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  • 24 Mar 2021 7:00 PM | Ryann Hinch (Administrator)

    Over Two-Dozen Hemp Organizations Address Hemp-Specific Terminology, Standards, Guides, and Test Methods in Letter to ASTM’s D37 Cannabis Committee

    March 24, 2021

    Dear Dr. Paroli:

    Hemp organizations around the world appreciate the interest of ASTM’s D37 Cannabis Committee in industrial hemp (hemp) and the development of associated terminology, standards, guides, and test methods. In general, the development of standards for hemp can be an important tool to assist trade, meet customer needs and marketplace demand.

    Hemp, as a non-intoxicating, non-addictive, and non-habituating agricultural product, has a unique and distinct 4,000-year history with a focus on food, feed, fibre, and fractions production. Recent modern advances in technology have allowed for uses such as: insulation, absorbents, biocomposites, paints and sealants; and, health and wellness (low-THC extracts). Regulations uniquely guide the hemp industry in most national, subnational, and supernational jurisdictions. These hemp regulations are typically less restrictive than regulations developed for the high-THC cannabis sector.

    Taxonomically, hemp is the same plant as high-THC cannabis, but over thousands of years of plant breeding and industrial use, unique hemp characteristics have defined our industry and have become critical to the growth of the global hemp industry. The unique and common primary difference within most regulations is the distinctly low concentration of THC in hemp’s flowering heads (fruiting tops) and leaves. Hemp produced solely under cannabis regulations would be subject to more complexity and cost - encumbering the competitiveness of this agricultural crop. We note that hemp has never been associated with the historical mystic/spirituality or modern recreational movements due to its lack of ability to intoxicate. To recognize this, the following definition was submitted for ASTM’s D37.91 terminology subcommittee:

    Hemp, n – a Cannabis sativa L. plant, or any part of that plant, in which the concentration of total delta-9 THC in the flowering tops is equal to or less than the regulated maximum level as established by authorities having jurisdiction. The term Hemp is synonymous with Industrial Hemp.

    For hemp standards to support global commerce, differentiation within legal frameworks, banking/investment, insurance, consumer use, and regulatory considerations, it is key to reflect the global hemp industry’s requirement for unique hemp-specific terminology, standards, guides, and in some cases test methods.

    The undersigned representatives of the global hemp industry, request ASTM’s D37 cannabis committee and its subcommittees to clearly respect differences between hemp and high-THC cannabis (marijuana), and facilitate the development of hemp-specific terminology, standards, guides, and where appropriate, hemp- specific test methods.

    Thank you for consideration of this important matter.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Tim Schmidt, President, Australian Hemp Council (Australia)

    Charles Kovess, Secretary, Australian Industrial Hemp Alliance (Australia)

    Robert Bell, Founder, Australian Industrial Hemp Conference

    Rebekah Shaman, Managing Director, British Hemp Alliance (UK)

    Keith Jones, Board Chair, Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (Canada)

    Xueqiang Liu, General Secretary, China Hemp Alliance (P.R. China)

    Daniel Kruse, President, European Industrial Hemp Association (Europe)

    Hunter Buffington, Executive Director, Hemp Feed Coalition (USA)

    Rick Trojan, President, The Hemp Industries Association (USA)

    Dr. Harumi Kikuchi, Representative Director, Hokkaido Industrial Hemp Association (Japan)

    Rohit Sharma, President, Indian Industrial Hemp Alliance (India)

    Lorenzo Rolim da Silva, President, Latin American Industrial Hemp Association (Latin America)

    Anar Artur, Founder & Director, Mongolian Hemp Association

    Joseph V. Spencer II, President, National Albanian Hemp Industry Association (Albania)

    Aleksander Laçaj, Executive Director, National Albanian Hemp Industry Association (Albania)

    Geoff Whaling, Board Chair, National Hemp Association (USA)

    Richard Barge, Chair, New Zealand Hemp Industries Association Inc. (New Zealand)

    Joon Lee, Managing Director, Seoulution Corp. (South Korea)

    Jacob Waddell, President, US Hemp Building Association (USA)

    Corey Peebles – President, Alberta Hemp Alliance (Canada)

    James Vosper, President, New South Wales Industrial Hemp Association (Australia)

    Wayne Richman, President, California Hemp Association (USA)

    Samatha Walsh, Vice President, Colorado Hemp Industries Association (USA)

