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  • Writer's pictureCourtney N. Moran, LL.M.

Politicians Throwing Stones: Miller Amendment & The House Ag. Committee Farm Bill Markup

Updated: May 29

On Thursday, May 23, the House Agriculture Committee held a long-anticipated markup of the House Farm Bill, H.R. 8467 The Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024, which was introduced on May 21.

The Markup lasted over 11 hours, including debates and protests over the $1.5 trillion package. Included in the debates was a controversial Amendment, the "Miller Amendment", which if signed into law will have major consequences for the hemp cannabinoid sector (both intoxicating and non-intoxicating).

Overall, the bill faces serious challenges from agriculture industry stakeholders on various issues. Is the bill expected to pass? Not in its current form, but House and Senate Ag. Committee leadership is incentivized to get this passed while they are in power.

Introduced House Farm Bill

The introduced bill differs in core concepts from the Discussion Draft published May 17, including the sections relating to hemp production.

Provisions relating to hemp production start on page 448.

The base House Farm Bill offers updates to the 2018 Farm Bill language, including:

  • a new definition for industrial hemp including hemp grown for fiber, grain, microgreens, research, and seeds to produce industrial hemp (similar to the language from the Industrial Hemp Act of 2023)

  • requirement for producers to designate the type of production as industrial hemp or hemp grown for any purpose (similar to the Industrial Hemp Act of 2023)

  • new regulatory framework for industrial hemp production verification in State, Tribal, or USDA Plans providing for visual inspections, performance-based sampling methodologies, certified seed, or similar procedures (similar to the Industrial Hemp Act of 2023)

    • includes a requirement that a producer shall provide documentation or undergo a harvest inspection to verify the intent of production (similar to the Industrial Hemp Act of 2023)

    • provides enforcement action of 5-year ineligibility to participate in the program for violations of an industrial hemp production designation (similar to the Industrial Hemp Act of 2023)

  • eliminates felony restrictions for those designating only industrial hemp production

  • provides the USDA Secretary with the authority to issue certificates of accreditation to laboratories

Amendment 35- "The Miller Amendment" and the New Definition for "Hemp"

The night before Markup, a slew of Amendments, including Amendment 35 were introduced for discussion and potential inclusion. During the Markup, 19 of these Amendments, including the Miller Amendment were adopted "en bloc" by a "voice vote" rather than a roll call vote on each amendment individually.

Testimony was heard during the Markup in support and in opposition to Amendment 35. Listen to the testimony below: (The following are linked to the YouTube videos of these Member's testimony from the full House Committee markup!)

Testimony in Support of the Miller Amendment:

Testimony in Opposition to the Miller Amendment:

The Miller Amendment:

  • creates a new definition for "Hemp" at 0.3% total THC (including THCA)

    • provides the following Exclusions from the new definition of "Hemp":

      • viable seeds from a plant that exceeds a 0.3% total THC concentration in the plant

      • Hemp-Derived Cannabinoid Products containing:

        • cannabinoids not capable of being produced in the plant

        • cannabinoids capable of being naturally produced in the plant AND were synthesized or manufactured outside the plant

        • As Determined by the Secretary, quantifiable amounts of

          • THC (including THCA)

          • other cannabinoids that have similar effects or are marketed to have similar effects on humans OR animals as THC (as determined by the Secretary)

  • creates a new definition for "Hemp-Derived Cannabinoid Products"

    • Any intermediate OR final form products derived from hemp, EXCLUDING Industrial Hemp, that contains cannabinoids in any form AND is intended for human OR animal use through any means of application or administration (i.e. inhalation, ingestion, or topical application)

  • updates the testing authority from the 2018 Farm Bill from delta-9 THC to total THC (including THCA) (we note for our readers, that USDA already requires total THC testing pre-harvest in the USDA Final Rules)

"(1) HEMP "(A) IN GENERAL.-The term 'hemp' means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoicls, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a total tetrahydrocannabinol concentration (including tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) of not more than 0.3 percent in the plant on a dry weight basis.

Who is behind these provisions?

Check out our Blog on the letters sent to the Agriculture Committees and Congress over the past year requesting changes to the 2018 Farm Bill hemp authority.

AgHS Concerns With the House Farm Bill As Adopted with Miller Amendment

While the Miller Amendment changes to the definition of hemp have created understandable concerns across the U.S. cannabinoid industries about the potential impact on the current market and legality of certain products, we express additional concerns about what is NOT within the black-and-white text of the bill.

What we at AgHS are addtionally concerned about are the details on what the House Farm Bill and Miller Amendment don't do!

The Bill does NOT:

  • Define total THC

  • Protect Farmers producing cannabinoids by moving to 1% total THC limit for the plant

  • Establish limits for cannabinoids in the new definition of "Hemp-Derived Cannabinoid Products"

  • Provide for conforming amendments to other Acts that utilize the term "Hemp" for the new definitions of "Hemp-Derived Cannabinoid Products" and "Industrial Hemp"

  • Remove the felony restriction for producers growing hemp for any purpose (cannabinoids)

    • As drafted, the bill further leaves questions about the impact of the amended language on producers who have felonies within the last 10 years, but grew under the 2014 Farm Bill pilot program authority as protected in the 2018 Farm Bill.

  • Provide for Work In Progress protection

  • Address Consumer safety/public health concerns regarding retail products

(No age-gate requirements, No testing requirements for products, No labeling authority, No Packaging requirements, etc.)

Will we see an amendment on the House Floor to address the many concerns and gaps the current House Farm Bill creates? That's up to YOU!


There are many procedural steps ahead for the Farm Bill to pass Congress, this gives us time, but does not mean you can sit back:

  • The full House needs to vote on the Bill

  • The Senate needs to

    • introduce a bill (unveiled by Chairwoman Stabenow as the Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act),

    • have the Senate Ag. Committee conduct markup, and

    • have the full Senate vote on the bill

  • After both full chambers vote, if the bills are not exactly the same, the bills will need to go to Conference committee to reconcile the differences.

  • Once reconciled both the House and Senate need to approve the Conference Report

If you are concerned about the language and policies proposed by the House Ag Commitee adopted Farm Bill, it's time to secure your seat at the policy table!

You can either watch others negotiate the terms for your business to operate under, or you can take action and directly impact federal policy changes to ensure your business can continue operating.

AgHS is your trusted lobbying team with a proven track record for success. We're celebrating the passage of 12 pro-hemp bills in 8.5 years!

We won't sensationalize what's happening, we'll give you the facts and the details, and represent your business with confidence.

Call us today at 202-656-7023.


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