WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The United States Senate today passed a continuing resolution providing short term funding to prevent a government shutdown that included the House's language to extend the hemp pilot program through September of 2021.
"We're thankful for both the House and the Senate for listening to us back in August when we wrote about the importance of this program," said National Industrial Hemp Council Board Chairman Patrick Atagi. "With the Senate's vote today, hemp farmers across the country will have more certainty tomorrow while states continue their important work to submit final plans to the USDA for approval."
In August, the NIHC joined the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) in writing to both House and Senate appropriators asking that the hemp pilot program be extended as part of any coronavirus relief package or as part of a continuing resolution. The NIHC and NASDA also that same day wrote to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue asking for him to use his discretion to extend the hemp pilot program and in a relatively unprecedented move USDA re-opened the comment period on the hemp interim final rule.
Farmers across the country have been able to legally grow hemp since the 2014 Farm Bill was signed into law. That bill created a pilot program for hemp to be grown in states with plans that received USDA approval. After passage of the 2018 Farm Bill that removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, states had a deadline of October 31, 2020 to submit final plans to the USDA for approval as the pilot program was expiring. The global pandemic has presented obstacles for state departments of agriculture to finalize plans and submit them to the USDA for approval.
"Hemp is bipartisan issue and that's why Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) both expressed an interest in extending this program. We thank them for their leadership and we look forward to President Trump signing this important legislation into law," concluded Atagi.
Last week, the House passed the continuing resolution. It now heads to the President for his signature.
About the National Industrial Hemp Council: The National Industrial Hemp Council provides high-quality networking and resources for its members, from farm to consumer. Its leadership is composed of leading international, federal, state, private industry, and government professionals throughout the sector. The organization is dedicated to furthering market development, assisting members in entering the industry, and educating consumers on industrial hemp and its applications. For more information please go to www.hempindustrial.com.
SOURCE National Industrial Hemp Council