AGHS in D.C. on Monday Gathering Support and Co-sponsors for Hemp Farming Act of 2018 (S. 2667, H. 5
Things are progressing in D.C. with S. 2667 and companion bill H. 5485, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. We met with our chief-sponsor offices, and members of the House Committees and Senate Agriculture Committee to provide you with first hand updates on our progress toward federal hemp re-legalization.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) invoked Rule 14 last week, bypassing committee jurisdiction and putting S. 2667 on the Senate Calendar (Calendar Number 380). While this does not mean that the bill has been scheduled in the Senate, it does mean that it is “on the shelf” of bills that could be heard any time. The importance of this procedural move is avoidance of unfavorable committees. Even with this important procedural step forward, we must remain practical about the challenges of moving a single-issue bill through Congress. As such, the goal is to include the language of the Hemp Farming Act into the upcoming Agricultural Act.
S.2667 currently has 8 co-sponsors (Wyden (D-OR); Merkley (D-OR); Paul (R-KY); Daines (R-MT); Udall (D-NM); Gardner (R-CO); Bennet (D-CO); Smith (D-MN).
The House companion bill has been assigned primary committee jurisdiction in the House Committee on Agriculture. The bill has subsequent committee jurisdiction in both the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and House Judiciary. We have had support and co-sponsorship from members on each committee on previous versions of the Hemp Farming Act, but have yet to have a hearing scheduled on any hemp farming act bills assigned to such committees. Subcommittees have not yet been assigned for H. 5485.
H.5485 (Comer (R-KY)) currently has one co-sponsor: Polis (D-CO).
Upcoming Farm Bill and Appropriations Acts
The Agricultural Act of 2014 expires at the end of fiscal year 2018 (September 30, 2018). Congress is diligently working on the drafting of the next Agricultural Act. To move S. 2667 forward, the goal is to include the language in the upcoming Senate Agricultural Act. The feeling in the House is that the House Agricultural Act is partisan and dead on arrival in the Senate. The Senate is working to draft a bi-partisan bill that can continue our national agricultural policy and programs forward. Therefore, the eye is on the Senate and Senator McConnell’s role on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry committee is incredibly important for our success.
Will Congress have an Agricultural Act passed before September 30, 2018? Unlikely, especially with the upcoming election. If not, there will be a Farm Bill extension, as there was with the previous Farm Bill. Similarly, there may also be an Appropriations Act continuing resolution to continue the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 into 2019. These bills, bill extensions, and continuing resolutions are moving vehicles that can provide opportunities to continue our progress in bringing hemp freedom back to the U.S.
What can you do?
Continue to reach out to your Congressional Delegates and ensure they become cosponsors of S. 2667 and H.5485.
If your Delegates serve on the Senate or House Agriculture Committees, encourage them to not only become a cosponsor, but to support inclusion of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 language into the Farm Bill.