Hemp has been a main topic of discussion on the Hill this week. Agricultural Hemp Solutions, LLC founder and Chief Legislative Strategist, Courtney N. Moran, LL.M., spent the last two days in Washington, D.C. working on high-priority hemp issues that surround the implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Courtney testified Tuesday before the USDA on the need for proper and timely implementation of regulations by the Department to enable U.S. farmers to benefit from the changes in federal law this planting season. She highlighted the need for crop insurance, the ongoing issues with transportation and shipment of the commodity, as well as the need for directive to financial institutions to allow farmers and agribusiness owners access to traditional banking just like any other agricultural crop and ancillary business. Moran, who was intimately involved in the drafting of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, working closely with the offices of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Ron Wyden, emphasized the Congressional intent of the law around the felony clause. She further requested an immediate update to the NOP guidance on organic certification for farmers and processors. Please click here to see her full testimony.

Senator Wyden Oregon Co-Author the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 thanking AGHS’s Chief Legislative Strategist Courtney Moran LL.M. for all her hard work on the legislation. He also let her know how great it is working with her.

The day after AGHS’s Chief Legislative Strategist testified in front of the USDA and met with key Administrators within the Agency, USDA released their first statement concerning hemp since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. The USDA release outlined the legislative guidelines provided for in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, and gave notice that USDA will host a Farm Bill listening session on hemp production on March 13, 2019. AGHS encourages everyone in the hemp industry to participate in this upcoming webinar. Click here for the Hemp Production Program statement from USDA.

Congressman Comer Hemp supporter from Kentucky meeting with AGH’s Chief Legislative Strategist Courtney Moran discussing the FDA’s coming guidelines on hemp and CBD products.

On Wednesday, Ms. Moran attended the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies hearing. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of the FDA, testified before the Committee where he was asked by four members of the Committee numerous questions about hemp CBD products and how the FDA intended to regulate those products. Those members included Representative Andy Harris (R-MD), Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Representative Mark Pocan(D-WI). Many of the member’s questions urged for clarification to ensure a definite space for consumers to have access to CBD in the general marketplace as an herbal product or food item and not just as a single molecule pharmaceutical purchased through a pharmacy. These questions resulted in Dr. Gottlieb making the most important statement concerning hemp CBD products to date, finally giving the industry insight into how the FDA intends to regulate these products in the future:

I can speculate at a high level about some theoretical frameworks that you can contemplate for example, the product existing in a high concentration, pure formulation as a pharmaceutical product. While consisting in a different concentration as a food product or dietary supplement because we want to preserve the incentive to study CBD as a pharmaceutical product. We believe it does have therapeutic value and has been demonstrated. I will tell you this is not a straight forward process. There is not a good proxy for us doing this through regulations and if we get comments back and find that this is sufficiently complicated for the agency we will come back and have a discussion with Congress about how we might be able to work together on this.” ~Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA Commissioner

AGHS will be deeply involved in the discussions with USDA and FDA as they engage in regulation development to protect American farmers and hemp agribusiness owners. We will continue to clearly voice the intent of Congress in legalizing hemp.

Bruce Summers Administrator Agricultural Marketing Service. Mr. Summers oversees writing the regulations around the hemp program that will be approved by congress. Courtney discussing the regulations that best protect hemp farmers.