Updated: Jan 16, 2019
Two bills were approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee last week that expand protection and opportunities in states with industrial hemp pilot programs. The language comes at the request of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee and is a leading advocate for hemp in Congress.
This bill contains language directing the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to work with and inform hemp pilot program participants of federal funding opportunities. Here is the exact language for your reference:
“Industrial Hemp. – The Committee is aware of statements made by the Department acknowledging the eligibility of researchers participating in industrial hemp pilot programs as defined by Section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 to compete for federal funds awarded by the Department. The Committee directs the Department to work with and inform stakeholders of this eligibility and to support industrial hemp research as authorized by Section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014.”
Leader McConnell also requested a change to the Agriculture bill rider protecting the interstate transportation of industrial hemp in order to extend that protection to the transportation of industrial hemp seed. The added language is underlined below.
“Sec. 722. None of the funds made available by this Act or any other Act may be used—
(1) in contravention of section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 5940); or
(2) to prohibit the transportation, processing, sale, or use of industrial hemp, or seeds of such plant, that is grown or cultivated in accordance with section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014, within or outside the State in which the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated.”
Additionally, Senator Daines offered an amendment to the Energy and Water Development bill to protect water access for hemp pilot participants even when that water passes through a federal water project. This has been an issue that’s been popping up out west in MT, CO, and elsewhere. The text of the amendment that was adopted by voice vote is included here reference.