House Version of Farm Bill Tweaked, Language Banning Intoxicating Products from Hemp Added

Language banning intoxicating hemp products has been included in the U.S. House of Representatives proposed farm bill. This comes as cannabis farmers in states such as Nevada and California continue to call for a crackdown on intoxicating hemp, which is virtually identical to their own nonintoxicating products.

If the bill is approved in the house and in the senate, it would bring an end to the country’s tenure of nationally legal cannabis. This language, which was added by Representative Mary Miller and cosponsored by Representative Doug LaMalfa, rescinds a monumental change approved in the 2018 Farm Bill.

The 2018 bill made it easier for farmers in America to cultivate nonintoxicating cannabis varieties, defined in the legislation as hemp, for medical and industrial use. However, the vagueness in the bill’s language coupled with the fact that nonintoxicating and intoxicating hemp varieties are basically the same plant, allowed a market of unregulated products to thrive over the last six years.

Last month, a group of 22 state attorney generals penned a letter to Congress highlighting that the previous farm bill’s ambiguity had led to the creation of a market worth billions that had now exploded. In their letter, the attorneys claimed that the 2018 Farm Bill forced marijuana-equivalent products into the economies, regardless of intentions by states to legalize marijuana use. This, they noted, severely undermined consumer protections and regulations in states where recreational legal marijuana programs were already established.

The amendment by Miller restricts hemp’s legal definition to naturally derived and naturally occurring nonintoxicating cannabinoids. This means that cannabinoids such as delta-8 THC, THCA and delta-9 THC as well as products made from these substances, including edibles and drinks, would become illegal.

Miller revealed that she was pleased her revision was included to plug the loophole that permitted drug-infused THC products to be sold to kids in appealing packaging.

In response to this inclusion, the hemp sector reacted by asking all representatives to vote against the farm legislation unless the amendment was eliminated. The sector claimed that the language would kill the hemp industry.

The National Cannabis Industry Trade Group also spoke on the issue with its cofounder, Aaron Smith, requesting that federal rules that applied equally to cannabis- and hemp-derived cannabinoid products be introduced.

If the amendment is approved, it will mainly affect the growing hemp market. In order for it to be approved, however, it would need to go through the senate with minimal revisions. This may be a challenge, particularly since the senate’s version of this agriculture measure reapproves the hemp program without altering its definition.

A variety of testing equipment from manufacturers such as Astrotech Corp. (NASDAQ: ASTC) could be needed if state and local governments want to make inroads in their efforts to stamp out unregulated hemp intoxicants that pose public-health risks.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Astrotech Corp. (NASDAQ: ASTC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/ASTC

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