    Jeff Greene, Founder and Director of Business Development, The Florida Hemp Council (USA)

    Joseph W. Hickey, Founder and Executive Director, Kentucky Hemp Association (USA)

    Jamie Campbell Petty, Executive Director, Midwest Hemp Council (USA)

    Andrew Bish, President, Nebraska Hemp Industries Association (USA)

    Courtney N. Moran, President, Oregon Industrial Hemp Farmers Association (USA)

    Joe Kirkpatrick, President, Tennessee Growers Coalition (USA)

    Tillery Timmons, Sims, Executive Director, Texas Hemp Growers’ Association (USA)

  • 08 Feb 2021 8:00 AM | Ryann Hinch (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE             CONTACT:                             Larry Farnsworth

    February 8, 2020                                                                        (703) 489-9633

    Hemp Industries Association And National Industrial Hemp Council Release Industry Results on Checkoff Survey

    WASHINGTON – The National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) and The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) together announced results of a month’s long survey on industry attitudes towards a hemp checkoff program.

    The results of the overall survey show that nearly 8 out of every ten farmers and processors support the checkoff program for research, promotion and consumer education. Over six of ten farmers and processors support being assessed to fund a program.

    “This is exciting news for our industry and exciting that there is such wide consensus in our industry to support such a program,” said Patrick Atagi, Board Chairman of the National Industrial Hemp Council. “We believe that a checkoff program will help hemp not only develop markets for hemp products, but also fund much needed research and educate consumers on the usefulness and versatility of hemp.”

    “It’s clear from the survey response that there is a broad level of excitement around the idea of a national hemp checkoff program, and significant interest in the potential return the hemp industry could see from an effective research and marketing program under USDA,” said HIA President Rick Trojan. “We in the industry recognize the incredible potential of this agricultural commodity, and there was a strong consensus around the importance of educating the market about the value of hemp across the supply chain for food/grain, fiber, and cannabinoids. It’s encouraging to see the positive feedback this dialogu e with the industry has generated so far and we look forward to continuing to partner with the NIHC and other forward-looking allies to explore the tremendous opportunity a national checkoff represents for hemp.”

    USDA checkoff programs seek to promote farm commodities and expand market opportunity for farmers, importers, and industry stakeholders. Funded through assessments on the produced commodity at the first point of sale; checkoff programs allow producers of commodities to pool resources for research, education, and promotion efforts that can expand sales and improve production efficiencies. 

    Currently, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) oversees 23 checkoff programs for various commodities ranging from cotton to pork to Christmas trees.  A study in 2018 by Texas A&M found that the existing 23 checkoffs had a return on investment for farmers and ranchers ranging from three to seventeen dollars in value that came back to the producers for every checkoff dollar invested.

    The NIHC and HIA are now working to form a Task Force of representatives from across the industry that would discuss the details of how a hemp checkoff would be structured and operate.  The effort of the working group would guide the development of a proposal to submit to the USDA that will include an industry analysis; justification for the program; program objectives; and the impact on small businesses.

    The survey received 270 responses and was conducted online via Survey Monkey from November 30, 2020 until December 31, 2020.

    NIHC and HIA representatives are holding a media availability to discuss results of the survey and next steps on Wednesday, February 10th at 11 a.m. EST. To RSVP for the zoom link, members of the media can contact Larry Farnsworth with NIHC at

    About the Hemp Industries Association®: Founded in Scottsdale, Arizona in 1994 by a group of hemp business owners and activists, The Hemp Industries Association®(HIA®) is a membership-based non-profit trade association. Its mission is to advance the hemp economy and educate the market for the benefit of our members, the public, and the planet. For more information please go to

    About the National Industrial Hemp Council: The National Industrial Hemp Council provides high-quality networking and resources for its members, from farm to consumer. Its leadership is composed of leading international, federal, state, private industry, and government professionals throughout the sector. The organization is dedicated to furthering market development, assisting members in entering the industry, and educating consumers on industrial hemp and its applications. For more information please go to

    # # #

  • 05 Feb 2021 6:00 AM | Ryann Hinch (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Katelyn Wiard

    February 4, 2021

    (502) 319-2358

    Today, the nation’s leading hemp and dietary supplement industry trade groups, joined by major retail and farm organizations including the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, unite to express strong support for the introduction of the Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2021, sponsored by Representatives Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Morgan Griffith (R-VA), with the support of 17 additional original cosponsors.*

    Introduced in the last Congress as H.R. 8179, this legislation would ensure a clear legal pathway to market for hemp-derived cannabidiol (“CBD”) and other ingredients derived from hemp. The bill also directs the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to use its authority and resources to set forward a clear and robust federal regulatory framework for these products, thereby promoting consumer safety while providing an economic boost to struggling farmers and their employees. Last year, the bill attracted 30 co-sponsors, 18 Democrats and 12 Republicans, demonstrating the bipartisan strength and depth of support in Congress.

