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420 with CNW — Bipartisan Legislators File Bill Allowing Those with Drug Convictions Access to Hemp Industry

Bipartisan congressional legislators have filed a new measure to end the “discriminatory” federal rule that prevents people with prior felonies for drug offenses from owning or operating legal hemp businesses. The “Free to Grow Act,” sponsored by Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-ME), David Trone (D-MD), Nancy Mace (R-SC) and Dave Joyce (R-OH), focuses only on the section of the 2018 Farm Bill that dealt with prior convictions and federal legalized hemp.

Pingree stated that in spite of legalization, the industry’s expansion is being hampered by bureaucracy, regulatory uncertainty and discriminatory policy. Congress is expected to approve a new farm bill version this year. The new legislation would remove provisions from the farm bill that currently prohibit individuals convicted of a felony drug offense within the previous 10 years from legally holding certain positions within a licensed hemp business.

In 2019, the USDA made it clear that only “key participants” — chief executives with a direct financial stake in the company or other top executives — would be subject to the ban. As a result, employees such as maintenance workers are exempt from the rule, which is consistent with the strict reading that advocates pushed for. The lawmakers are now attempting to completely remove the prohibitory language.

A majority of advocacy organizations, including DREAM.Org, Americans for Prosperity, Drug Policy Alliance, Due Process Institute, U.S. Hemp Roundtable and R St Institute, are supporting the proposed reform.

Pingree has been on the forefront of advocating for changes to the hemp sections of the bill, filing separate measures in past sessions that incorporated proposed revisions supported by a majority of the industry players. Those revisions include items such as increasing the THC levels for legal hemp and eliminating a clause that hemp should only be tested by DEA-certified laboratories.

Regarding the latter, the USDA did declare at the end of 2022 that it was temporarily postponing enforcement of the requirement because such facilities lacked “adequate” capacity. The rule did not go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023, and will not go into effect until at least Dec. 31, 2023.

In January, the USDA made the announcement that it would begin publishing a weekly newsletter with “unbiased, timely and accurate data” about the hemp industry. In an annual effort to better understand how the market has changed, the department began sending out surveys to hemp farmers across the nation shortly after that development.

The Congressional Research Service also published a report last year outlining a number of ways stakeholders hoped to see federal hemp laws changed to better support the sector through the upcoming farm bill.

As more people are freed from the unwarranted restrictions barring them from participating in the hemp industry, it will create downstream opportunities for enterprises such as Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) engaged in supplying equipment that can be used to grow different plants indoors, such as cannabis.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/ACTX

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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