Hemp was federally legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill, which allowed farmers to begin growing this multifaceted crop. However, Congressional legislators are still working on changes to laws which govern the crop. Recently, Rep. Chellie Pingree previewed a bill that would ease restrictions on this flourishing industry.

The bill, called the Hemp Advancement Act, includes a provision that will remove a ban that prevents individuals with felony drug convictions that date back to the last decade from acquiring a business license for the crop or participating in the market. Pingree stated that the provision disproportionately excluded people of color from taking part in this burgeoning market. She explained that the measure’s intention was to make the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (“USDA”) rules more workable for both processors and growers.

The legislation also seeks to increase the hemp and hemp extracts threshold for THC. Under the federal statute, hemp is defined as containing not more than 0.3% THC. This amount may sometimes increase during the process of production, which may cause issues for businesses involved in the industry. The legislation would offer relevant safeguards against this.

In addition to this, the measure would eliminate a USDA requirement that states that the crop should only be tested at labs registered with the United State Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”). Stakeholders have been calling for this reform for quite some time, arguing that this requirement will create bottlenecking of hemp testing, which may hold this burgeoning industry back.

Earlier in the year, Reps. Morgan Griffith and Kurt Schrader filed a separate legislation calling for  CBD derived from hemp and hemp to be sold as dietary supplements. This is another source of controversy, given that the present lack of regulations from the FDA is seen as a barrier for the industry’s growth.

In the Senate, Sens. Jeff Merkley, Rand Paul and Ron Wyden also filed a measure that would exempt CBD derived from hemp, hemp and substances that contain any ingredient derived from hemp from restrictions which have hindered the emergence of legal consumable hemp products. Additionally, Paul introduced a separate initiative in earlier this year that would increase the concentration of THC that hemp can legally contain by three times while also addressing other issues the industry has highlighted about the federal regulations.

Legislators have been pressuring the FDA to adopt new regulations that would provide for such since hemp was federally legalized.

For hemp/CBD focused companies such as Simply Sonoma Inc., any changes to the existing hemp laws could have immediate effects.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Simply Sonoma Inc. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/Sonoma

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