National Hemp Legalization Could Help Spur Rural Colorado's Economy

Congress drafts compromise Farm Bill, eliminates SNAP work requirements

John Thune, R-S.D., has contributed.

The House has easily passed the farm bill, a massive legislative package that reauthorizes agriculture programs and food aid.

"Obviously, every farm bill represents kind of a consensus, but this was a very pro-agriculture, pro-farmer farm bill, and that was our goal from the very beginning", Thune told The Daily Republic via phone on Wednesday. "I voted in favor of a bill that provides our farmers, ranchers, and rural America the security and certainty they need". "Roger has been a strong advocate and critical voice for production agriculture in this farm bill conference process and I'm thankful for his leadership, which helped get this across the finish line", Conaway said. Thune said the bill heavily emphasizes crop insurance. "But we did well in the kinds of programs that benefit ME", said Pingree, who owns an organic farm and inn on North Haven island.

"Providing farmers and our agriculture community with a strong five-year bill was not just a goal of ours, it was a responsibility we took on when Kansans elected us to be their voice in D.C.", Rep. Marshall said. The last farm bill, for example, didn't imagine that USA farmers, especially soybean and pork producers, would be reeling from a trade war with China.

Numerous provisions worked on by Thune have to do with conservation, and more specifically the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which pays farmers to not use environmentally-sensitive land for agricultural production. Farm programs under current law began to expire September 30. Most of the American clothing, food and beverage, cosmetic and wellness companies that now use industrial hemp import it from Europe, Canada and Japan, where the plant is regulated as an agricultural commodity and not as a drug, as hemp now is in this country. Proponents say it has other therapeutic uses, such as easing pain and anxiety. "That was a big win". Under the state's research program, fields with plants that have tested too high are destroyed.

The North Carolina program already licenses farmers and does spot checks to measure THC, giving the state a head start in winning federal approval, said Blake Butler, the executive director of the N.C. He didn't vote for the farm bill (and ironically, ardent legalization opponent Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) did), citing the fact that it didn't address issues like tariffs and climate change, among others.

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U.S. politicians have agreed to overhaul the process for handling sexual misconduct allegations in Congress, in a move seen as a breakthrough for the "MeToo" movement.

The final agreement on the bill came after Republicans in the lame duck Congress walked back some of their demands, including a proposal to tighten criteria for receiving food stamps that had been championed by Trump.

But aside from that, Boehm says, this iteration of the perennial farm bill "somehow manages to suck even more than most." Why?

In 2017, South Dakota received more subsidies than all but seven other states, and 74 percent of South Dakota farms received some sort of subsidy.

The Environmental Working Group, which tracks federal farm subsidies, has criticized this provision as wasteful giveaways to those who don't contribute significant labor to farms.

"Greenhouses will have a role - although not as much as fields for pure CBD-hemp - only because there will be pharmaceutical companies that want to grow in a controlled environment", Mr. DeGiglio said.

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