Courtney Moran Lobbies for Hemp on Capitol Hill
Lobbying for the Industrial Hemp Act of 2023 in Washington, DC.
The Industrial Hemp Act of 2023, also known as the Hemp Exemption, would create a new legal definition of hemp grown for fiber and grain, separating those sectors from hemp grown for flower or cannabinoids.
Advocates argue that the existing hemp regulations put unnecessary burdens on farmers because of permitting fees, intrusive background checks, and expensive chemical testing for THC content.
Moran, along with members of the National Hemp Association, held an open house in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill last week, and invited lawmakers and their offices to see firsthand the various uses of industrial hemp.
On display were an array of products made from hemp fiber, hurd and grain.
“We had hemp flooring, hemp cabinetry, animal bedding. We had biochar, we had jet fuel,” she said.
“We had the parts of the stalk broken out into different pieces so they can visually see the distinction between hurd and fiber and the different parts of the stalk.”
Moran said these types of show-and-tell events are very effective in getting lawmakers to understand what farmers and entrepreneurs are up against when it comes to hemp.
“It's one thing to have a phone call, send emails back and forth, have legislative text on a page talking about policy,” she said, “But when they can see the images of the farms, and they can touch the products that are being made from those crops, it makes it more real for them.”
Moran worked with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office on the hemp language that eventually made its way into the 2018 Farm Bill, and she said she still sees a lot of the same gaps in what lawmakers know about hemp.
“Something that I experienced back in 2016 that we're still dealing with today in 2023 is that some offices still don't know this was even an issue,” she said.
Many lawmakers don’t know “there's still barriers to getting these products to market or there are still problems or issues for the farmers,” she said.
Moran also discusses the likelihood of seeing a Farm Bill this year and what it could mean for the hemp industry if the DEA follows a recent recommendation from the Department of Health and Human Services to reschedule marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act.