Have you ever stopped to think of exactly how hemp became legal after decades of prohibition? Who started the conversation on Capitol Hill? Who bridges the world of those working with the plant with the world of those writing and implementing the law? Who are the folks who negotiate through the legislative process and rulemakings to make sure the real needs of farmers and businesses are clearly conveyed to allies and opponents?
Many are unaware of the hard work that goes into lobbying, which is the art of advocating for the concerns of a group to the right lawmakers in Washington D.C. and at state Capitols. These professionals, many times lawyers, help negotiate the eventual laws that make advances, like federally-legal hemp, possible.
Lobbyists cultivate key alliances among industry stakeholders, lawmakers, federal agencies, and grassroots industry members. They not only carry the industry’s message to Washington, they strategically leverage their knowledge and contacts to build the case for their industry’s agenda and see it through to fruition.
Every member of the hemp industry should be aware of the lobbying efforts that make it possible. Part of the AgHS mission is to educate all industry members on how the legislative process works, so that their voices are heard, their needs are met, and their futures protected. On the other side, AgHS educates lawmakers on the realities faced by industry stakeholders and the regulatory frameworks needed to keep farms and agribusinesses operating.
Here is a brief audio from Courtney N. Moran, LL.M., AgHS Chief Legislative Strategist, hemp lobbyist, and co-author of the 2018 Farm Bill, at the January 2020 Hemp Connex conference in Portland. She clarifies some basic pathways for rulemaking and legislation that we should all understand as we aggregate our political will for hemp’s next phase.