    “Reps. Schrader and Griffith have shown true leadership on this issue, and we anticipate support continuing to build as it progresses through Congress,” said Jonathan Miller, General Counsel for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, and spokesperson for this coalition. “The organizations working collectively to establish a trusted marketplace for ingestible hemp-derived ingredients applaud the bipartisan approach on this legislation.”

    In passing the 2018 Farm Bill, Congress made clear its intent to support the production and sale of hemp and hemp derivatives such as CBD. Thousands of American farmers planted hemp in response, with CBD and extract varieties of hemp representing the overwhelming majority of all hemp acreage sown thus far in the U.S.

    Unfortunately, regulatory uncertainty remains about the inclusion of hemp and hemp-derived CBD into ingestible products. CBD commerce and investment have resultingly been chilled, impairing job creation and economic opportunity for farmers and small businesses. Meanwhile, as a July 2020 FDA report to Congress revealed, without a clear regulatory framework, many products are being marketed without appropriate safeguards, and are misleading consumers with false label claims.

    Passing this legislation would ensure that hemp-derived CBD and other non-intoxicating hemp ingredients could be lawfully marketed as dietary supplements. It would also require responsible product manufacturers to comply with the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (“DSHEA”), the existing comprehensive framework that regulates dietary supplements. This would assure consumers that the products they purchase are safe, properly labeled and manufactured in compliance with good manufacturing practices (GMPs) for dietary supplements.

    The coalition supporting this bill includes the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), Alliance for Natural Health, Citizens for United Health, Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), Hemp Alliance of Tennessee, Hemp Industries Association (HIA), Midwest Hemp Council, National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), National Grocers Association, Texas Hemp Coalition, United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA), U.S. Hemp Authority, U.S. Hemp Building Association, Wisconsin Hemp Alliance, and We Are For Better Alternatives (WAFBA).

    *In addition to Reps. Schader and Griffith, original co-sponsors include: Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), James Comer (R-KY), Angie Craig (DMN), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Glenn Grothman (R-WI), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), David Joyce (R-OH), Ron Kind (D-WI), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Tim Ryan (D-OH), and David Trone (D-MD).

  • 11 Nov 2020 1:48 PM | Ryann Hinch (Administrator)

    News Release


    November 11, 2020                                                          Contact: Jody McGinness

    Executive Director

    The HIA Dedicates Seats for Fiber, Grain & Seed, and Cannabinoids on its Board of Directors

    Changes to formalize organization’s commitment to advancing the whole hemp economy, provide opportunities for industry leadership.

    VANCOUVER, Washington­ – The Hemp Industries Association announces the allocation of three permanent seats on its Board of Directors for leaders from the fiber, grain and seed, and cannabinoids industries. With the establishment of these permanent seats, the HIA Board also voted to form three standing subcommittees —called the Hemp Cannabinoid Council, the Hemp Grain and Seed Council, and the Hemp Fiber Council— to be chaired by the new appointees.

    “We are excited to offer this organizational structure to serve the needs of the varying hemp markets,” said Annie Rouse, current Secretary and HIA Board Member Annie Rouse. “This new structure will allow the sectors to organize, communicate and grow in an effective manner that supports the needs of each market."

    The Board of Directors is considering potential candidates from the grain/seed, fiber, and cannabinoid sectors for appointment. The three Councils that will be led by the new appointees will recruit thought leaders and stakeholders from each sector to identify and address key needs and national priorities for their fields and work to align the strategic direction of the association to address them. 

    “The Hemp Industries Association name was chosen in acknowledgement of the diverse uses of the plant and the distinct needs and priorities of the hemp fiber, grain, and cannabinoid sectors,” said Executive Director Jody McGinness. “Now the HIA has built its commitment to serving the whole hemp economy into the actual structure of the organization.”

