Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, May 2018

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NEWS ■ NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK 12 MAY 2018 New Bill Opens Legal Doors for U.S. Hemp, CBD On April 12, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, a bipartisan bill that would see industrial hemp regulated as an agricultural crop and remove it from Sched- ule I of the Controlled Substances Act. T e predecessor 2014 Farm Bill, signed into law by President Obama, legalized hemp growing solely for research purposes—for instance, by state departments or universi- ties. But the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 goes much further, classifying hemp ingredients (with THC levels under the 0.3% threshold) as an agricultural commodity and remov- ing federal roadblocks to growing industrial hemp across the U.S. Accordingly, hemp formulated into food and beverages would be considered agricultural ingredients. T e hemp phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) would also be considered an agricultural commodity, said the lobbyist group U.S. Hemp Roundtable, which represents a coali- tion of hemp companies. Hemp industry advocates strongly sup- port the 2018 Hemp Farming Act. U.S. Hemp Roundtable said on its website that the bill's authors "listened closely to farmers and the industry in drafting the legislation." As a result, "the bill covers nearly every item from the U.S. Hemp Roundtable's dream wish list," it said. T ose items include: • De-scheduling hemp—specif cally, the parts of the Cannabis sativa L. plant with THC concentrations less than 0.3%— from the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that these hemp parts would no longer be considered Schedule I drugs. U.S. Hemp Roundtable further pointed out, "Better yet, the bill is even more ex- pansive than the 2014 Farm Bill in that it specif cally de-schedules all deriva- tives, extracts, cannabinoids, and seeds of hemp as long as those portions of the plant remain below the THC threshold. T is means that popular hemp food products like hemp-derived CBD would be considered agricultural commodities, not controlled substances." • States will be able to oversee hemp growth and cultivation, expanding growth beyond what was allowed under the 2014 Farm Bill's pilot pro- grams. T e bill also legalizes hemp growing in tribal lands, reservations, and U.S. territories—areas previously excluded by the 2014 Farm Bill. • As an agricultural crop, hemp would fall under the regulatory jurisdiction of USDA. Not only that, hemp would be eligible for USDA research funding. In addition, the bill proposes that hemp farmers be eligible for crop insurance. • State departments of agriculture would be required to provide FDA with details about their hemp program plans. "T e states would submit a regulatory plan to USDA, which must demonstrate policies to pinpoint locations of hemp production, to test for THC, and to destroy uncompliant plants," said U.S. Hemp Roundtable, adding that many states have already developed such pro- cesses under their hemp pilot programs and that these could easily transition to meet the new bill's requirement. • T e bill "would clarify that nothing in this Act authorizes interference with the interstate transportation or commerce of hemp or hemp products—an important statement to protect hemp farmers and businesses from misguided regulatory overreach," U.S. Hemp Roundtable said. Grassroots hemp advocacy group Vote Hemp also expressed enthusiastic support for the bill, saying that it is "strongly poised to pass" in the 115 th Congress. "If passed, the bill would remove roadblocks to the rapidly growing hemp industry in the U.S., notably by authorizing and encouraging access to federal research funding for hemp, and re- move restrictions on banking, water rights, and other regulatory barriers the hemp in- dustry currently faces," the group said. Vote Hemp noted that in 2017 alone, un- der the authorization of the 2014 Farm Bill, 25,541 acres of industrial hemp were "lawful- ly cultivated" in 19 states. "To date, 34 states have def ned industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production," it said. A spokesperson from CV Sciences, a CBD pharmaceuticals and consumer products sup- plier based in Las Vegas and a founding mem- ber of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, spoke to Nutritional Outlook on behalf of the CBD com- munity, stating: "T is is a monumental step in the right direction for the future of hemp in the United States. Seeing such strong support from legislators on both sides of the aisle is encouraging for this once-controversial topic and proof that, once [people are] educated about the crop and the innovative products it can create, this is something that becomes a commonsense bill for those who are willing to listen and learn. Passage of this legislation will allow farmers and U.S. companies a true opportunity to operate freely and scale appro- priately as the market continues to grow at rapid rates." Stay informed! See the latest news at ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/ ALENAPAULUS

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