Report Language in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill Provides Hope for Hemp Processors, Aligning with ATACH’s Responsive Comments to the USDA IFR
On December 27, 2021, President Trump signed into law a $900 billion COVID-relief bill along with a $1.4 trillion Omnibus Appropriations Bill, funding government operations through September, 2021. As part of its passage, the US House of Representatives issued Congressional Directives to the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) to “develop regulations, within existing authority, that protect the transportation, processing, sale or use of hemp and in-process hemp extract, that may temporarily exceed a delta-9 THC concentration of 0.3% . . .” While not binding on the USDA, this directive asks the USDA to submit an execution strategy for this new initiative. A complete copy of the House report can be found here.
This directive aligns with comments ATACH submitted in response to the USDA’s Interim Final Rule for hemp regulation on October 8, 2020. In its comments, ATACH urged the USDA to follow the plain language of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (“AIA”) and retain sole regulatory authority over non-final work-in-progress hemp extract.
Indeed, the AIA defines hemp as “The plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.” Since derivatives, extracts and cannabinoids are hemp under the statute, the AIA mandates that only the USDA regulate the production of these derivatives, extracts and cannabinoids.
ATACH is happy to see lawmakers memorialize the intent of the AIA and looks forward to the removal of roadblocks for both American hemp farmers and hemp processors.