    The Hemp Industries Association Board of Directors now numbers twelve seats, and meets virtually once per month to direct the organization strategically and guide the HIA to address pressing needs of the U.S. hemp industries.  


    Founded more than 25 years ago by a group of hemp business owners and activists, The Hemp Industries Association is a membership-based nonprofit trade association that serves all facets of the U.S. hemp economy. Its mission statement reads: “To advance the hemp economy and educate the market for the benefit of our members, the public, and the planet.” For more information please go to

  • 05 Oct 2020 1:27 PM | Jody McGinness (Administrator)

    News Release


    October 5, 2020                                                                                       Contact: Jody McGinness

    Executive Director

    The Hemp Industries Association Board of Directors Gains Two New Members

    New additions to fortify HIA’s strategic focus on education and whole-plant advocacy efforts to establish industrial hemp as a robust and sustainable agricultural commodity.

    VANCOUVER, Washington­ – The Hemp Industries Association announces the appointment of two new members to its Board of Directors: Julie Lerner, Founder & CEO of PanXchange, Inc., a web-based negotiation and trading platform for physical commodities; and Rob Davidson, CEO of CURE Pharmaceuticals, a vertically-integrated drug delivery and development company.

    “We are excited to welcome Julie and Rob to the leadership of the HIA,” said Jody McGinness, Executive Director for the Hemp Industries Association, “Their breadth of knowledge, professional expertise, and passion for the plant will elevate our effectiveness as an organization and strengthen our capacity to address the unique challenges that stand between what the U.S. hemp industry is today, and what it can and should be.”

    The HIA Board of Directors voted to appoint the two new members to fill vacant seats with terms ending in 2022, marking another significant step in a process of organizational transformation begun earlier this year.

    Julie Lerner is the Founder and CEO of PanXchange, Inc., a web-based negotiation and trading platform for physical commodities. With deep experience in regional and international agricultural and energy markets, she brings a systems design focus and an innovation mindset to her role on the HIA board, and is enthusiastic about the potential to serve the hemp industry by helping to expedite market growth and maturation. “It's an honor to join the HIA board,” said the Boston University alum from the PanXchange offices in Denver, “I'm looking forward to using my commodity market experience to work with this board and members across the country to help bring efficiencies and liquidity to this diverse and rapidly growing industry.” Lerner began her career at the Swiss headquarters of global food trading giant Cargill International, and later moved on to be Cargill’s Senior Latin American sugar trader. She has also worked in electricity markets for Sempra Energy Trading and in agricultural weather derivatives with XL Financial. Geographically, her area of expertise covers the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and East Africa. As Managing Director of Golden Seeds, an angel group focused on early-stage investments in women-owned ventures, Lerner provided entrepreneurs with strategic business advice and access to funding.

    Robert Davidson is CEO of CURE Pharmaceutical, an innovative drug delivery company based in Oxnard, California, that is developing novel ways to deliver active ingredients, including full spectrum hemp extract. Recognizing that hemp can offer a sustainable solution to consumers and farmers, Davidson is focused on ensuring industry development considers three autonomous constituents: social development, economic development, and environmental safety. He is eager to help establish a clear path toward regulatory process and fair access to CBD from hemp-based agriculture as a right of the consumer. “It is an honor to join the board of the HIA, the oldest organization supporting all aspects of hemp,” said Davidson, who holds several degrees including a Master’s in Sustainable Leadership from the University of Cambridge, “I look forward to helping drive the mission of the organization and the opportunity to make sure hemp is influential in a creating a more sustainable world.”Rob previously served as President and CEO of InnoZen Inc., CEO of Gel Tech, LLC, CEO of Bio Delivery Technologies. Inc., and has served on multiple corporate boards. He has been responsible for the development of several drug delivery technologies and commercial brand extensions, and worked with brands such as Chloraseptic™, Suppress™, as well as Pediastrip™, a private label electrolyte oral thin film sold in major drug store chains.

    The Hemp Industries Association Board of Directors now numbers nine members, and meets virtually once per month to direct the organization strategically and guide the HIA to address pressing needs of the U.S. Hemp Industry. The HIA recently joined with a major CBD retailer to file suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals in DC to challenge the Drug Enforcement Administration’s recent Interim Final Rule on the 2018 Farm Bill.


