Republicans from Kentucky.
The legislation “creates a new category for hemp research at universities and state departments of agriculture, and allows for further commercialization of industrial hemp crops," according to a press release issued by the congressmen.
The 2014 Farm Bill has allowed for the cultivation, growth and marketing of industrial hemp under specific conditions, but companies selling hemp-based products, such as cannabidiol (CBD) in dietary supplements, have encountered roadblocks from federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which enforces the CSA.
“By removing industrial hemp from the definition of a controlled substance, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act will finally allow for responsible, commercial production of industrial hemp without fear of violating federal law," Goodlatte said in a statement. “This bipartisan legislation is the product of many months of robust discussion with both lawmakers and stakeholders."
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill, state agriculture officials, and industry representatives have pointed out industrial hemp contains very little THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law.
THC levels in marijuana flowers can contain between 10 percent and 30 percent THC, Ananda Hemp, a manufacturer of “full-spectrum hemp extract" sourced from Kentucky, noted in a press release, commenting on the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. By contrast, “industrial hemp" cannot contain more than 0.3 percent THC under Section 7606 of the Farm Bill.
“It’s past time that we eliminate absurd barriers," Polis said in a statement, “and allow hemp farmers to get to work, create jobs, and grow this promising and historically important crop!"
Communications staff for Polis and Comer, Kentucky’s former agriculture commissioner, did not immediately respond to requests for additional information.
Editor's Note: Seeking more information on the industrial hemp market and CBD? Experts from the hemp industry will be speaking on Thursday, Sept. 28, during a panel at SupplySide West in Las Vegas. The panel, “The State of CBD in Dietary Supplements,” will explore business opportunities in the CBD market, regulatory challenges, and recommendations for bringing new products to market.