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The 2024 Farm Bill: A Potential Game-Changer

2024 farm bill
The hemp industry is keeping a close eye on the ongoing discussions surrounding the 2024 Farm Bill. A proposed amendment, introduced by Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL), could significantly impact the booming hemp-derived cannabinoid market. This amendment aims to redefine the term “hemp” to exclude products containing intoxicating cannabinoids or those not naturally occurring in the hemp plant. If passed, it would effectively ban the production and sale of popular hemp-derived products like delta-8 THC, delta-10 THC, THC-O, and HHC.

The Impact on the Hemp Industry

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp cultivation and opened the doors for a thriving hemp-derived cannabinoid industry. However, the proposed amendment threatens to disrupt this rapidly growing market, which is estimated to be worth a staggering $28.4 billion in 2023. Companies like Mary & Jane, a Minnesota-based brand selling low-dose hemp edibles, could face significant challenges if the amendment becomes law. Co-founder Rachael Anderson Dillon expressed concerns, stating that the amendment would “significantly impact our business and so many others,” including thousands of hemp farmers who have pivoted to this lucrative crop.

The Battle Lines Are Drawn

While lawmakers like Rep. Miller argue that the amendment is necessary to close a loophole that undermines federal cannabis laws, the hemp industry is gearing up for a fight. Jonathan Miller, general counsel at the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, a nonprofit industry coalition, criticized the amendment’s passage as a “bad idea” and a “devious manner.” The organization is actively lobbying Congress members to strike down the proposed change, emphasizing the potential economic impact on businesses operating legally under the 2018 Farm Bill.

The Road Ahead

As the House Agriculture Committee’s markup advances, the fate of the hemp industry hangs in the balance. The Senate is also working on its version of the Farm Bill, which could include different provisions related to hemp and cannabinoids. Ultimately, the final 2024 Farm Bill will need to pass both chambers of Congress before becoming law. Until then, the hemp industry remains vigilant, advocating for its interests and preparing for potential disruptions or opportunities that may arise from the legislative process.

Stay Tuned for Updates

The 2024 Farm Bill discussions are far from over, and the implications for the hemp industry could be significant. Keep an eye on the latest developments, as the outcome of this legislative battle could reshape the landscape for hemp-derived products and the businesses that rely on them.
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