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‘Hemp Killing’ Amendment Would Not Ban All Hemp Cannabinoids, Says Leading Think Tank

The US Congressional Research Service (CRS) this week published a report on proposed amendments to the US Farm Bill, which opponents says will decimate the hemp industry.

The CRS, an influential non-partisan body which provides research and analysis for lawmakers in Congress, published the report on June 17, suggesting that the upcoming Farm Bill would not mean all hemp cannabinoids would be banned under the controversial ‘Mary Miller’ amendment.

Late last month, Business of Cannabis reported that the amendment, designed to regulate the flourishing intoxicating hemp industry, had been added to the Farm Bill via a procedural tactic whereby all amendments were passed as a block, meaning there was no chance to vote on each amendment individually.

The amendment in question contains language that would effectively ban most consumable hemp-derived cannabinoid products, including delta-8 THC and CBD items containing any ‘quantifiable’ amount of THC.

According to the US Hemp Roundtable, a similar tactic has been used to shoehorn the amendment, set to wipe out 90-95% of the country’s hemp industry, into the Agriculture/FDA Appropriations bill, which funds all agriculture programs.

Earlier this month, the now infamous ‘hemp killing’ amendment was added to a second key piece of legislation by the government which stands accused of ‘turning their backs on farmers, veterans, and small businesses’.

The report indicates that the new hemp guidelines would align more closely with existing regulatory practices by the US Department of Health.

It author, Renee Johnson explains that the amendment would exclude synthetic and intoxicating hemp products, allowing only naturally occurring, non-intoxicating ones.

She added that the amendment would not ban all hemp cannabinoid products like CBD but would require USDA determinations based on scientific research.

This approach also reportedly aligns with an April 2024 DEA ruling that excludes synthetic compounds like hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) from the hemp definition. The bill aims to clarify that only non-synthetic, non-intoxicating hemp products are lawful.

“While the amendment does not define intoxicating, it would prohibit hemp cannabinoid products with ‘quantifiable amounts’ of total THC (including THCA) or any other cannabinoids that have (or are marketed to have) ‘similar effects on humans or animals’ as (delta-9) THC, as determined by USDA,” the report read.

The Farm Bill update would therefore narrow the definition of industrial hemp to include only hemp grown for fiber or its seeds’ non-cannabinoid products, such as oil, cake, and grain.

The FDA maintains jurisdiction over cannabis-derived products, asserting that adding CBD or THC to food or marketing them as dietary supplements is illegal under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Additionally, the Farm Bill proposes reducing testing requirements and eliminating background checks for license applicants, as well as ending the 10-year ineligibility for felons convicted of controlled substance-related crimes. The House appropriations bill also includes provisions to exclude intoxicating hemp compounds, although it lacks an industrial hemp definition, potentially leading to confusion.

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