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  • Courtney N. Moran, LL.M.

21 Attorneys General Request Congress to Act on Intoxicating Hemp Products in Upcoming Farm Bill

Updated: Mar 27



AGs & DOJ

On March 20, 2024, 21 Attorneys General (AGs) from across the U.S. sent a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees regarding the five-year authorization of the Farm Bill, urging the committees to address “the proliferation of intoxicating hemp products across the nation.” The AGs wrote that hemp-derived intoxicants are a significant threat to public health and safety: “a crisis issue impacting our states, our public safety, and our role as law enforcement officials.” 


A footnote provides the context for the meaning of “intoxicating hemp” as products “derived from hemp-created CBD”, that “can be available in forms that claim to be non-intoxicating hemp, while still containing tangible quantities of delta-8, delta-9, or other known intoxicating cannabinoids. Others are simply sold as intoxicants.”


Specific concern is over the “exploitation” of the 2018 Farm Bill’s definition of hemp, and the inclusion of derivatives of that plant within the definition. They comment on a grey market that undermines “regulations and consumer protections”, including in states that already have adult-use cannabis programs, noting particular concern for products that have misleading labels, may be poorly manufactured, and are in packaging that mimics other popular brands of candy and snacks creating an “exceptional risk” for children. 


The AGs wrote, 

“Regardless of your Committees’ intentions, the reality is that this law has unleashed on our states a flood of products that are nothing less than a more potent form of cannabis, often in candy form that is made attractive to youth and children—with staggering levels of potency, no regulation, no oversight, and a limited capability for our offices to rein them in.”


In expressing the role of AGs, they wrote, “It is our duty to protect our states and communities, yet the federal law lacks the clarity needed to act vigorously on their behalf.” In requesting assistance from the Committees in the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization, the AGs urge Congress to address their concerns and amend the definition of hemp, 

“... our states are being tested in our efforts to regulate these potentially dangerous products. These intoxicating hemp products, by virtue of their potential hazard to consumers, must be regulated by each state. The definition of hemp should be amended to clarify that there is no federal hemp intoxicants loophole, and the 2023 reauthorization should reaffirm that members of Congress do not intend to limit states in restrictions or regulations related to cannabinoids or any other derivatives of hemp which are deemed intoxicating.”

  

The AGs concluded, “We share your commitment to farmers and support an orderly market for industrial hemp and non-intoxicating hemp-derived products.” 


The letter was co-led by Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita and Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin. They were joined by AGs from California, Colorado, Connecticut, D.C., Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.


A full copy of the letter is available here.


AG Letter-Concerning-Five-Year-Farm-Bill-Reauthorization (March 20, 2024)
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Download PDF • 421KB



The upcoming Farm Bill is still under negotiation. The Ag Committees have expressed to us that the issue of hemp-derived cannabinoids and hemp-derived intoxicating products is the top issue under discussion! If changes to the definition of hemp will impact your business, know that this is your opportunity to weigh in and have your policy positions heard!


Contact us for legislative advocacy, lobbying, or other government relations services. We are here to help bring your voice to Congress and your state Capitol. Learn more about becoming a client by emailing us at campaigns@agriculturalhempsolutions.com or call us at 202-656-7023.


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