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Thank You for Supporting Grow Indiana Together PAC!

On Friday, the Grow Indiana Together PAC (GITPAC) held its first fundraiser, and it was a complete success. GITPAC is Indiana’s first and only political action committee that focuses solely on supporting candidates and incumbents championing responsible cannabis reform. We will share future updates about GITPAC in the near future.

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From MHC President Justin Swanson: The End of Cannabis Prohibition in Indiana?

The Indiana General Assembly concluded its business for the 2022 legislative session on March 8, 2022. Legislators on both sides of the aisle introduced a record number of fourteen (14) cannabis-related bills. These proposals ranged from providing regulated medical and/or adult use marijuana markets to Hoosiers, to legalizing hemp grain as a commercial animal feed, to re-legalizing the production and manufacturing of craft hemp flower and narrowing the definition of low THC hemp extract. Despite the objectively increasing interest in cannabis reform policies from Indiana lawmakers, there were no cannabis-related bills that made it all the way through the legislative process and into state law. However, evidence continues to point to a growing momentum for common sense cannabis reform in Indiana for a few reasons:

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Indiana General Assembly to Study Cannabis Topics

The Legislative Council met today and assigned the topic of Delta 8, Delta 9 and other THC products to the Interim Study Committee on Public Health, Behavioral Health and Human Services. We are excited to see the Indiana General Assembly’s continued interest in reforming our cannabis laws. We look forward to the opportunity to highlight the benefits of providing broad access to cannabis products carefully balanced with consumer protection policies. Stay tuned for more information!

Indiana Statehouse Update: February 28, 2022

The Indiana legislative session is coming to a close, with deadlines looming and conference committees being scheduled. While the official end date is March 14, we anticipate the legislature to finish their business before this date. We wanted to provide you with this timely and accurate update regarding SB 209 and HB 1043. 

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Celebrating FFA Week!

FFA Week is Feb. 19-26, 2022! Each year, FFA chapters around the country celebrate National FFA Week. It’s a time to share what FFA is and the impact it has on members every day. We're sharing the stories of two FFA members who worked on projects involving hemp!

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Thank you, Chairwoman McNamara and Committee on Courts and Criminal Code

We want to thank Chairwoman McNamara and the rest of the House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code for standing up for farmers, small business owners and consumers in Indiana. An amendment was adopted this morning that deletes the offensive language narrowing the definition of low THC hemp extract and requests a summer study committee to review the issue further.

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SB 209 to be Heard on Wednesday

SB 209 is a disaster bill for the hemp industry and Indiana small businesses, which would set a horrible precedent for states around the country.  It will be heard in the House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code on Wednesday, February 16.

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Indiana Legislative Update - February 8, 2022

We are now in our first week of the second half of session and coming down to crunch time for HB 1043 and SB 209.

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Midwest Hemp Council's Indiana Legislative Session Halftime Report

TL;DR: HB 1043 helps stabilize the hemp industry and ensure consumers have access to safe craft hemp flower products. Contact the Senate Committee on Commerce and Technology and ask that they support HB 1043. SB 209 contains language that is a direct attack on small businesses across the state. Contact the House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code and ask that they remove the low THC hemp extract language from the bill.

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Indiana Legislative Update

We have seen a record number of bills filed this year that impact the cannabis market in Indiana. It is more important than ever to stay informed on the latest happenings so that you can continue to educate lawmakers on the impact of these bills. So, where do the bills that impact Midwest Hemp Council members stand?

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House Committee on Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development to Hear HB 1043

We are in the second week of the Indiana General Assembly’s legislative session and we need your help! HB 1043 has been assigned to the House Committee on Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development and the committee will hear the bill tomorrow, Wednesday, January 19, at 1:30 p.m.! Those of you who have reached out to members of the committee - thank you! But we still need your help to get the bill out of committee.  If you are a Hoosier consumer, farmer, retailer or other small business owner, please reach out to committee members to educate them on how this bill will benefit you.

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Take Action: Ask House Committee on Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development to Hear HB 1043

We are in the second week of the Indiana General Assembly’s legislative session and we need your help! HB 1043 has been assigned to the House Committee on Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development and the committee members needs to hear from you! If you are a Hoosier consumer, farmer, retailer or other small business owner, please reach out to committee members to educate them on how this bill will benefit you.

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MHC Members to Attend NACS 2021

Hemp Brand Builders and several Midwest Hemp Council member companies will be attending the 2021 NACS Show in Chicago, where they will be showcasing hemp-derived products and the benefits of MHC membership. Hemp Brand Builders will be on the Expo Floor beginning October 6, 2021, and continuing through October 8, 2021, to educate and promote the hemp industry. Midwest Hemp Council members and products who will be represented include: Cannovia, Dreem Nutrition, Driftless Extracts, Flora, The Hemp Bakers, Hoosier Hemp Dispensary, IND Hemp, Pharm CBD, Planet Based Foods, Pure Smokes and Whitefield Hemp.     

