In January 2021, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued its final rule on hemp. While generally regarded as more flexible than the interim final rule, industry members have expressed concerns with the new regulations, including the low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) limit.
Sen. Rand Paul (K.Y.) has reintroduced the Hemp Economic Mobilization Plan (HEMP) Act of 2021 to increase the hemp THC limit to 1%, as well as provide transparency and clarity for farmers and address their concerns.
"For years, I've led the fight in Washington to restore one of Kentucky's most historically vital crops by legalizing industrial hemp," Paul said in a news release. "We achieved a hard-won victory, but there is still work to do to prevent the federal government from weighing down our farmers with unnecessary bureaucratic micromanaging. My legislation will help this growing industry reach its full economic potential, and I am proud the bill has strong support all the way from local Kentucky farmers and activists to national groups."
According to the HEMP Act, Paul's proposal would amend the definition of "hemp" by raising the THC limit from 0.3% to 1%. The proposal also suggests that farmers test the final hemp-derived products instead of the hemp flower or plant itself to give farmers more control over the THC content in their products.
Additionally, the proposal requires that any hemp product being transported should contain a copy of a producer's hemp license or lab certificate certifying that the hemp contains no more than the 1% THC limit to prevent products from being seized by law enforcement when transported.
"Senator Rand Paul's legislation is very timely with the state departments of agriculture's passing policy that would re-define hemp at one percent," said Patrick Atagi, chairman of the National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) in a statement. "We also are thankful for the senator's recognition of the importance of defining hemp in transit. We appreciate his willingness to engage with us and listen to our industry. We believe the HEMP Act is important for consumers and the consumer's right to know and are proud to support Senator Paul's efforts. If passed, the HEMP Act will help with the overall economy and provide jobs to Americans."
Katie Moyer, the owner of Kentucky Hemp Works, also commended Paul for reintroducing the HEMP Act.
"Senator Paul's HEMP Act has the potential to improve upon the highest priority issues for hemp growers, processors, and labs, while making sure to keep our consumers safe as well," Moyer said. "We are grateful for the continued support from our federal delegation and ask that folks at home call their congressional representatives to ask for their support."