Earlier this week, senate appropriators released various reports and spending bills for fiscal year 2021 that have incorporated various provisions related to hemp and marijuana. Hemp contains no more than 0.3% THC, as defined under federal law.
However, the USDA proposed a 0.5% negligence threshold, which means that farmers who have exceeded that limit would have to destroy their plants. The senate panel is calling for the agency to reconsider the policy, taking into account stakeholder feedback.
A few other marijuana-related provisions that had appeared in previous reports and appropriation bills were also incorporated in the bills. Those included measures that banned Washington, DC, from using the district’s taxes to execute a regulated cannabis market while also protecting medical marijuana programs in the state from government intervention. Legislators also continue to identify barriers to cannabis research brought about by federal prohibition.
In addition to this, a new section has been added that asks the National Institute on Drug Abuse (“NIDA”) to add more marijuana-related questions to its annual government survey of young people. Legislators would like to incorporate queries about the consumption of flavored cannabis edibles and vapes that appeal to young people.
The senators also demanded $5 million in funding for FDA research into marijuana and marijuana derivatives, protecting state hemp programs and enlarging cannabis studies in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
On the other hand, the House advanced appropriation bills of its own during the summer that include wider marijuana reform policies, showing an overlap between the House and the Senate. In the House version, proposed legislation includes provisions aimed at the following:
- Grant the state of Washington the ability to legalize recreational marijuana sales
- Oversee the nation’s CBD and hemp industries
- Enlarge research on marijuana
- Ease access to basic banking services for marijuana businesses
- Protect recreational cannabis legalization laws from government interference
To keep most agencies and programs funded, the government has been relying on continuing resolutions, seeing as the fiscal year for next year actually began Oct. 1, 2020.
The report for the measure to fund the Department of Health and Human Services has several passages that direct officials to widen the scope of cannabis research. The measure also includes a note that marijuana’s classification as a Schedule 1 drug only hinders research.
Over in the District of Columbia, the bill funding the state currently maintains a rider banning the city from using its own funds to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana sales. This is despite the House-passed version of the fiscal year 2021 legislation proposing that the policy be revoked.
A noteworthy company that you should pay attention to in the marijuana space is Sugarmade Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD). As other industries have suffered major drops in sales, this cannabis delivery company has seen an uptick in the volume of its business as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.
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