New “Hemp For Victory” Bill Promises to Revolutionize Hemp
This post was written by attorney Kamran Aryah with the Kight on Cannabis law firm.
In addition to running for president, Hawaii Senator Tulsi Gabbard one month ago sponsored a bill in the US Congress titled the “Hemp for Victory Act of 2019” HR 3652. If enacted, it will require several government agencies to study the potential impacts and uses of hemp within a range of industries. This broad piece of legislation builds on the legacy of 2014 Farm Act, and the 2018 Farm Bill to continue federal research into the various undiscovered uses of hemp and hemp by-products.
To be clear, the Bill does not impact the 2018 Farm Bill, or any of the federal protections which guarantee the legal status of hemp through the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) exemption. The Bill recognizes hemp as a sustainable crop that can be used in many instances as a substitute for other finite resources.
For example, it directs the Department of Defense to study hemp:
Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to Congress a report containing a list of items procured by the Department of Defense for which a hemp-based or hemp-blended product could be substituted.
The Bill has similar instructions to other government agencies, requiring reports within one (1) year from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Department of Labor, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the US Secretary of Agriculture. The VA must research potential impacts of hemp and hemp extract products on the health of veterans. The EPA must study potential for hemp to manage soil erosion, mitigate ground-water contamination, and reduction of the ecological footprint of agriculture. HUD must investigate hemp and hemp derived products such as “hempcrete” as a viable alternative for use in construction of low-income housing.
There is really no portion of American life that this Bill does not touch. It seeks to study the potential uses of hemp across all sectors of our economy. The Bill essentially serves as an informational “fishing expedition”, so that Congress can compile as much information as it can regarding potential uses of hemp. Congress will use the information submitted in the Agency Reports to issue federal grant money for furthering hemp research in promising areas.
This Bill is a big deal: if enacted, it will substantially broaden the category of products that hemp cultivators and processors can manufacture and turn into viable businesses. The CBD “craze” we’re witnessing is at least to some degree a result of the current limited range of uses of hemp and hemp by-products. For a hemp producer, creating a CBD product is currently a viable business model. Despite the various regulatory hurdles, many companies have shown proof of concept and have been very successful in this space. It is going to take targeted, and meaningful investments of time, money and resources to develop new hemp products, and to introduce those products into industries which already have well-established standard raw and finished materials. Let’s take for instance the construction industry, and consider the fact that hemp fibers can be used to produce high-quality insulation for home building. To create a commercial insulation product from hemp, it must either perform the same, or better than traditional insulation and at relatively the same cost. The research and development that goes into creating such a product could have a multi-million dollar price-tag; this is beyond what the average to mid-size hemp company is capable of doing. It’s refreshing to see that Congress may subsidize some of this R&D work by funneling grant money to federal agencies, which can allocate these funds toward promising projects.
CBD certainly has action potential on the human body, the extent of which will continue to come to light as medical and pharmacological research continues. I imagine that the demand for CBD products will only continue to grow. However, hemp has myriad other uses which hemp cultivators are hesitant to invest in due to the high cost involved, and the uncertainty around the viability of consumer demand for novel products. Consumer demand for CBD has proven to be nearly insatiable, so that’s where many entrepreneurs are focusing their energy.
I anticipate the proliferation of uses for hemp and hemp by-products in the coming years, and foresee an exponential expansion of the range of hemp products available across many industries. We at Kight Law stand fully behind this Bill that seeks to provide Congress, and the American public with the detailed information necessary to make the hemp revolution a reality of the 21st century. If you agree, we encourage you to contact your Congressional representatives and ask them to support the “Hemp for Victory” bill.
August 9, 2019
This post was written by Kight on Cannabis attorney Kamran Aryah. Kight on Cannabis is a law firm founded by attorney Rod Kight that represents legal cannabis businesses. You can contact us by clicking here.