Last week, the U.S. Senate Appropriations committee voted to approve a bill urging federal authorities to create a regulatory mechanism for cannabidiol products and rethink THC restrictions on hemp. These provisions were among others passed by the Senate committee while working on a bill to fund the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as other federal departments and agencies for next year’s fiscal year. The bill would also maintain a rider, which protects state-level hemp programs from interference by federal authorities.
Below are some of the marijuana-linked provisions supported by the committee, many of which are akin to the resolutions that were advanced through the House in July.
On the subject of the 0.3% THC limit for hemp products established in 2018, senators directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct a study on whether there was scientific evidence to support the cap. That study should be done by partnering with federal agencies such as the DEA and the Department of Health and Human Services. In the report, the senators noted that the level of allowable THC content in hemp places a heavy burden on producers of hemp.
The senators added that the FDA should continue to develop regulations that allowed the use of cannabidiol products and also issue a policy guiding the enforcement discretion with regard to these products. In this particular provision, the panel noted that the FDA should continue performing its regulatory responsibilities, which include reviewing product applications, enforcement, inspections and conducting research on cannabis-derived compounds such as CBD.
This was in addition to encouraging the federal agency to consider ongoing and existing medical research associated with cannabidiol as well as partner with academic institutions to expand CBD product sampling studies for products already on the U.S. market.
To ensure that hemp businesses and farmers were eligible to take part in loan and insurance programs that are available to participants in various sectors of the economy, the Senate Appropriations Committee also directed that the Secretary create a dual categorization for industrial hemp as a specialty plant based off of the purpose and manner of cultivating it; that categorization should be created within 90 days of the legislation being enacted.
The draft Senate legislation also has a provision that prevents federally availed money from being used to obstruct state-level hemp programs. This is in addition to extending the terms of a pilot program that has allowed some states in the country to begin growing hemp for CBD and other uses. The 2014 pilot program enabled some states to begin growing hemp before its cultivation was legalized federally by the 2018 Farm Bill.
Increasing the THC limit in the definition of hemp would probably reduce some of the losses that cannabis/hemp growers and processors such as Sonoma Biologics Corp. face due to hemp exceeding the tight THC limits currently in existence.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Sonoma Biologics Corp. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/Sonoma
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