Vote Hemp has signed on to a stakeholder letter to conferees expressing strong support for the Hemp Farming Act provisions included in the Senate version of the Farm Bill. The letter was cosigned by the American Herbal Products Association, Hemp Industries Association, National Hemp Association and Bluebird Botanicals and was shared with all Farm Bill conferees. The stakeholder letter also shares concerns about a last minute addition which makes any person ever convicted of a felony relating to a controlled substance under State or Federal law ineligible to participate in hemp production or programs. Specifically the letter shares:
“We are concerned, however, about a provision added during the Senate committee markup that would make any person ever convicted of a felony relating to a controlled substance under State or Federal law ineligible to participate in hemp production or programs. We respectfully ask that the drug felony ban be completely removed.
While we support the goal of ensuring the integrity of the workforce in the emerging hemp industry, we believe that a drug felony ban would not serve this goal. We believe that a drug-related conviction in a person’s past should have no bearing on the integrity and lawful operation of a hemp business.
We are also concerned about the long-term impact that the felony ban could have on people who are trying to successfully return to society following a conviction. The felony ban would only increase the risk of recidivism for people who are trying to find stable employment. People of color would also likely be disproportionately impacted by the felony ban, given the well documented racial disparities in drug law enforcement across the country.”
Vote Hemp is pleased about the inclusion of hemp reform in the Farm Bill and hopeful that House and Senate conferees will remove the unnecessary and unhelpful felon ban from the bill in the conference report.