By Steven Hoffman
U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) on February 8 introduced the Hemp Advancement Act of 2022 to improve the 2018 Farm Bill’s hemp provisions and provide greater clarity and flexibility to hemp growers and processors. While hemp production was federally legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill, red tape and regulatory uncertainty has hindered industry growth, the Congresswoman said in a statement.
“The 2018 Farm Bill laid a legal pathway for hemp production but created overly complicated regulations and hardship for farmers and small businesses in the process. I am introducing the Hemp Advancement Act of 2022 to eliminate unworkable testing requirements, set reasonable THC thresholds for producers and processors while protecting consumers, and end the discriminatory policy that bans people with drug convictions from growing legal hemp,” said Rep. Pingree.
“My bill takes a commonsense, straightforward approach to correct these unintended implementation problems and works to make the hemp industry more profitable and more equitable. My bill also provides a clear path forward for this industry and will support a thriving hemp economy,” she added.
Congresswoman Pingree released a short YouTube video clip about the Hemp Advancement Act here.
According to Rep. Pingree’s office, the Hemp Advancement Act of 2022 would:
- Raise the allowable THC threshold for hemp and in-process hemp extract to make the rules more workable for growers and processors while ensuring that final hemp products sold to consumers aren’t intoxicating
- Remove the requirement that hemp testing occur in DEA-registered laboratories, which is a particular challenge in Maine where there currently aren’t any of these facilities
- End the 10-year ban on people with drug-related felony convictions receiving a hemp license, which disproportionately excludes communities of color from participating in this emerging market
“We are deeply grateful to Congresswoman Chellie Pingree for her strong leadership in spearheading this legislation on behalf of hemp growers, processors, and consumers nationwide. The U.S. Hemp Roundtable is proud to have led a broad-based industry effort to propose the policies that underlie this legislation and to have worked closely with Rep. Pingree’s excellent staff throughout the drafting process to ensure our concerns were taken into consideration. Rep. Pingree’s vision and tenacity will make a significant and meaningful difference for our emerging industry,” U.S. Hemp Roundtable said in a statement.
According to Rep. Pingree’s office, the Congresswoman has long supported the nation’s hemp farmers and hemp-derived CBD businesses, which have been at the mercy of unclear federal regulations. In February 2021, Rep. Pingree joined 18 members of Congress in reintroducing the bipartisan Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act, legislation to provide a regulatory pathway for the legal sale of hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD), as dietary supplements.
In September 2019, Rep. Pingree led a bipartisan effort urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish a regulatory pathway for food products containing hemp-derived CBD. She also voted to pass the MORE Act in December 2020, which would decriminalize marijuana and remove federal obstacles for Maine’s burgeoning legal marijuana industry.
The Hemp Advancement Act of 2022 is supported by the American Herbal Products Association, Americans for Safe Access, Association of Western Hemp Professionals, Friends of Hemp, Hemp Alliance of Tennessee, Hemp Industries Association, iHemp Michigan, Realm of Caring Foundation, Inc., U.S. Hemp Authority, U.S. Hemp Building Association, U.S. Hemp Roundtable, Veterinary Cannabis Society, Virginia Hemp Coalition and the Wisconsin Hemp Alliance.
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Steven Hoffman is Managing Director of Compass Natural, providing brand marketing, PR, social media, and strategic business development services to natural, organic, sustainable and hemp/CBD products businesses. Compass Natural serves in PR and programming for NoCo Hemp Expo and Southern Hemp Expo, and Hoffman serves as Editor of the weekly Let’s Talk Hemp Newsletter, published by We are for Better Alternatives. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.