Marijuana Banking Bill Passes the U.S. House of Representatives in Historic Vote

Marijuana Banking Bill Passes the U.S. House of Representatives in Historic Vote

The House of Representatives made history on Wednesday, passing landmark legislation that would protect U.S. banks that provide services to legitimate cannabis businesses in states where cannabis is legal.

“Prohibition is over,” said Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), who introduced the bill. “Our bill is focused solely on taking cash off the streets and making our communities safer.”

The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act passed 321 to 103 with substantial support on both sides of the aisle. Walking into the vote on Wednesday, the bill tallied about 200 sponsors ー 26 of whom were Republican.

A Congressional aid familiar with the SAFE Banking Act said that drumming up bipartisan support was partially the point ー that padding the bill with a broad base of support will increase its odds when it heads to the Republican-controlled Senate, where it faces a much heavier lift.

With support from about 30 percent of the Senate ー including only five Republican Senators ー some suggest it won’t have enough traction to pass. But comments earlier this month from Senate Banking Chair Mike Crapo reignited proponents’ hopes. He told Politico that he hopes to address cannabis banking issues by the end of the year.

“We’re working to try to get a bill ready,” he told Politico. “I’m looking to see whether we can thread the needle.”

Following passage of the bill in the House, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), one of the bill’s lead sponsors in the Senate, urged his fellow Senators to deliver SAFE Banking to President Trump’s desk. And Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who introduced the Senate version of the bill, was hopeful of its momentum. 

“While we continue to work to address broader issues related to the harmful legacy of cannabis prohibition across the country, I am hopeful that we can get the SAFE Banking Act moving quickly through committee, to the Senate floor, and ultimately, to the President’s desk,” Merkley said in a statement.

Meanwhile in the House of Representatives, proponents celebrated. Cheers could be heard throughout the chamber the moment votes in favor surpassed 290, or two thirds of the chamber ー the margin needed to pass a bill under suspension of the rules. Perlmutter was especially excited. He’s been working to push versions of the legislation through with sponsor Rep. Denny Heck (D- Wash.) since 2013. 

“After six years of working on this bill, the SAFE Banking Act will go a long way in getting cash off our streets and providing certainty so financial institutions can work with cannabis businesses and employees,” Perlmutter said in a statement.

But even as they celebrated, proponents of wider legalization acknowledged the need for further reform ー especially for social justice. In the weeks leading up to the House vote on the bill, criticism emerged from within the Democratic party, as well as from advocacy groups, which argued such a bill undermines more comprehensive and socially focused reform. Three Democratic Presidential candidates ー and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer ー have criticized the bill for not doing enough to repair damages from the War Drugs. 

But proponents of the bill argued social justice and incremental financial reform don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In the hours leading up to the vote, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer released a statement affirming the concerns of advocates and his colleagues, and calling for more action on cannabis equity following passage of the bill by the House.

“I am proud to bring this legislation to the Floor, but I believe it does not go far enough. This must be a first step toward the decriminalization and de-scheduling of marijuana, which has led to the prosecution and incarceration of far too many of our fellow Americans for possession,” Hoyer said in a statement.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), chair of the House Committee on Financial Services, which passed the bill in March after days of amendments and deliberation, said much of the same.

“This bill is but one important piece of what should be a comprehensive series of cannabis reform bills,” she said.

Many of SAFE Banking’s more prominent cosponsors, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Rep. Early Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Rep. Perlmutter, and Rep. Waters, also support more comprehensive and socially focused cannabis legislation like the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, introduced by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) in July.

This story first appeared at Cheddar.com.

The California Hemp Heritage Act 2020

The California Hemp Heritage Act 2020

To the Honorable Attorney General of California,

We, the undersigned, registered, qualified voters of California, residents of the country (or City and County) referenced on the signature page of this petition, hereby propose amendments of the Health and Safety Code, relating to cannabis, hemp, marijuana, and petition the Secretary of State to submit the same to the voters of California for their adoption or rejection at the next succeeding general election or at any special statewide election held prior to that general election or otherwise provided by law.

