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The Congress Makes Appropriations for Hemp, Marijuana, and CBD

The Congress Makes Appropriations for Hemp, Marijuana, and CBD

The House has agreed to include hemp, marijuana, and CBD provisions in reports attached to the Federal appropriations legislation that President Trump just signed into law. The provisions cover medical marijuana protections and appropriations among other issues.

Even though more extensive provisions passed the House, when reports from both chambers were merged, the resulting report language reflects joint interest in more research for cannabis. This is to ensure the effective implementation of hemp legislation.

According to one provision in the report, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) should, “provide a brief report on the barriers to research that result from the classification of drugs and compounds as Schedule I substances”. It’s acceptable knowledge that the Schedule 1 status of marijuana under the federal law inhibits research into the effects of the plant. And the head of NIDA confirmed this as well.

Also, another provision urges the National Institute of Health (NIH) to allow for additional investment into the study of the medicinal effects of cannabidiol and cannabigerol. Both chambers also posited that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality should apportion at least $1 million in grants to enable research into whether kratom and CBD can serve as good substitutes for opioids. 

The provision indicates that, “little research has been done to date on natural products that are used by many to treat pain in place of opioids. These natural plants and substances include kratom and cannabidiol … the agreement recommends no less than $1,000,000 for this research and directs AHRQ to make center-based grants. Such research should lead to clinical trials in geographic regions which are among the hardest hit by the opioid crisis.”

Furthermore, the report assigned $2 million to the FDA, to help their efforts in developing adequate regulations for CBD products and CBD juice. According to the lawmakers, these funds is meant for the “research, policy evaluation, market surveillance, issuance of an enforcement discretion policy, and appropriate regulatory activities with respect to products under the jurisdiction of the FDA which contain CBD and meet the definition of hemp”.

More still, the lawmakers require the FDA to submit a report “regarding the agency’s progress toward obtaining and analyzing data to help determine a policy of enforcement discretion and the process in which CBD meeting the definition of hemp will be evaluated for use in products” within 60 days.

In addition, the FDA is to report back to the Congress with 180 days after performing “sampling study of the current CBD marketplace to determine the extent to which products are mislabeled or adulterated”.

The congress, in a separate document, appropriated almost $16.5 million to fund the implementations of the programs under the 2018 Farm Bill.

Also, $1 million was set aside for hemp revenue insurance protection.

According to Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate Majority Leader, “Hemp producers across the country are looking to Kentucky for our expertise and leadership with this exciting crop, and I’m committed to helping our farmers, processors and manufacturers take full advantage of hemp’s potential”.

He continued, “As Kentucky farmers prepare for the 2020 growing season, I’ll continue advancing their priorities as Senate Majority Leader so they have the tools needed,”

Kentucky's Commissioner of Agriculture, Commissioner Quarles announced earlier this year that around $100 million worth of Kentucky-grown hemp products are expected to be sold in 2019.

McConnell claims to be responsible for few other provisions included in the legislation, such as a ban on the federal government preventing the production of hemp, appropriation of $2 million for hemp research, a provision to promote technology that would help law enforcement agencies distinguish between marijuana and hemp, and a provision that supports grants for hemp projects. 

A provision in the report also stops Washington DC from spending its tax money on the legalization of recreational marijuana sales. Another provision blocks the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of medical cannabis programs.

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