Washington, DC — At its winter meeting on Dec. 13-15, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) adopted a resolution on the subject of hemp. The resolution contains the following recommendations:
- The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) strongly urges the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to collaboratively develop and adopt an official definition of industrial hemp, as per those nations currently producing hemp.
- NCSL also strongly urges Congress to amend US Code sections 21 U.S.C. Sec. 812 (10) and 21 U.S.C. Sec. 841 to distinguish between industrial hemp and marijuana varieties of cannabis as they relate to production, possession, delivery, and intended use.
- NCSL requests the USDA and the DEA to review the procedures under which their Canadian counterparts are authorized to sanction the commercial development of industrial hemp.
- NCSL also strongly urges Congress statutorily to direct the DEA to revise its policies to be less restrictive and to allow states to establish state regulatory programs, thus fostering the development of domestic hemp production by American farmers and manufacturers.
- Toward this end, a copy of this resolution will be sent to members of the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Acting DEA director Donnie R. Marshall, the office of ONDCP, and the President of the United States.
The NCSL is considering whether it will comment on the new proposed rules regarding the treatment of hemp products, which are to be published in the Federal Register.
Rep. Jon Nelson (R-N.D.) introduced the resolution before the Agriculture and International Trade Committee. The meeting, moderated by Rep. Maxine Bell (R-Idaho) offered a debate, with John Howell of Hempwell Inc. speaking on behalf of the resolution, and Col. Robert Maginnis of the Family Research Council speaking against it, followed by a lengthy question and answer period. After the presentation, a voice vote was taken and the measure passed by over the required three-quarters majority.
The next day, the full plenary session conducted a lengthy debate and again, passed the measure by voice vote with a more than three-quarters majority.
This resolution was the result of a similar presentation at the NCSL’s annual meeting, held in Chicago in July. A display booth of hemp products was presented by Hempwell Inc. and was supported by The Body Shop, Eco Fields retail store, EcoDragon, Hemp Basics, Artisan Gear, and Living Tree Paper Company. Over 1,200 legislators, staff members, policy makers, and lobbyists passed through the hemp informational display. Following this meeting, John Howell of Hempwell was invited to speak on behalf of the resolution at the winter meeting in Washington D.C.
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