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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.

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.

Member Alert: HB 1224 to be Heard by Senate Committee on April 5

Indiana members! This is it! HB 1224 will be scheduled for a hearing at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, April 5, in the Senate Committee on Commerce and Technology. We need all of you to consistently contact the committee members and ask that they vote “Yes” on HB 1224. Their contact information can be found below. This bill will not pass unless you help educate Senators on why this bill is so important to you as a farmer, business or consumer. Currently, craft hemp flower is free to move in “continuous transit” in Indiana - so long as an Indiana farmer didn’t grow it, an Indiana business didn’t sell it and an Indiana consumer didn’t possess it.

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Midwest Hemp Council Statement on the Importance of HB 1224:

"We are extremely disappointed with the recent ruling on Indiana’s current craft hemp flower laws from the Court. Despite the setback, we remain optimistic 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.
 
"Modernizing Indiana’s hemp laws is critical to the development and growth of the whole hemp plant economy. Such an act will directly lead to significant investments in and job creation across rural and urban Indiana—without state or federal monetary assistance. Under current Indiana law, craft hemp flower is permitted to travel “in continuous transit” through the state — so long as an Indiana farmer didn’t grow it, an Indiana small business didn’t sell it and an Indiana consumer didn’t possess it.

"HB 1224 modernizes Indiana’s hemp laws by leveraging what has elevated Indiana to a national leader on hemp policy—the appropriate labeling and testing requirements for low THC hemp extract products. Couple this demonstrably successful solution replicated across the country with the availability of several types of road side test kits for law enforcement, HB 1224 is a major win for the whole hemp plant economy.
 
"HB 1224 has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Commerce and Technology. This is a great sign as this committee has been supportive of hemp production in Indiana in the past."
 
What’s next? 
  • Indiana members: Be on the lookout for communications from us on the best time to engage the committee in asking for their support of HB 1224. 
  • Members: Be on the lookout for a halftime report on all cannabis legislation at the Indiana Statehouse.

 


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HB 1224 Moves to Third Reading

Last week, we told you that the House Committee on Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development passed HB 1224 with a final vote of 9-4. While this was the first step in ensuring Indiana’s farmers and small business owners have access to the whole hemp plant economy, our work continues. We developed the flow chart below to help our members follow HB 1224 through the twists and turns of the legislative process.

What does HB 1224 accomplish? It responsibly re-legalizes the projected $300M-$400M craft hemp flower market in Indiana for farmers, small business owners and other entrepreneurs. The current criminalization of federally legal craft hemp flower has done nothing to curb demand for the product. Instead, it has only shifted demand away from Indiana farmers and small businesses to out of state farmers and online retailers. Consumers simply have the product shipped directly to them through the United States Postal Office.
 
What happens next? HB 1224 has been added to the Third Reading Calendar, where all 100 representatives will vote “yes” or “no” on the bill. If the bill receives a simple majority of “yes” votes, the bill will then move to the Senate Chamber to restart the process.
 
How can you help if you live in Indiana? YOUR VOICE MATTERS! Indiana Representatives must hear from all farmers, handlers, small businesses owners, consumers and other entrepreneurs in Indiana on this issue. They cannot hear from you enough, so don’t be shy. It is imperative that you make the direct ask that your representative votes yes on HB 1224. We also ask that you reach out to Governor Holcomb and ask that he supports the whole hemp plant economy in Indiana. Need help finding your representative? Click here to find your legislators. 
 
Keep your eyes peeled for more updates from MHC on HB 1224 as it moves through the process. We are the only trusted source for timely and accurate information on the whole hemp plant economy in Indiana.

Update on HB 1224: Craft Hemp Flower and Hemp Production

On Tuesday, February 9, the House Committee on Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development passed HB 1224 with a final vote of 9-4. While this is the first step in ensuring Indiana’s farmers and small business owners have access to the whole hemp plant economy, our work has just begun. We developed this flow chart to help our members follow HB 1224 through the twists and turns of the legislative process.
 
What does HB 1224 accomplish? It responsibly re-legalizes the projected $300M-$400M craft hemp flower market in Indiana for farmers, small business owners and other entrepreneurs. The current criminalization of federally legal craft hemp flower has done nothing to curb demand for the product. Instead, it has only shifted demand away from Indiana farmers and small businesses to out of state farmers and online retailers. Consumers simply have the product shipped directly to them through the United States Postal Office.
 
What happens next? HB 1224 will be added to the Second Reading Calendar next week, where any Representative can offer amendments to the bill. These amendments need a simple majority vote to be added to the bill. Once the amendments are accepted or rejected, HB 1224 will move to the Third Reading Calendar, where all 100 Representatives will vote “yes” or “no” on the underlying bill. If the bill receives a simple majority of “yes” votes, the bill will then move to the Senate Chamber to restart the process.
 
