On Friday Rep. James Comer (R-KY) introduced H.R. 3530, a new version of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act along with 15 cosponsors. The bill gained support from Judiciary Chair Goodlatte (R-VA) and has several new provisions. We are excited about the added support which opens up a path for passage in the House this year. We are also pleased that several changes we advocated for were included in the new bill: inclusion of Native American tribes and a provision which will allow for research on hemp with THC levels of up to 0.6% THC (we advocated for more but this was the compromise).
- Administrative Inspections – a provision was added to allow DEA to conduct “administrative inspections” of locations where there is “production, storage, distribution, or use” of hemp. This provision is overly broad and only excludes a “retailer or end user.” The previous version of the bill, authored by Rep. Massie, trusted states to regulate and we feel that approach was correct. The DEA has obstructed the Farm Bill hemp program at every turn and should not be trusted to have a regulatory role. Furthermore DEA inspections would be inappropriate given hemp is an agricultural commodity.
- Next a provision was added that will unreasonably restrict the processing of hemp extracts: “The term does not include any such plant, or part or derivative thereof, that has been altered so as to increase the delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration above the limits specified” (above 0.3% THC). The previous bill language limited finished products to 0.3% THC but did not restrict extraction or processing that temporarily alters cannabinoid levels prior to formulating a final product. If included in the final bill which is signed into law, this change will harm the nascent American CBD industry.
- Finally a provision was added stating “Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, may be construed-
(1) to alter the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that pertain to an unapproved, adulterated, or misbranded drug or food.” Given that the FDA has taken the position that CBD is a controlled substance (the industry disagrees and is challenging this in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals), this provision is an impediment and unnecessary.