Trump Administration Cautions Against National Hemp Expansion

The Trump administration doesn’t want to see hemp expanded nationwide in the next Farm Bill because of concerns about overproduction, an official said on February 21, 2018.  The 2014 Farm Bill allowed hemp production in states with authorized hemp research projects.  Greg Ibach, undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said, “One of the challenges we maybe have in the hemp industry is to make sure that demand and production coincide.  We need to be careful so that we don’t kill the market for hemp by overburdening the market with supply before there is demand for it.”

Ibach also said that oversight of hemp should belong to the U.S. Department of Justice, which includes the Drug Enforcement Administration, not the USDA.  The DEA appeared in court last week to argue that CBD, a molecule derived from hemp and marijuana, is an illegal drug and not authorized by the Farm Bill.  A consortium of plaintiff’s including 12 year old Alexis Bortell, a former professional football player, a veteran and another child sued the government over legal access to CBD as a medicine.

In a well-documented personal drama, Alexis (who suffers from epilepsy), and her parents have sought to keep CBD as a legal option for her and others like her.  Alexis tried over 20 other drugs before turning to CBD and her family was forced to relocate to Colorado from Texas to provide her the medicine.  Alexis has not had a seizure in over three years.  Nonetheless, the government says that cannabis has no medical applications whatsoever and is accordingly listed by the DEA as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act.  Alexis’ attorney believes that a ruling will eventually be made in her favor.

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