    Founded in more than 25 years ago by a group of hemp business owners and activists, The Hemp Industries Association is a membership-based nonprofit trade association that serves all facets of the U.S. hemp economy. Its mission statement reads: “To advance the hemp economy and educate the market for the benefit of our members, the public, and the planet.” For more information please go to

  • 21 Sep 2020 8:24 AM | Ryann Hinch (Administrator)

    Press Release PDF

    Monday, September 21, 2020

    Contact: Mason Tvert 720-213-9048,

    Hemp Industry Members File Lawsuit Against DEA, Challenging Rule That Could Have Far-reaching Consequences

    Petition asks federal appeals court to review a rule the DEA issued last month, arguing the agency exceeded its authority and violated the 2018 farm bill

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A national hemp trade association and a South Carolina-based hemp company have filed a federal lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Administration, challenging a rule the agency implemented last month that could have far-reaching consequences for the U.S. hemp industry.

    The petition filed Friday afternoon in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit asks the court to review an interim final rule, “Implementation of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018,” which was promulgated by the DEA on August 21. The lawsuit claims the rule is unlawful because it exceeds the DEA's legal authority and violates the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the farm bill. The petitioners also argue that acting DEA administrator Timothy Shea, who is individually named as a respondent along with the agency, issued the interim final rule without observing procedures required by law.

    The DEA’s interim final rule clarifies that all hemp derivatives or extracts exceeding 0.3% THC shall remain Schedule I controlled substances. This could be interpreted to include intermediate hemp derivatives that temporarily exceed 0.3% during processing, but contain less than 0.3% in final products. As such, it improperly establishes the DEA’s authority over legal hemp activities, which is contrary to the plain language and intent of the 2018 farm bill, according to the petitioners.

    The petitioners in the lawsuit are RE Botanicals, Inc. and the Hemp Industries Association. RE Botanicals, Inc. is a hemp manufacturer and retailer based in South Carolina. In 2019, it acquired Palmetto Synergistic Research LLC (dba Palmetto Harmony), which was founded to provide lawful, reliable, and high-quality hemp products.

    “We are a small, woman-operated company,” said Janel Ralph, CEO of RE Botanicals. “The DEA's new rule could put us out of business overnight."

    HIA is a trade association that represents approximately 1,050-member hemp businesses, including approximately 300 hemp processors and individuals involved in, or impacted by, the manufacture, distribution and/or sale of hemp extract and other products lawfully derived from industrial hemp. HIA successfully challenged DEA rulemaking in 2003, when the agency amended federal regulations to include naturally occurring THC within the definition of “synthetic THC," thereby treating it as a Schedule I substance despite it falling outside the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act.

    "When Congress passed the 2018 farm bill, it explicitly carved hemp and its derivatives out of the Controlled Substances Act so that hemp can be regulated as an agricultural commodity," said HIA President Rick Trojan. "The DEA’s interim final rule could create substantial barriers to the legal manufacturing of hemp-derived products, a critical component of the hemp supply chain, and devastate the entire hemp industry. Although the DEA states that is not its intention, the rule must be amended to ensure hemp remains an agricultural crop, as Congress intended."

    The petitioners are represented by leading hemp industry attorneys at Vicente Sederberg LLP, Kight Law Office PC, and Hoban Law Group, along with appellate attorneys from Yetter Coleman LLP, which has received national attention for its work against the DEA in the realm of cannabis research.

    "The DEA implemented this rule without following proper rule-making procedures, such as providing the public with notice and the opportunity to comment," said Shawn Hauser, a partner at Vicente Sederberg LLP and chair of the firm's hemp and cannabinoids practice. "The petitioners believe legal action is necessary to protect the lawful U.S. hemp industry that Congress intended to establish when it enacted the 2018 farm bill.”

  • 18 Sep 2020 8:00 PM | Ryann Hinch (Administrator)

    HIA Submits Public Comment on DEA IFR for the 2018 Farm Bill

    Public Comment PDF

    September 18, 2020

    To Whom it May Concern:

    The Hemp Industries Association appreciates the opportunity to provide a public comment in response to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) publication of its Interim Final Rule (IFR) on the Implementation of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (RIN 1117-AB53/Docket No. DEA-500), and to have that response become part of the public record.