The proposed statutory amendments read as follows:

Cannabis Hemp Heritage Act of 2020

AN ACT TO AMEND THE HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE OF CALIFORNIA:

I. Add Section 11362.4 to the Health and Safety Code of California, such laws and policies shall control any contrary laws and policies:

(a) No person, business, or corporate entity shall be arrested or prosecuted, be denied any right or privilege, nor be subject to any criminal or civil penalties for the possession, cultivation, transportation, distribution, use, or consumption of cannabis hemp marijuana, as provided in this Act, including:

(1) Cannabis hemp industrial products.

(2) Cannabis hemp medicinal preparations.

(3) Cannabis hemp nutritional products.

(4) Cannabis hemp euphoric use and products.

(b) Definition of terms:

(1) (A) The terms “cannabis hemp” and “cannabis hemp marijuana” mean the natural, non-genetically modified plant cannabis hemp, hemp, cannabis, marihuana, marijuana, cannabis sativa L, cannabis Americana, cannabis chinensis, cannabis indica, cannabis ruderalis, cannabis sativa, or any variety of cannabis, including any derivative, concentrate, extract, flower, leaf, particle, preparation, resin, root, salt, seed, stalk, stem, or any product thereof.

(B) The term “non-genetically modified plant” means a plant in which the genetic material has not been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.

(2) The term “cannabis hemp industrial products” means natural cannabis hemp, and all products made from cannabis hemp that are not designed or intended for human consumption, including, but not limited to: clothing, building materials, paper, fiber, fuel, lubricants, plastics, paint, seed for cultivation, animal feeds, veterinary medicine, oil, or any other product that is not designed for internal human consumption; as well as cannabis hemp plants used for crop rotation, erosion control, pest control, weed control, or any other horticultural or environmental purposes, for example, the extraction of atmospheric carbon dioxide and toxic soil reclamation. 

(3) The term “cannabis hemp medicinal preparations” means natural cannabis hemp, and all products made from cannabis hemp that are designed, intended, or used for human consumption for the treatment of any human disease or medical condition, for pain relief, or for any healing purpose, including but not limited to the treatment prevention, or relief of: Alzheimer’s and pre-Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, arthritis, asthma, cancer, cramps, epilepsy, glaucoma, lupus, migraine, multiple sclerosis, nausea, premenstrual syndrome, side effects of cancer chemotherapy, fibromyalgia, sickle cell anemia, spasticity, spinal injury, stress, easement of post-traumatic stress disorder, Tourette syndrome, immunodeficiency, wasting syndrome from AIDs or anorexia; use as an antibiotic, antibacterial, anti-viral, or anti-emetic; as a healing agent, or as an adjunct to any medical or herbal treatment. Mental conditions including, but not limited to bipolar, depression, attention deficit disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are also conditions considered for medical use.

(4) The term “cannabis hemp nutritional products” means natural cannabis hemp grown for consumption by humans and animals as food, including but not limited to: leaf, root, seed, seed protein, seed oil, essential fatty acids, seed cake, dietary fiber, or any preparation or extract thereof. 

(5) The term “cannabis hemp euphoric products” means natural cannabis hemp intended for consumption by people for personal, recreational, meditative, spiritual, religious, or other purposes, other than cannabis hemp industrial products, cannabis hemp medicinal preparations, or cannabis hemp nutritional products.

(6) The term “personal use” means the consumption of cannabis hemp by people 21 years of age or older for any relaxant, meditative, religious, spiritual, recreational, or other purposes other than sale.

(7) The term “commercial production” means the production of cannabis hemp products for sale or profit under the conditions of these provisions.

(c) Industrial cannabis hemp farmers, manufacturers, processors, distributors, medicinal collectives, and retailers shall not be subject to any special zoning requirements, licensing fee, or tax that is excessive, discriminatory, or prohibitive.

