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Free to Grow Act to Remove Felony Restrcition for Hemp Farmers

The Free to Grow Act, introduced this month by legislators Chellie Pingree(D-M.E.), David Trone (D-M.D.), David Joyce (R-Ohio), and Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), seeks to end drug felony prohibitions for hemp farmers and is moving through Congress with bipartisan support.

Currently, federal law prohibits any person convicted of a drug felony from obtaining a license to cultivate hemp for 10 years following their conviction. AgHS worked hard in 2018 to limit the scope of the felony provision. The Free to Grow Act would remove this requirement entirely, which would increase access to the hemp market for those formally charged with felonies. Pingree cites not only the inequities in preventing formerly incarcerated individuals from participating in the hemp industry as reasoning for the bill, but the potential to expand the hemp market if licensing restrictions were eased:

“‘While hemp production was federally legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill, the industry’s growth is being stunted by red tape, discriminatory policy, and regulatory uncertainty,’ said Pingree…By preventing formerly incarcerated individuals from participating in a growing industry, we are further exacerbating their potential inability to start a business and thrive financially.”

AgHS has been similarly leading the way in seeking to end discriminatory and unnecessary policies levied against hemp farmers through the Hemp Exemption Campaign, which seeks to reduce barriers to entry and remove the red tape farmers face when growing for grain and fiber.

AgHS is here to help bring your voice to Congress. We are available to represent your business to achieve your federal and state hemp policy goals! Contact us to learn more by email at, or by phone at 888-388-4367.

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