    Founded nearly 30 years ago, the HIA is the oldest and largest trade association serving the U.S. hemp industries. It has more than 1,000 business, farming, and individual members, and represents the interests of tens of thousands of American hemp companies and millions of consumers of hemp products throughout the USA. The HIA has challenged the DEA in Federal court on three separate occasions in response to that agency’s attempts to interfere with the free and fair exchange of industrial hemp. In this way, the HIA helped to establish key protections for hemp, a uniquely valuable agricultural commodity. These lawsuits also laid the groundwork for the 2018 Farm Bill, which definitively ended the ill-founded federal prohibition of hemp production and restored a valuable agricultural commodity to the U.S. economy. Hemp is a plant that is deeply entwined with the history of the nation. It has the potential to bolster and transform numerous critical industries, including food & beverage, textiles, health & wellness, animal feed, building materials, pulp & paper, and more.

    The judicial ruling in DEA v. HIA in 2004, which halted the DEA’s attempt to unlawfully schedule hemp and hemp derived products within the Controlled Substances Act, as well as the subsequent 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills, in which the U.S. Congress ratified and codified the legality of domestic hemp production and officially differentiated hemp from marijuana, form the basis and justification for the comments below.

    The HIA stands ready to challenge this latest instance of overreach by the Drug Enforcement Agency, and along with our new partner organizations, overcome this latest effort to infringe on the rights of hemp businesses and consumers.

    ISSUE 1 - The Interim Final Rule improperly attempts to apply the Controlled Substances Act to hemp, a legal agricultural commodity.

    Hemp and hemp-derived products are lawful in the United States. They are not subject to regulation by the DEA per the ruling of the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in 2004 (, and according to the Agricultural Act of 2014, as well as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (“the 2018 Farm Bill”). These judicial and legislative actions formally removed hemp and its derivatives, extracts, and other products from the purview of the DEA, which is empowered to regulate only substances listed on the Controlled Substances Registry. Hemp and hemp products have not been added to the federal Controlled Substances Act (the “CSA”) and therefore are not subject to the rulemaking authority of the DEA.

    When the U.S. Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, it deliberately defined hemp as “any part of that [Cannabis sativa L.] plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

    The DEA is not a legislative body, and has no power to rewrite laws established by Congress and duly signed by the President of the United States. Furthermore, the process for adding a substance to the CSA is unambiguous, and the Ninth Circuit has already rejected the DEA’s attempt to circumvent the statutory scheduling process in its 2004 ruling, saying that “The DEA's action is not a mere clarification of its THC regulations;  it improperly renders naturally-occurring non-psychoactive hemp illegal for the first time.”

    ISSUE 2 - The Interim Final Rule improperly purports to criminalize hemp extracts in direct contravention of the 2018 Farm Bill, threatening lawful American businesses.

    Since the ruling in 2004, and formalized with the passage of the 2014 and 2018 farm bills, it has been clear that the Controlled Substance Act cannot be applied to, and has no bearing on, hemp or products derived from hemp. Hemp and hemp products are and have been lawful agricultural goods, and any attempt by the DEA to extend its rulemaking authority to regulate them is an illegal overreach that infringes on the authority of the legislative branch. In asserting that “All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols remain schedule 1 controlled substances,” the DEA is overlooking the plain meaning of the law, which Congress crafted deliberately to define “all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids… whether growing or not” (with a delta-9 THC concentration under 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis). Synthesis, after all, refers to any process not found in nature, a meaning so broad as to cover nearly every modern technique used by businesses to separate and extract desired hemp elements (cannabinoids, terpenes, etc.) Thus, the DEA’s use of the undefined term “synthetically derived” purports to bring within the purview of the CSA hemp compounds that were specifically removed from the CSA by Congress.

    In conclusion, this infringement by the DEA on the prerogatives of the democratically elected representatives in Congress and the rights of hemp businesses and consumers is an inappropriate attempt to assert control where it is neither necessary nor permissible. If left unchecked, this action will have a chilling effect on critical research and investment, discourage enterprise and entrepreneurship, and deprive American consumers of access to valuable and otherwise lawful hemp products. The repressive economic impacts of the DEA’s interference in this young but growing sector of the American economy are made even more acute by being undertaken in the midst of an unprecedented economic recession, and the personal impact on the lives of Americans is made more painful as consumers struggle to contend with an overpriced and inadequate healthcare system. Cannabidiol, or CBD, one of a growing list of extracts of the hemp plant, is already being adopted as an effective treatment for conditions including epilepsy and chronic pain, and is currently being researched as a potential therapy for —to name just a few— victims of degenerative brain diseases, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) sufferers, and people struggling with opioid addiction.