(d) Cannabis hemp and cannabis hemp medicinal preparations are hereby reclassified and de-scheduled from California Uniform Controlled Substances Act. Licensed physicians shall not be penalized for, nor restricted from approving or recommending cannabis hemp for medical purposes to any patient, regardless of age. No tax shall be applied to cannabis hemp medicinal preparations. Sufficient community outlets shall be allowed to provide reasonable and discreet access for patients. No recommending physician shall be subject to any professional licensing review or hearing as a result of recommending or approving the medical use of cannabis hemp

(e) Personal use of cannabis hemp euphoric products.

(1) No permit, license, or tax shall be required for the non-commercial cultivation, transportation, distribution, or consumption of cannabis hemp.

(2) No person shall be required to submit to testing for inactive and/or inert residual cannabis metabolites as a condition of any right or privilege including, employment or insurance, nor may the presence of such metabolites be considered in determining employment, other impairment, or intoxication. Testing for active (not metabolized) cannabis may be used and considered in determining employment, impairment, or intoxication. Cannabis users’ right to bear arms shall not be restricted.

(3) When a person falls within the conditions of these exceptions, the offense laws do not apply and only the exception laws apply.

(f) Commerce in cannabis hemp euphoric products shall be limited to adults, 21 years of age and older, and shall be regulated in a manner analogous, and no more onerous than California’s beer and wine model. For the purpose of distinguishing personal from commercial production, 99 flowering female plants and 12 pounds of dried, cured cannabis hemp flowers, but not leaf, produced per adult, 21 years of age and older, per year shall be presumed as being for personal use.

(g) The manufacture, marketing, distribution, or sales, between adults, of equipment or accessories designed to assist in the planting, cultivation, harvesting, curing, processing, packaging, storage, analysis, consumption, or transportation of cannabis hemp plants, industrial cannabis hemp products, cannabis hemp medicinal preparations, cannabis hemp nutritional products, cannabis hemp euphoric products, or any cannabis hemp product shall not be prohibited, except as provided in this Act.

(h) No California law enforcement personnel, State or local employees of any kind, or funds shall be used to assist or aid and abet in the enforcement of Federal cannabis hemp marijuana laws involving acts that are hereby no longer illegal in the State of California. 

(i) Any person who threatens the enjoyment of these provisions is guilty of a misdemeanor. The maximum penalties and fines of a misdemeanor may be imposed.

II. Repeal, delete, and expunge any and all existing statutory laws that conflict with the provisions of this initiative.

I. Enactment of this initiative shall include: the case by case review for the purpose of sentence modifications, amnesty, immediate release from prison, jail, parole, and probation, and/or clearing, expunging, and deletion of all cannabis hemp marijuana criminal records for all persons currently charged with, or convicted of any non-violence cannabis hemp marijuana offenses included in, or modified by, this initiative, which are hereby no longer illegal and/or applicable in the State of California. People who fall within this category that triggered an original sentence are included within this provision.

2(a) Within 60 days of the passage of this Act, the Attorney General shall develop and distribute a one-page application, providing for the destruction of all cannabis hemp marijuana criminal records in California for any such offense invalidated by this Act. Such forms shall be distributed to district and city attorneys, made available at all police departments in the State, and made available electronically at https://www.courts.gov/forms.html to persons hereby affected. Upon filing such form with any Superior Court and a payment of a fee of $10.00, the Court shall liberally construe these provisions to benefit the defendant in furtherance of the amnesty and the dismissal provision of this section. Upon the Court’s ruling under this provision the arrest record shall be set aside and be destroyed. Such persons may then truthfully state that they have never been arrested or convicted of any cannabis hemp marijuana related offense which is hereby no longer illegal in the State of California. This shall be deemed to be a finding of factual innocence under California Penal Code Section 851.8 et seq.