How can you help if you live in Indiana? YOUR VOICE MATTERS! Indiana Representatives must hear from all farmers, handlers, small businesses owners, consumers and other entrepreneurs in Indiana on this issue. They cannot hear from you enough so don’t be shy. It is imperative that you make the direct ask that Representatives support HB 1224. We also ask that you reach out to Governor Holcomb and ask that he supports the whole hemp plant economy in Indiana. Need help finding your representative? Click here to find your legislators. We also encourage you to contact Governor Holcomb and ask that he support HB1224.
 
Keep your eyes peeled for more updates from MHC on HB 1224 as it moves through the process. We are the only trusted source for timely and accurate information on the whole hemp plant economy in Indiana.

Member Alert: The Hoosier Craft Hemp Flower Market Needs Your Help!

The House Committee on Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development took testimony on HB 1224 on January 25, 2021. The bill will be scheduled for a final committee vote early next week and we need your help.

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USDA Issues Final Hemp Rule

USDA has issued its final hemp rule! While we are still reviewing the 301 page document, there are changes that reflect the industry’s comments, including:
  • extending the harvesting window to 30 days
  • improving sampling requirements
  • allowing remediation
  • raising the negligence threshold from .5% THC to 1% THC.
Thank you to all who submitted comments - great work! This final rule supersedes the interim final rule and is effective within the next 60 days or so. We will provide an in-depth analysis in the coming days.

The U.S. SBA's Office of Advocacy Urges AMS To Extend The Reopened Public Comment Period For Interim Final Rule On Domestic Hemp Production

Last week, The Office of Advocacy (Advocacy) of the U.S. Small Business Administration submitted a comment letter in response to the reopening of the public comment period for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) interim final rule. They urged AMS to extend the public comment period for a minimum of 30 additional days to allow for small businesses and their representatives to fully and meaningfully participate in this important rulemaking.

To read their letter, click here.

Comment Now: DEA Interim Final Rule

The DEA Interim Final Rule - Why it Threatens Farmers, Small Businesses and the Entire CBD Industry

 
Make Comments Today!

New York says USDA rules too strict, halts plans for hemp program

The state of New York will not submit a state hemp plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), saying the federal program‘s requirements are too strict on growers. The announcement effectively puts on hold the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ hemp program.

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Smokable hemp banned after local grower lobbies for legalization

“It’s an interesting situation trying to figure out how to navigate. Having a revenue stream shut down as a small business is very detrimental for investing in our business and home state here. We’re trying to scale our business, and having restrictions like this are detrimental to us trying to build jobs and providing economic impact. It has a heavy impact on businesses like us.”

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Top Senate Democrat Pushes USDA To Delay Hemp Rules Until 2022

The top Democrat in the Senate is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to delay issuing final regulations for hemp until 2022, citing stakeholder concerns and the challenges of state compliance that have arisen due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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U.S. Hemp Roundtable Advocacy Alert: Help Provide Flexibility for Hemp Farmers

As U.S. Hemp Roundtable shared in earlier communications, the USDA’s initial foray into regulating the growth and processing of hemp has caused some heartburn for U.S. hemp farmers. It’s an industry consensus that the agency’s Interim Final Rule (IFR) does not provide the kind of flexibility on issues like THC testing, hot hemp disposal and plant sampling that farmers need in order to successfully profit from their hemp crops. That’s why nearly two dozen state hemp programs have chosen to continue to operate under the authorizations provided by the 2014 Farm Bill, which are more flexible than the IFR.

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Seventh Circuit Issues Ruling on Smokable Hemp

The long awaited ruling from the Seventh Circuit on criminalizing smokable hemp arrived late yesterday evening. The decision is a mixed bag for the industry in that the decision affirmed part of the district court’s rationale for the injunction but found that the injunction was too broad. We believe the 7th Circuit’s decision affirms the unconstitutionality of portions of SEA 516 and look forward to addressing those arguments on remand. As of now, the injunction being lifted will officially be in effect on July 29, 2020. You should plan to have all smokable hemp products off the shelf by this date.

Read the ruling here.

Vote Hemp: Sign the Petition - Tell Congress to Change the Definition of Hemp to 1% THC

Hemp is important to the future of farming in the U.S. and will create farming and manufacturing jobs for sustainable and healthy USA grown products. The 2018 Farm Bill authorized hemp production but used an outdated definition of hemp that does not work for farmers or the hemp industry. The current definition limiting hemp to 0.3% THC has proven unworkable forcing many farmers to destroy their crops because they were slightly over the limit. We need Congress to change the definition of hemp to allow up to 1% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) so that farmers can grow hemp crops without fearing that they will later have to destroy them.

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