    The DEA’s Interim Final Rule, issued two years after enactment of the law it purports to interpret, attempts to schedule an agricultural product the consumption of which has never resulted in a single recorded death by overdose. By comparison, in 2018 (the most recent year for which national data is available) America was losing 128 people per day to opioid overdoses¹. If that trend has held steady, more than 75,000 of our friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors have overdosed by opioids since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. We respectfully suggest that the DEA could more effectively serve the American public if it would cease engaging in efforts to regulate hemp products and instead refocus its limited resources of time and tax dollars on the ongoing and severe issues that do reside clearly within its scope of responsibility.

    1. CDC/NCHS, National Vital Statistics System, Mortality. CDC WONDER, Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2018.

  • 24 Aug 2020 8:47 AM | Jody McGinness (Administrator)

    WASHINGTON, July 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) and The Hemp Industries Association® (HIA®) announced today they've entered into an agreement to work together to explore the creation of a marketing checkoff program to promote hemp.  

    USDA checkoff programs seek to promote farm commodities and expand market opportunity for farmers, importers, and industry stakeholders. Funded through assessments on the produced commodity at the first point of sale; checkoff programs allow producers of commodities to pool resources for research, education, and promotion efforts that can expand sales and improve production efficiencies.   

    Currently, USDA Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) oversees 23 checkoff programs for various commodities ranging from cotton to pork to Christmas trees.  A study in 2018 by Texas A&M found that the existing 23 checkoffs had a return on investment for farmers and ranchers ranging from three to seventeen dollars in value that came back to the producers for every checkoff dollar invested.  

    "Today is another step forward in the right direction for hemp farmers and consumers of hemp-related products," said Patrick Atagi, Board Chairman of the National Industrial Hemp Council. "A checkoff program further legitimizes a rapidly growing industry and will help hemp farmers compete on a level playing field with producers of other agricultural-related commodities." 

    "The HIA continues to focus on building the hemp economy and bringing industries together, beginning with hemp farming," said Rick Trojan, President of The Hemp Industries Association. "This first-of-its-kind agreement with NIHC creates a focus on gathering data and distributing education as hemp cultivation expands nationally.  It's through these types of collaborations that we learn together and establish a solid foundation for hemp today, and over the next decade." 

    The production of hemp was made legal by the 2018 Farm Bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump. The passage of that landmark legislation legalizing hemp and the commodity later being removed from the list of controlled substances has seen industry revenues continue to grow.  

    In 2020, the USDA estimates that hemp producers will increase sales by $25.5 million. The Department expects sales to increase to $64.5 million in 2021 and to top $100 million in the year 2022.  

    The NIHC and HIA expect to form a working group with representatives from across the industry that would discuss the details of how a hemp checkoff would be structured and operate.  The effort of the working group would guide the development of a proposal to submit to the USDA that will include an industry analysis; justification for the program; program objectives; and the impact on small businesses. 

  • 23 Jul 2020 12:52 PM | Anonymous

    To: Colorado Department of Agriculture
    Commissioner, Ms. Kate Greenberg. of Procurement, Mr. Daniel Huse

    Dear Colorado Department of Agriculture,

    I am contacting you in my capacity as President of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), the nation’s oldest and largest hemp centric trade association, serving greater than 1400 members nationally, and a resident of Colorado, which leads the nation in hemp research and cultivation with over 99% of our planted acreage harvested (51,851 acres in 2019).

    As the foremost organization representing the interest of all sectors of the United States hemp economy, the HIA is dismayed that the Colorado Department of Agriculture would award a Hemp Center of Excellence contract to a group, the MPG Consulting, a consultancy firm for the marijuana industry. While MPG Consulting may be composed of skilled and accomplished professionals their expertise and experience has been narrowly focused on advising businesses on strategies to maximize profits within the marijuana industry. During the CHAMP stakeholder process, their lack of knowledge was evident as many discussion topics bordered on overly redundant regarding supply chain or regulatory issues that have been resolved years ago.

    While the U.S.hemp and marijuana industries share some overlap, they each serve significantly different markets and operate within divergent regulatory environments, requiring leadership with expertise distinct to their respective needs. Whoever runs Colorado's Hemp Center of Excellence must have a proven track record of the responsible regulation of hemp, a thorough understanding of the unique opportunities and issues distinct to hemp - from genetic research to testing to the wide variety of products and markets - and possess strong ties to the hemp community, public, private, not-for-profits and federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food & Drug Administration.