III. Within 6 months of the passage of this Act, the legislature is required upon thorough investigation, to enact legislation using reasonable standards, which are compatible with the provisions of this Act to:

1. License concessionary establishments to distribute cannabis hemp euphoric products in a manner analogous to California’s beer and wine industry mode. Sufficient community outlets shall be licensed to provide reasonable commercial access to persons of legal age, so as to discourage and prevent the misuse of, and illicit traffic in, such products. Any license or permit fee required by the State for commercial production, distribution, or use shall not exceed $1,000.00. Regulation, penalties, and enforcement shall be in a manner analogous to, and no more onerous than, California’s beer and wine model.

2. Place an excise tax on commercial sale of cannabis hemp euphoric products, analogous to California’s beer and wine model, so long as no excise tax or combination of excise taxes shall exceed 10% of the retail price of the products. Fifty percent of the excise tax revenues collected shall be made available for the research, development and promotion of industrial, nutritional, and medicinal hemp industries in California. 

3. Determine an acceptable and uniform standard of impairment based on scientifically acceptable performance testing, to restrict persons impaired by cannabis hemp euphoric products from operating a motor vehicle or heavy machinery, or otherwise engaging in conduct that may affect public safety. 

4. Regulate the personal use of cannabis hemp euphoric products in enclosed and/or restricted public places.

IV. Pursuant to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, the people of California hereby repudiate and challenge Federal cannabis hemp marijuana prohibitions that conflict with this Act.

V. Severability: If any provisions of this Act, or the application of any such provision to any person or circumstance, shall be held invalid by any court, the remainder of this Act, to the extent it can be given effect, or the application of such provisions to persons or circumstances other than those as to which it is held invalid, shall not be affected thereby, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable.

VI. Construction: If any rival or conflicting initiative regulating any matter addressed by this Act receives the higher affirmative vote, then all non-conflicting parts shall become operative.

VII. Purpose of Act: This Act is an exercise of the police powers of the State for the protection of the safety, welfare, health, and peace of the people and the environment of the State, to protect the industrial and medicinal uses of cannabis hemp, to eliminate the unlicensed and unlawful cultivation, selling, and dispensing of cannabis hemp; and to encourage temperance in the consumption of cannabis hemp euphoric products. It is hereby declared that the subject matter of this Act involves, in the highest degree, the ecological, economic, social, and moral well-being and safety of the State and all of its people. All provisions of this Act shall be liberally construed for the accomplishment of these purposes: To respect human rights, to promote tolerance, and to end cannabis hemp prohibition. 

Proponents:

Patrick Hiram Moore
831-229-0399
healthfreedom@gmail.com

Jason Tyler West
847-612-2460
jay@hollywoodvinegroup.com

Jeanette Perez
562-896-5442
empressofhemp@gmail.com

Key Congressional Chairman Sends Marijuana Email To NORML Activists

Key Congressional Chairman Sends Marijuana Email To NORML Activists

The chairman of the influential House Judiciary Committee authored a message to NORML’s email list on Monday—a notable signal of how the cannabis legalization movement has entered the mainstream corridors of power on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who last month filed legislation to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and begin repairing the harms of prohibition enforcement, asked the advocacy group’s supporters to write their own members of Congress in support of his bill, the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act.

“America has a moral responsibility to pass my legislation to end the prohibition of marijuana and take on the oppression at the heart of the War on Drugs,” Nadler wrote. “I’m proud to work with NORML to create a more just national marijuana policy.”

The bill will “once and for all end the destructive policy of federal marijuana prohibition in America” and “remedy the widespread inequities and injustice this policy has brought upon tens of millions of Americans,” the chairman told the legalization group’s members.

Beyond descheduling cannabis, the MORE Act would create processes for the expungement and resentencing of prior convictions and prevent government agencies from blocking access to federal benefits or impeding citizenship status for immigrants due to marijuana use.

Additionally, it would levy a five percent federal tax on cannabis sales, with some revenue earmarked for job training and legal aid programs for people impacted by prohibition enforcement as well as loans for small marijuana businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people.

Its introduction comes amidst what observers are saying is the most marijuana-friendly Congress in history. Less than eight months into the two-year session, dozens of cannabis proposals have been filed, seven hearings have been held on the issue and legislation to increase marijuana businesses’ access to banking services has cleared a key committee.

