Federal lawmakers reach agreement on hemp bill provision

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The compromise moves the Farm Bill one step closer to being approved

In a rare show of bipartisan support, lawmakers in Congress have agreed to compromise on a provision in the Farm Bill. The provision specifically deals with the ability of certain individuals with felony drug convictions to work in the hemp industry and has now been scaled back to be a little less rigid. The agreement should go a long way to allowing the Farm Bill to be approved.

The final language of the Farm Bill has not yet been released and probably won’t be presented to the public until next week. The original wording in the Senate version of the bill stated that no person who had a felony conviction related to a controlled substance would be able to participate in the hemp industry. It now appears that the legislation won’t be as strict as the Senate had hoped.

According to Grant Smith, the deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, “We are encouraged by reports that lawmakers made some changes to the ban during conference negotiations but it remains to be seen what the language looks like.”

Representative James Comer, who tried to see hemp legalization in the House version of the Farm Bill earlier this year, acknowledged that lawmakers were able to reach a decision on the wording, adding that there was “a lot of discussion” about the provision in several conference committees. Comer had seen his suggestions repeatedly rejected by House Republicans, but, with both sides approving the latest concessions, the final bill should easily be approved by Congress before being sent to President Trump for his signature.