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From MHC President Justin Swanson: Update on Craft Hemp Flower Litigation in Indiana

Executive Summary: In June 2019, the Midwest Hemp Council joined small business owners in Indiana to challenge the criminalization of craft hemp flower in federal court. The U.S. District Court ruled in favor of the hemp industry and prohibited the enforcement of the statute criminalizing the production, sale and possession of craft hemp flower. This favorable ruling was appealed to the Seventh Circuit. Unfortunately, the Seventh Circuit inexplicably ignored the industry’s strongest argument and the one on which the U.S. District Court relied on to issue its injunction against the state—individual states do not have the authority to pick and choose what is legal coming off of the hemp plant, so long as the product is below .3% THC. This unfavorable order came out in July 2020 and resulted in the state being permitted to enforce the criminalization of craft hemp flower in Indiana. On Monday, May 24, 2021, after a nearly two-year battle in the federal court systems, plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case without prejudice. This means that if the regulatory or enforcement environment changes in Indiana, the door is still open if there is an interest in refiling the case.

Current Legal Status of Craft Hemp Flower in Indiana: Craft hemp flower is free to travel “in continuous transit” through Indiana so long as a Hoosier farmer didn’t produce it, a Hoosier small business owner didn’t sell it and a Hoosier consumer didn’t possess it. Yes, you read that correctly. It is the current policy of Indiana that out-of-state farmers and business owners are free to profit from one of the most lucrative markets in the hemp industry, while Hoosiers are shut out of the market. We will continue to engage and educate lawmakers, regulators and other stakeholders on why the craft hemp flower market is so crucial to farmers and the development of the whole hemp plant economy. The Indiana General Assembly is becoming more educated on this issue as reflected in HB 1224 this year, which passed out of the House with bipartisan support 69-28 and would have responsibly reopened the market to Hoosiers. Unfortunately, the bill stalled in Senate committee and did not receive a vote. We are looking forward to building off of this momentum during the 2022 legislative session.

Crucial Flexibility Coming to Indiana Hemp Farmers

It’s no secret the hemp industry continues to work through various choke points whether it’s the weather, bad genetics or limited access to proper banking channels. Despite these challenges, Hoosier farmers and small business owners continue to be optimistic about the future of the industry. The playbook for improving economic opportunity in the whole hemp plant economy is multi-faceted. To match the scale of what is needed and to make regional markets work better for more people, we must continue to educate our regulators, our lawmakers and other stakeholders with unified messages. And that’s exactly what has been happening in Indiana.

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Update on SB 197

As you will recall from our last update, SB 197 contains problematic language for hemp farmers, processors, small business owners and consumers in Indiana. The hemp industry, like any industry, needs certainty and consistency in order to have the confidence to continue to invest in their business operations in Indiana. In response to this problematic language, Representatives Eberhart, Teshka and Judy filed four amendments designed to help and/or protect the whole hemp plant economy in Indiana.

Fortunately, SB 197 was not called down off the Second Reading Calendar so it is now dead for session. We will remain vigilant through the end of session to ensure, at the very least, the whole hemp plant economy is protected from seed to shelf. 

Be sure to reach out to Representatives EberhartTeshka and Judy to thank them for their efforts to protect our growing industry from government overreach.

Update on HB 1224 and SB 197

While its disappointing that HB 1224 was not brought back for a committee vote this week, our members did a terrific job of communicating with the members of the committee to educate them on why this bill is so important to farmers, small business owners and consumers. It’s not time to give up just yet, as there is more work to be done this legislative session.
 
Our attention now turns to SB 197 on the Second Reading calendar in the House, where Representative Teshka has filed two crucial amendments for the whole hemp plant economy in Indiana. Currently, SB 197 contains language that narrows the definition of a “low THC hemp extract” to require all products to contain less than .3% total THC in order to be sold in Indiana. This language is much narrower than the current definition that measures only total delta-9 THC and was added into the bill without any input from the industry. Amendment #13 removes this language from the bill in order to maintain the status quo in Indiana. Any changes to Indiana’s hemp laws ought to be done in a transparent manner with industry input.
 
As the saying goes, a bill isn’t dead until it's dead. Representative Teshka’s Amendment #10 revives HB 1224 (re-legalizes the craft hemp flower market), since it did not pass out of Senate Committee on Commerce and Technology. If the amendment is adopted by the House, HB 1224 still has a chance at becoming law this session, but not without your active support of the bill.
 
We urge you to reach out to your Representative today and over the weekend to ask that they support Representative Teshka’s Amendment #10 and Amendment #13 to SB 197. The more Indiana lawmakers learn about the positive economic impact the whole hemp plant economy has on farmers, small business owners and consumers, the more willing they are to protect it from government overreach.
 