“With Chairman Nadler’s leadership, we believe that the MORE act will likely be the first bill to end federal marijuana criminalization ever to pass in a chamber of Congress,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said in an interview. “Representative democracy is not a spectator sport. Now is the time for the majority of Americans who support legalization to demand reform from their legislators, just as Mr. Nadler’s message to our members indicated.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a 2020 presidential candidate, filed a companion version of Nadler’s bill in the Senate.

“In 1977, I cast my first vote as a freshman member of the State Assembly to decriminalize marijuana in my home state of New York,” the chairman wrote to NORML’s supporters. “Since then, I have been committed to ending the criminalization of marijuana. The criminalization of marijuana is a mistake and caused grave harm, disproportionately to those who are poor or people of color, and we must take action.”

Nadler’s bill was endorsed by a group of justice-focused organizations such as ACLU and NAACP in a letter to House leaders earlier this month.

“Criminal justice involvement deprives individuals from low-income communities of color equal access to economic opportunity,” the groups wrote. “Incarceration robs families and communities of breadwinners and workers. Thus, any marijuana reform bill that moves forward in Congress must first address criminal justice reform and repair the damage caused by the war on drugs in low-income communities of color.”

Calling the proposal an important step “to bolster communities ravaged by the war on drugs,” the groups are pushing congressional leadership to see that it is “swiftly marked up and immediately scheduled for floor consideration” following the August recess.

“The hysteria around marijuana is starting to lift as states across the country lead the way in reforming their marijuana laws. It is time for the federal government to follow suit,” Nadler wrote in the new message to NORML’s list. “Marijuana is a public health and personal freedom issue, not a criminal one. We can no longer afford the moral or financial costs of the War on Drugs.”

The New York congressman sent a separate email to his own campaign list last month asking his supporters to sign a petition backing his cannabis bill.

Also last month, a Judiciary subcommittee held a hearing on marijuana prohibition at which members of both parties express broad support for ending or scaling back federal prohibition, with disagreement mostly focusing on the details or competing proposals to do so.

This story originally appeared on Forbes.

The USDA Legalized THC – But No One Noticed

The USDA Legalized THC – But No One Noticed

It slipped under the radar on Thursday, but the United States Department of Agriculture just descheduled tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The USDA issued a bulletin on May 28 as a legal opinion for hemp production. It basically authorizes interstate delivery of hemp and legalized THC derived from hemp.

First, let’s address the interstate transportation or shipment of hemp.

Up until December 2018, hemp was considered illegal like cannabis, but the 2018 Farm Bill legalized it. However, it still couldn’t cross state lines. So, farmers in states where all forms of marijuana were illegal could grow hemp but then had few options to sell their crops. Farmers such as the ones in Kentucky who had pushed Senator Mitch McConnell to get the Farm Bill signed in the first place.

Now they can sell those crops to producers in other states or at least extract the hemp oil and sell that derivative product.

This solves the farmer problem for McConnell who was getting backed into a corner to figure out how to help these individuals sells their hemp crops. Happy Kentucky farmers means reelection.

The second item within this USDA bulletin is the subject of THC, which is the part of the cannabis plant that produces a psychoactive response in the brain or the feeling of getting high. The bulletin was in response to the 2018 Farm Bill and it read, “By amending the definition of marijuana to exclude hemp as defined in AMA 297A, Congress has removed hemp from schedule I and removed it entirely from the CSA (Controlled Substances Act). In other words, hemp is no longer a controlled substance. Also, by amending schedule I to exclude THC in hemp, Congress has likewise removed THC in hemp from the CSA.”

Typically, cannabis plants can produce buds or flowers that have a high level of THC. Hemp plants tend to have very little THC in them. However, that doesn’t mean there is no THC or that the hemp plants couldn’t be modified to contain more THC.

