AHPA greatly appreciates the leadership that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has shown in the 115th Congress in advancing the proposed legalization of hemp production in the United States. Sen. McConnell has done so first by introducing the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 (S. 2667) as stand-alone legislation, and then by insuring inclusion in the Senate “Farm Bill” (S. 3042 – The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) of the principles of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, either in Subtitle G-Hemp Production, or in several conforming amendments within the Senate Farm Bill.
AHPA strongly supports inclusion of the provisions of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 in the Farm Bill, as included in the version passed by the Senate on June 28, 2018, and notes that similar language is not included in the House version of this legislation (H.R. 2). As both the Senate and House conferees have now been appointed, AHPA encourages the conferees to maintain in the final Farm Bill the provisions initially included in the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, and so to give precedence to the Senate’s legislation in all of these details.
In moving this legislation through the Congressional process, however, a restrictive provision was added during Senate Agriculture Committee deliberations, and is now incorporated into the Senate version of the Farm Bill:
“(3) OTHER VIOLATIONS. –
“(B) FELONY. – Any person convicted of a felony relating to a controlled substance under state or Federal law shall be ineligible –
“(i) to participate in the program established under this section [i.e., a State or Tribal program for the production of hemp]; and
“(ii) to produce hemp under any regulations or guidelines issued under section 297D(a).
AHPA encourages Senate and House conferees to remove this unnecessary restriction in conference. The individual American citizens who would potentially be impacted by this felony provision have already paid their debt to society, and should not be restricted from involvement in a promising and completely legal new industry that will be unrelated to controlled substances. AHPA intends to communicate its support for inclusion of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, as well as proposed removal of this provision, to specific members of the conference committee.