Key industry stakeholders met at the NoCo9 Cannabis Expo in March to finalize a policy document that has now been signed by 31 nonprofits.

As consideration of the 2023 Farm Bill looms, U.S. hemp leaders have come together to create an action plan. This unprecedented coalition between 31 nonprofit cannabis organizations bodes well for Congress setting the industry’s agenda.

This winter, for the first time, three major cannabis organizations in the U.S. — the Hemp Industry Association (HIA), the National Hemp Council (NIHC) and the U.S. Hemp Roundtable (USHR) — collaborated for the first time on a set of priority policies for enactment in 2023 in the farm bill. The three groups then asked industry leader Morris Beagle to bring together more than 75 key cannabis stakeholders at the leading cannabis gathering in the country that he hosts, NoCo Cannabis Expo. After intense discussions, followed by subgroup elaboration of the deliberations, a priority policy document was finalized. Since then, 31 state, territorial and national nonprofits have signed on.

The accompanying document lays out nine key policy priorities for Congressional consideration. These include requiring the FDA to regulate hemp extracts like CBD; reducing the regulatory burden on hemp growers; repealing the hemp felony ban in the 2018 Farm Bill; and addressing hemp’s THC restrictions. The document is being shared with key members of Congress and will serve as the basis for drafting legislative language to be included in the Farm Bill.

NIHC President and CEO Patrick Atagi commended the work of the hemp industry broadly united in support of hemp priorities and hemp-specific Farm Bill priorities. “‘Working together’ was the real word that my mentor, former USDA Deputy Secretary William ‘Bill’ Hawks, taught me,” Atagi said. “I’m excited to see the cannabis industry come together; it’s a sign of great things to come.”

“This is a historic moment for cannabis,” said Jonathan Miller, USHR’s general counsel. “The five years since legalization have been challenging, and the 2023 Farm Bill is our next and best opportunity to move the industry forward. The unity within the industry is extraordinary and powerful: our collective voice will Resonate with Congress and help us turn this opportunity into meaningful advancement for cannabis growers and consumers of our products.”

Co-Founder and President Morris Beegle said we seek better alternativesor WAFBA:”The past five years have taught us a lot, and most importantly, as stakeholders, we need to align our interests and our voices in the 2023 Farm Bill so that we correct the regulatory deficiencies that plague this nascent growth and development industry . I am optimistic and encouraged that so many organizations are coming together at this time to work together to improve the future of the cannabis industry. “

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