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Most Consumable Hemp-Based Cannabinoid Products Would Be Banned Under Another GOP Committee’s New Bill



A GOP-led House committee has put forward a large-scale spending bill that contains language that would effectively ban most consumable hemp-derived cannabinoid products, including delta-8 THC and CBD items containing any “quantifiable” amount of THC.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies posted the text of the legislation on Monday—just one day before a scheduled vote.

If enacted into law, cannabinoids that are “synthesized or manufactured outside of the plant” would no longer meet the definition of legal hemp.

The language is virtually identical to a provision of the 2024 Farm Bill that was attached by a separate committee late last month via an amendment from Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL).

The proposed ban faced sizable pushback from the hemp industry, though certain key marijuana businesses have joined prohibitionists in supporting the proposed policy change.

Many observers expect that the timeline for advancing the Farm Bill will be pushed back until next year, however, so the hemp provision’s inclusion in a must-pass spending bill raises the stakes for hemp industry advocates.

Supporters of the ban have described the language as a fix to a “loophole” that was created under the 2018 Farm Bill that federally legalized hemp.

While they’ve focused on the need to address public safety concerns related to unregulated “intoxicating” cannabinoid products such as delta-8 THC, some hemp industry advocates say the effect of the proposed language could be a ban on virtually all non-intoxicating CBD products as well, as most on the market contain at least trace levels of THC, consistent with the Farm Bill definition of hemp that allows for up to 0.3 percent THC by dry weight.

Hemp industry stakeholders have recognized that there’s a need to address legitimate concerns related to the unregulated market that’s proliferated since hemp was federally legalized, but the solution they’ve put forward is to enact strategic regulations to ensure product safety and prevent youth access.

Jonathan Miller, general counsel of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, told Marijuana Moment on Monday that it’s “deeply disappointing” that Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), chair of the appropriations subcommittee, “inserted the now-infamous, hemp-industry-destroying Mary Miller Amendment within the FY 25 Agriculture/FDA Appropriation bill—without any hearing, any consultation with U.S. farmers or any vote from subcommittee members.”

“While states as politically diverse as Florida, Illinois and Louisiana have recently rejected monopolistic efforts to ban hemp products, a few conservative politicians have chosen to abandon conservative principles by turning their backs on farmers, veterans, and small businesses, and by rejecting states’ rights to regulate by forcing federal prohibitory preemption,” he said. “Contrary to advocate pronouncements that their goal is ‘to close the Delta-8 THC loophole,’ the Mary Miller Amendment would ban 90-95 percent of all ingestible hemp products in the marketplace—including the vast majority of non-intoxicating, wellness-improving CBD supplements—while wreaking havoc for U.S hemp farmers, including fiber and grain, by redefining hemp in a matter that would make most crops non-compliant with a new THC standard.”

“Fortunately, there’s a long way to go before this ill-considered public policy could become law. We will be asking the full Appropriations Committee to excise the Mary Miller Amendment from the final text. And of course, we will be fighting efforts on the House floor and in the Senate to include this hemp-killing language in any bill, be it appropriations or the Farm Bill. In the end, we are confident that once Members of Congress are briefed on the full implications of this effort, they will stand on the side of farmers, small businesses and veterans, and reject it.”

Meanwhile, the Farm Bill that advanced through the House Agriculture Committee last month also contains provisions that would reduce regulatory barriers for certain hemp farmers and scale-back a ban on industry participation by people with prior drug felony convictions.

Specifically, it would make it so the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), states and tribal entities could choose to eliminate a policy that prevents people with felony drug convictions in the past 10 years from being licensed to produce industrial hemp.

However, advocates had hoped to see more expansive language, such as what was described in Senate Democrats’ recent summary of their forthcoming Farm Bill draft. Under that plan, there would be a mandate to eliminate the ban, rather than simply authorizing it, and it would cover all hemp producers, not just those growing it for non-extraction purposes.

That said, the Senate Agriculture Committee has not yet released the draft text of their bill, so it remains to be seen if the summary description matches what will ultimately be released. Bipartisan House lawmakers filed standalone legislation last year that would broadly lift the felony ban for would-be hemp producers.

Lawmakers and stakeholders have also been eyeing a number of other proposals that could be incorporated into the Farm Bill—and which could come up as proposed amendments as the proposal moves through the legislative process—including measures to free up hemp businesses to legally market products like CBD as dietary supplements or in the food supply.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,500 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

In the background, the hemp market started to rebound in 2023 after suffering significant losses the prior year, the latest annual industry report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that was released in April found.

The data is the result of a survey that USDA mailed to thousands of hemp farmers across the U.S. in January. The first version of the department’s hemp report was released in early 2022, setting a “benchmark” to compare to as the industry matures.

Bipartisan lawmakers and industry stakeholders have sharply criticized FDA for declining to enact regulations for hemp-derived CBD, which they say is largely responsible for the economic stagnation.

To that end, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf testified before the House Oversight and Accountability Committee in April, where he faced questions about the agency’s position that it needed additional congressional authorization to regulate the non-intoxicating cannabinoid.

USDA is also reportedly revoking hemp licenses for farmers who are simultaneously growing marijuana under state-approved programs, underscoring yet another policy conflict stemming from the ongoing federal prohibition of some forms of the cannabis plant.

For the time being, the hemp industry continues to face unique regulatory hurdles that stakeholders blame for the crop’s value plummeting in the short years since its legalization. Despite the economic conditions, however, a recent report found that the hemp market in 2022 was larger than all state marijuana markets, and it roughly equaled sales for craft beer nationally.

Meanwhile, internally at USDA, food safety workers are being encouraged to exercise caution and avoid cannabis products, including federally legal CBD, as the agency observes an “uptick” in positive THC tests amid “confusion” as more states enact legalization.

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Photo courtesy of Kimzy Nanney.

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Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Sacramento-based managing editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.


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