WASHINGTON, D.C. – Leading hemp policy and advocacy group Vote Hemp is urging the hemp community to take advantage of a narrow window on Capitol Hill to sign and submit a petition telling Congress to change the legal definition of hemp to allow 1% THC.
Arbitrarily set by Canadian cannabis researcher Dr. Ernest Small in the 1970s, the current 0.3% limit mandated by Congress has proved to be problematic for growers, producers and manufacturers alike, and Vote Hemp and its supporters feel that action has to be taken now. Even Dr. Small agrees, more than four decades later, that “a 0.3% level is very conservative,” he told a leading industry publication. He stressed that the allowed 0.3% THC designation for hemp has had negative implications for biodiversity and the growth of the hemp market. “0.3% is proving a little problematical for those who wish to produce some cultivars,” he said. “It’s an especially stringent criterion [for] those who want to produce CBD. Most of the varieties selected for that have in excess of 0.3%…”
“We need to let Congress know that changing the definition is critical to our nascent industry, especially for farmers,” said Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. “It is not fair to producers to who are already struggling due to difficult market conditions, to risk losing their hemp crop due to it testing slightly above the current federal limit of 0.3%. We hope to submit as many signatures as we can in the next 30 days, and encourage all members of the hemp community to sign and share the petition with their friends, colleagues and co-workers.”
Protecting America’s Farmers and Jobs
Once Congress changes the definition, “there would be very few cases of America’s hemp farmers getting their crop destroyed. While the industry continues to work on more stable varieties, people would still have to be careful, but if we moved to 1%, the number of samples that would test hot would be very limited,” Steenstra said.
“Vote Hemp advocated for a higher level early on, but that didn’t make the cut in the final legislation that legalized hemp for the first time in 80 years,” Steenstra continued. “We had to work across the aisle and made a compromise to help make hemp legal back then, but now, it’s proven the current standard doesn’t work for farmers. With both the Farm Bureau and the National Farmers Union having policies on the books supporting higher THC levels (1% for the Farm Bureau; 3% for the Farmers Union), that weighs in our favor.”
The petition, issued this past week, beseeches Congress that “many farmers have had their crops destroyed due to the outdated definition of hemp. The hemp industry is creating good jobs in farming and manufacturing and we need to ensure the industry can continue to grow and compete with other countries that allow higher THC levels.”
“We are hoping there will be action; there’s a desperate need,” Steenstra said. “We need to get as many people involved and to recognize that this is critical to the future of the hemp industry. We need the community to step up in a big way…and quickly.”
Steenstra also emphasized that the most important thing is to get as many farmers as possible to sign the petition. “We are upset whenever we see a farmer lose their crop because of this. It’s not acceptable. We have to let Congress know that the industry is on the verge of taking off and this limit is hurting farmers and holding us back.”
Text of the Petition:
Hemp is important to the future of farming in the U.S. and will create farming and manufacturing jobs for sustainable and healthy USA grown products. The 2018 Farm Bill authorized hemp production but used an outdated definition of hemp that does not work for farmers or the hemp industry. The current definition limiting hemp to 0.3% THC has proven unworkable forcing many farmers to destroy their crops because they were slightly over the limit. We need Congress to change the definition of hemp to allow up to 1% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) so that farmers can grow hemp crops without fearing that they will later have to destroy them.
Please add your name to the petition urging Congress to redefine hemp as up to 1% THC and share this with your friends.
I support changing the definition of hemp to allow up to 1% THC in the plant. Many farmers have had their crops destroyed due to the outdated definition of hemp. The hemp industry is creating good jobs in farming and manufacturing and we need to ensure the industry can continue to grow and compete with other countries that allow higher THC levels. I urge Congress to change the definition of hemp now so that no more farmers will lose their crops.
Read and sign Vote Hemp’s 1% Petition: https://www.votehemp.com/petition-1percent-hemp-definition/
About Vote Hemp
Celebrating 20 years of hemp advocacy, Vote Hemp works on behalf of U.S. farmers and the hemp industry to promote fair laws, policy and legislation that promotes the growth of the hemp market. Vote Hemp has met with or supported meetings with thousands of policy makers over the years, and our education and advocacy work has helped change the conversation in states and in Congress about the potential of hemp to create economic opportunity for American farmers and businesses. For more information visit https://www.votehemp.com