Members of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable gathered in Washington D.C. last week to promote a robust legislative agenda on Capitol Hill. The national hemp lobbying organization held its second annual Fall Fly-In on Wednesday, September 20th to campaign for hemp industry priorities for the upcoming Farm Bill and federal legislation that would regulate CBD.
The day was stacked with a bipartisan slate of nearly four dozen meetings with Members of Congress and their staff, including 31 Senate meetings (17 Republican; 14 Democrat) and 16 House meetings (6 Republican; 10 Democrat) from 16 across states and Washington D.C. — CA, DC, CO, FL, KS, KY, MD, NC, NV, NY, OK, OR, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA.
A midday briefing and luncheon took place at noon featuring a panel discussion on legislation that would direct the FDA to regulate hemp-derived CBD. The panel was moderated by U.S. Hemp Roundtable General Counsel, Jonathan Miller, who was joined by representatives from several leading dietary supplement organizations, including —
- Julia Gustafson, Vice President for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN)
- Marc Schloss, Vice President for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA)
- Will Woodlee, Outside Counsel for the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA)
- Pete Meachum, Senior Director of Government Affairs for the Cronos Group
“This esteemed panel of dietary supplement experts demonstrated strong, unified national support behind legislation—such as H.R.1628, H.R.1629 and S.5451—that would direct the FDA to regulate hemp-derived CBD using existing regulatory frameworks,” said Miller.“We all agree that the FDA has the ability to regulate CBD products without having to develop a new, separate pathway.”
The briefing had over a hundred attendees, the majority coming from offices of Members on the House Energy and Commerce, Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions), and House and Senate Agriculture committees. The Roundtable held a similar event in April that focused on priorities for the upcoming Farm Bill with speakers from the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and the National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC).
“With negotiations for the next Farm Bill taking place, along with the recent pressure on FDA coming as a result of the recent Congressional hearing and RFI on CBD regulations, it was an optimal time to amplify our efforts,” Miller said. “We will remain vigilant over the next several months to ensure that the next steps are forward for both hemp stakeholders and consumers.”
Last July, the House Oversight Subcommittee on Health Care and Financial Services held a hearing examining the FDA’s failure to regulate CBD. It was the first time Congress formally scrutinized the impact that the lack of federal regulatory framework for CBD products has had on the hemp industry. As the hearing concluded, four bicameral Health Committee leaders announced and released a Request for Information (RFI) regarding FDA regulation of CBD. The request, shared by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr., (D-NJ), along with Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Ranking Member Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), contained 29 questions covering various aspects on the current regulation of hemp and CBD extract products.
“Despite the state of U.S. politics, which will most likely delay the Farm Bill to next year, overall we’re feeling optimistic about the trip and the feedback we received, particularly from our top allies and bill champions,” said Miller. “It’s always a slow and steady step-by-step process when it comes to the political system so we can never truly estimate timing.”
In addition to CBD regulations, The Roundtable is advocating for Farm Bill provisions that would ease regulatory burdens on producers and ensure consumers safety, as well as standalone legislation such as The SAFE Banking Act, The Free To Grow Act and the All American Flag-Act. Hemp Supporters are encouraged to visit the Federal Action Center at hempsupporter.com to contact your members of Congress urging them to back these initiatives.
Roundtable members in attendance included: Stefanie Reiser, Acknowledge Farms; Vince Sanders, CBD American Shaman; Lance Blundell, cbdMD; Dr. Sibyl Swift, cbdMD; Sean Groer, Columbia Basin Bioscience; Jim Higdon, Cornbread Hemp; Lien Tran, Cronos Group; Pete Meachum, U.S. Hemp Roundtable/Cronos Group; Eduardo Perez, Equine Health Innovations; Christine Lanza, GVB Biopharma; Jena Murray, Medterra; Paul Gennings, Pet Releaf; Erin McGinnis, Integrishield; Gayla Huber, Integrishield; Ken Meyer, South Dakota Industrial Hemp Association; Devin Alvarez, Straight Hemp; Ilissa Nolan, Texas Hemp Coalition; Shayda Torabi, Texas Hemp Coalition; Alyssa Erickson, U.S. Hemp Roundtable; Brooke Robertson; U.S. Hemp Roundtable; Jonathan Miller U.S. Hemp Roundtable; Katelyn Wiard, U.S. Hemp Roundtable; Kerry Hinkle, U.S. Hemp Roundtable; and Frederick Cawthon, Verge Agritech/Hemp Alliance of Tennessee.
View the U.S. Hemp Roundtable 2023 Fall Fly-In photo gallery here.
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