    Hemp is an agricultural crop providing real economic benefit to our farmers, and the state. Since the cultivation of this crop is managed by our Department of Agriculture and has different stakeholders, hemp must not be confused with marijuana. Marijuana is a Department of Revenue, Marijuana Enforcement Division, regulated product and subject to DEA. Agriculture commodities such as hemp, industrial products made from hemp, and the enormous variety of down-line products derived from hemp, involve different leaders, different agencies on state and federal levels and profoundly different markets, and are 100% legal federally. The US hemp industry encompasses products including food, fiber, construction materials, bioeconomy, sustainable agriculture and much more - none of which are true of marijuana. Hemp farmers do not want association with marijuana.

    Colorado, under the guidance of Governor Polis and Commissioner Kate Greenberg, should continue to show leadership in hemp cultivation, harvesting, processing, research and revenue. However, further conflating and confusing hemp and marijuana by awarding the Hemp Center of Excellence to a marijuana consultancy firm like MPG Consulting is a step in the wrong direction. We believe this confusion will limit long-term effectiveness of the Hemp Center for Excellence in serving the distinct needs of the hemp industry and agricultural sector. In fact, we worry that having a marijuana group provide a Center of Excellence proposal to USDA will jeopardize the approval as USDA is very hostile to marijuana.

    The HIA would like to support the hemp center of excellence, as part of our mission to advance the hemp economy and educate the market. We are an organization flush with the right resources needed to make a Center of Excellence for hemp a success. However, we see an inherent conflict and disconnect with awarding this contract to a group fundamentally connected to the marijuana industry, with no experience in the agriculture of hemp or experience in creation of hemp derived products.

    HIA extends an offer to suggest candidates who are proven leaders experienced in the hemp space and with expertise relevant to all aspects of the hemp industry to contribute to the success of the Hemp Center for Excellence. In fact, our members would value the opportunity to collaborate with you on any number of levels. Alternatively or in addition to any of these offers, while we understand the challenges, we recommend that you redo the proposal/awarding processes to rectify the appearance of any potential conflict of interest, and appropriately address the needs of a burgeoning hemp agricultural economy.

    Thank you for your assistance and responsiveness.

    Rick Trojan
    President, Hemp Industries Association

  • 02 Jul 2020 10:26 AM | Anonymous

    NASHVILLE - The Hemp Industries Association® (HIA®) announces the hiring of a new Executive Director, Jody McGinness. The position has been empty since the departure of Colleen K. Lanier at the end of 2019 after a 3-year period. 

    “It was an exhaustive process with nearly 100 very qualified applicants,” said HIA President Rick Trojan. “We wanted someone with a strong record of leadership when it comes to revamping non-profits, empowering diverse teams for success, and strategic planning and alignment. For nearly 3 decades HIA has been the leading voice in educating the public about the versatility and importance of hemp. We are excited to work with him as we continue our expansion and to craft new strategies to lead hemp into the future.”

        Jody McGinness


    Jody McGinness comes to the Hemp Industries Association with greater than twenty years of experience in leading associations and membership organizations in the nonprofit sector. Most recently he served as the head of fundraising for the Marijuana Policy Project while that organization campaigned successfully to pass adult-use legalization legislation in Illinois and Vermont as well as engineering the passage of medical cannabis legalization in Utah. His passion for hemp is informed by personal experience, having witnessed family members directly harmed by prohibition, and he is inspired by the potential of the U.S. hemp industries to provide opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation to the benefit of all Americans. He makes his home just outside the nation’s capital, where he resides with his wife and three young children, and -in what free time he’s able to find- enjoys hiking in the beauty of nature, reading great books, and writing short fiction. 

    "I'm thrilled to be joining the HIA team at what is truly a pivotal moment for the association and the industry,” said McGinness. “It is truly exciting to have an opportunity to partner with such a dedicated and capable group of staff and volunteer leaders to help chart a course to delivering increased values to members across all sectors of the burgeoning hemp economy." 



    Founded in Scottsdale, Arizona in 1994 by a group of hemp business owners and activists, The Hemp Industries Association® (HIA®) is a membership-based non-profit trade association. Its mission is to advance the hemp economy and educate the market for the benefit of our members, the public, and the planet. For more information please go to


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