Alert: Big News (x2) from Washington, D.C.

1. USDA Final Rule for Domestic Hemp Production
Later today, the USDA will make public its decision to make effective the Final Rule that it issued in January for the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program.  It had been previously been put on hold with the transition of administrations, but Secretary Tom Vilsack – recently ensconced in his new role – cleared it to be made effective on March 22, 2021.  Here is a link to the Rule and accompanying documents, and here is the Roundtable’s analysis of how this is quite an improvement over the Interim Final Rule.  We will continue to be working on a few of the remaining challenges within the Final Rule, particularly the continued requirement (while delayed a few years) for testing labs to be DEA-certified.  Stay tuned to this space for legislative developments.

2. Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act

We are pleased to report that the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act, discussed here at length, passed the U.S. Senate as part of the budget reconciliation package, and will be on the floor of the House soon.  An attempt to strike this language was defeated by the slimmest of margins (49-50), so it is clear that your advocacy made a difference.  Please continue to let your Members of Congress know how important this effort of equity and justice is for our industry by using our online portal to email them your support.  When we raise our voices, our representatives listen!

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