Need help finding your legislators or their contact information? Visit the IGA website and enter your address.

Join MHC at CBD Expo Midwest!

Join us for two days of networking and learning at CBD Expo Midwest, happening April 9 and 10 at the Indianapolis Marriott East. The event offers something for everyone - choose from thought provoking panels and exciting activities. Discover the cutting edge of research and medicine. Brush up on regulation and compliance. Fine-tune your marketing skills and improve sales under the guidance of industry experts. We'll be there, so come and see us:

  • Visit MHC in the Expo Hall - we'll be at booth 11 and MHC members Adams Independent Testing will be in booth 32.
  • Join MHC President Justin Swanson and members Joe Linne, Hoosier Hempster Dispensary, and Greg Kruger, DREEM Nutrition, for a panel on challenges and opportunities in retail and wholesale at 3:15 p.m. on Friday.
  • Join MHC member Austin Rhodus, DREEM Nutrition, for a panel discussion on terpenes at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
  • MHC member Dr. Dan Silva of Midwest Hemp Testing Services will take part in a panel discussion on creating novel CBD formulations on Friday. He will also take part in a panel discussion on cutting edge cannabinoid science and host a Center Stage presentation on identifying effective cannabinoids on Saturday.
  • MHC member Dr. Richard Sams of KCA Laboratories will participate in a panel discussion on minor cannabinoids at 10:15 on Saturday and a panel on the cutting edge of cannabinoid science immediately following.
  • Joe Linne will also participate in a panel discussion on CBD regulations in the Midwest at 1:30 on Saturday.
Haven't registered yet? It's not too late to buy tickets! Use code XHBTR5 for 50% off!

HB 1224 Held, May be Heard Again

HB 1224 was heard in the Senate Committee on Commerce and Technology yesterday. The Committee did not take a vote yesterday, and we need your help to get it on the committee agenda for Thursday. MHC President Justin Swanson offered the following statement on yesterday’s hearing and the importance of HB1224 for the whole hemp plant economy in Indiana:

"We remain hopeful that the Indiana General Assembly will find an appropriate legislative solution to re-open the projected $300M-$400 craft hemp flower market for farmers, small business owners and consumers across Indiana. But we need Midwest Hemp Council members to consistently contact Senator Chip Perfect, the committee chair, and the committee members to ask that they bring HB 1224 back for a vote on ThursdayThis bill will not pass unless you help educate these Senators about why their support for the bill is so important to you as a farmer, business owner or consumer."

If you missed 
yesterday’s hearing, archived video is available on the IGA website. Contact information for committee members can be found below. Keep an eye on your inbox for additional updates from your only source of timely and accurate information about the whole hemp plant economy in Indiana.
SENATE COMMERCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE
Senator
LA Phone
District Email
Chip Perfect, Chair
317-232-9489
Eric Koch, RM
317-234-9425
Scott Baldwin
317-232-9533
Stacey Donato
317-232-9493
Blake Doriot
317-232-9808
Erin Houchin
317-232-9488
Jean Leising
317-232-9493
Andy Zay
317-234-9441
Jean Breaux, RMM
317-232-9534
Lonnie Randolph
317-232-9532
Shelli Yoder
317-232-9532

SB 197 Amended to Negatively Impact Indiana Hemp Industry

It's been a busy legislative session for hemp in Indiana, and next week is no exception. In addition to HB 1224 being heard in committee on Monday, we wanted to alert you to an amendment that was added to a 127-page bill that negatively impacts the hemp industry in Indiana. On Wednesday, the House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code added an amendment to SB 197 that would represent a significant policy shift away from the black letter law of the 2018 Farm Bill in Indiana. The amendment was taken by consent, with only the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council testifying in support of the amendment and with no opportunity for input from the hemp industry.
 
The hemp industry, just like any other industry in Indiana, needs certainty and uniformity in order to be successful. While reasonable minds can disagree on the intent of the 2018 Farm Bill, Congress continues to focus on ensuring that USDA has sole regulatory jurisdiction over all derivatives, extracts and cannabinoids coming from the hemp plant and ending any claim of DEA jurisdiction over hemp and hemp processing. This intent was expressed yet again in a letter submitted this week to the Attorney General of the United States and the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture asking for the agencies to meet jointly with industry stakeholders to resolve nearly universal concerns with the DEA’s Interim Final Rule.
 
The Midwest Hemp Council has been hard at work educating lawmakers on the negative impact the amendment would have on farmers and the whole hemp plant economy in Indiana. While we are cautiously optimistic about our progress to date, we may need to activate you and the rest of our strong grassroots foundation to engage lawmakers on the issue. Be on the lookout for an update next week from your only source of timely and accurate information about the whole hemp plant economy in Indiana.