U.S. Hemp Roundtable members met in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 22 with members of Congress, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. McConnell’s wife, former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, also attended a dinner with U.S. Hemp Roundtable members and lawmakers
Attendees said the Lobby Day meetings were fruitful, with a lively brainstorming session about potential legislative initiatives. The U.S. Hemp Roundtable reported that Roundtable members discussed easing regulatory burdens on hemp farmers in the 2023 Farm Bill, as well as the regulation of CBD in food. McConnell has long supported the hemp industry, given Kentucky’s significant agricultural sector.
The U.S. Hemp Roundtable’s general counsel, Jonathan Miller of Frost Brown Todd in Washington, said he was encouraged by the group’s reception on Capitol Hill and was particularly heartened by lawmakers’ support for “reducing regulatory overreach” on hemp farmers and promoting research and funding for hemp fiber and grain production.
Roundtable members held more than 40 meetings on Capitol Hill, including one-on-one sessions with Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., and Reps. Dina Titus, D-Nev., Mark Pocan, D-Wis., Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., and Dusty Johnson, R-S.D. In addition, congressional staff representing legislators from Alabama, California, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia met with U.S. Hemp Roundtable members.
The day culminated with a rooftop event hosted by Frost Brown Todd for U.S. Hemp Roundtable members and dozens of congressional staff members and guests, including Reps. James Comer, R-Ky., and Andy Barr, R-Ky., as well as Bill Richmond, chief of the USDA Hemp Program, and former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.
Pete Meachum, president of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, was satisfied with the day.
“I’ve been to many fly-ins and lobbying days on behalf of various organizations and issues, and this was by far the best I’ve experienced,” he said.