The U.S. Roundtable was dismayed when the Veterans Affairs’ Center for Verification and Evaluation denied verification as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business to Holistic Serendipity LLC dba Native Ceuticals Tampa, a business that sells legal hemp products. Given that there is no group of Americans more deserving of the economic opportunities posed by the hemp industry than our nation’s veterans – the men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedoms — the U.S. Hemp Roundtable has sent a letter imploring the Center to reverse its decision.
Read the letter here.
According to POLITICO, the VA cited marijuana’s Schedule I status as a reason for denying Zachary Zindler’s application for Native Ceuticals Tampa. As POLITICO noted, “The VA letter seems to conflate the issue of state-level marijuana legalization with federally legal hemp. While both products come from the cannabis plant, the 2018 farm bill legalized cannabis with less than 0.3 percent THC — defined as hemp under federal statutes.”
“By denying Native Ceuticals, Tampa a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business certification, the VA is essentially thumbing their nose at Congress, which through the 2018 Farm Act legally defined Hemp derivatives, such as hemp derived CBD that contain less than .3% THC, as different than Marijuana and therefore not subject under the Controlled Substance Act as a Class 1 drug, a higher classification than even cocaine has,” said Steve Danyluk, Chief Operations Officer of Spartan Sword, a non-profit that supports veterans and serves as an advocacy partner of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable. “The real question is, is the VA’s decision based on ignorance, or is it based on a broader policy to deny Veterans access to alternatives to VA prescribed opiates, SSRI’s and other highly addictive medications.”
To be clear, the Roundtable thanks the Center for the important role it plays in veteran assistance. It is because of this important role—and the Roundtable’s strong belief that no qualified business should be unfairly denied certification—that the Roundtable urges the Center to reverse its decision, which, if maintained, will deny benefits to veteran-owned hemp businesses and deny consumers access to legal hemp products.