CANNRA Calls for Additional Clarity in Farm Bill

Cannabis Regulators Association.

CANNRA released a letter last week calling on Congress to clarify states’ existing regulatory authority over activity involving hemp and hemp products (including, but not limited to, the production, manufacture, and sale of hemp and hemp products), particularly those containing cannabinoids.

Cannabinoid hemp products have become widely available across the country since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, according to CANNRA. These products are consumed in a variety of forms, including edibles, beverages, vapes, joints and tinctures, and have different regulatory considerations than industrial hemp products like feed, fiber, and grain – particularly when it comes to protecting consumer safety.

The Ongoing Threat of Litigation

Faced with this influx of cannabinoid hemp products, states have been engaged in efforts to regulate cannabinoid hemp products to promote consumer safety and public health, CANNRA states. These efforts are consistent with existing federal law: the 2018 Farm Bill does not purport to preempt state regulation over any activity other than “the transportation or shipment of hemp or hemp products . . . through [a] State.”

Nevertheless, states are facing litigation alleging that state efforts to regulate activity involving hemp and hemp products—including their production, manufacture, and sale—are somehow preempted by federal law, according to CANNRA. However, these arguments are not supported by existing law. But the ongoing threat of litigation risks delaying or chilling state responses to a fluid and emerging regulatory and public health issue.

Federal clarification of states’ existing authority is essential to allow states to continue to protect public health and integrity in the hemp industry—as the 2018 Farm Bill always intended. Which is why CANNRA is encouraging Congress to add a provision in the reauthorization or a Continuing Resolution of the Farm Bill to clarify existing state authority.