Mark Singleton, the owner of Singleton Investments said, “This removes the argument of .3% THC.” He is referring to the designation that hemp-derived CBD is legal as long as there is less than .3% THC. If hemp THC is legal then it doesn’t matter whether it is .3% or not.

Let’s step back for a moment and review this .3% line in the sand for cannabis.

The .3% level is a designation for which there is little information as to how that number was determined. It is often referred to but there is little documentation as to how regulators arrived at that level.

One historian said that at one time a study was done to determine at which point people got high when consuming cannabis and that .3% was the midrange and thus it stuck. Some people needed less and some didn’t get buzzed until it was more than .3%, so the scientists just picked the middle point and called it a day. Random and possibly no longer true.

Anyway, there is some debate now over this USDA bulletin and whether the words “in hemp” mean THC can’t be extracted from hemp because then it would no longer be in the plant. Several people have suggested that the phrase hemp-derived products covers hemp extractions even if it includes THC. It’s a new bulletin and is sure to be tested very quickly.

Singleton believes that THC derived from hemp will quickly become popular and farmers will set up extraction facilities within their states and begin shipping across state lines. “It solves McConnell’s problem. He’s got the largest plant extraction facility in the entire country. Located in Kentucky,” said Singleton, who says he’s on McConnell’s speed dial.

If hemp-derived THC is now legal and can cross state lines, it will be close to impossible for law enforcement to determine the difference between cannabis-derived THC and hemp-derived THC. This USDA bulletin could have effectively descheduled cannabis. Singleton believes Congress will be forced to act quickly to legalize cannabis since the USDA has jumped the gun.

In May, New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries and Senator Chuck Schumer introduced a bill, HR2843, in both Houses removing cannabis from the CSA and it included a social justice component. “I believe this bill will have at least 100 co-sponsors by June 15 and has the best chance to get passed,” said Singleton. “If the Safe Banking Act doesn’t get passed first, then I think this one will. I know the cannabis industry wants the States Rights Act passed, but it’s going nowhere. These have the most support.”

Indeed, no one in the cannabis industry expected the USDA to be the ones to legalize THC and it looks as if this is the next domino to fall.

This story first appeared at Real Money

USDA Sets Target Deadline to Release Hemp Regulations

USDA Sets Target Deadline to Release Hemp Regulations

Marijuana Moment is a wire service assembled by Tom Angell, a marijuana legalization activist and journalist covering marijuana reform nationwide. The views expressed by Angell or Marijuana Moment are neither endorsed by the Globe nor do they reflect the Globe’s views on any subject area.

The US Department of Agriculture offered new insights into its rulemaking process for hemp regulations in a notice published in the Federal Register on Monday.

Of particular note is the deadline by which the USDA is aiming to release its “interim final rule” for the newly legal crop: August. Previously, the department simply said it would have the rules in place in time for the 2020 planting season.

“This action will initiate a new part 990 establishing rules and regulations for the domestic production of hemp,” the new notice states. “This action is required to implement provisions of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill).”

The hemp update is part of a larger regulatory agenda for various agencies that’s being released by the Trump administration.

A USDA spokesperson told Marijuana Moment that the August projection is the department’s “best estimate” for when the regulations will be released. It remains the USDA’s intention “to have the regulations in place by this fall to allow for a 2020 planting season.”

“However, the clearance process will dictate the actual timing of the publication,” the spokesperson said.

While USDA officials have said the department didn’t plan to expedite the regulatory process despite strong interest among stakeholders, it seems to be making steady progress so far. The department said in March that it has “begun the process to gather information for rulemaking.”

The USDA has also outlined the basic elements that will be required when states or tribes are eventually able to submit regulatory plans for federal approval. Those proposals will have to include information about the land that will be used for hemp cultivation, testing standards, disposal procedures, law enforcement compliance, annual inspections, and certification for products and personnel.

The new update comes about six months after hemp and its derivatives were federally legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill. But until the USDA releases its guidelines, hemp farmers must adhere to the earlier rules established under a narrower research-focused provision of the 2014 version of the agriculture legislation.

While the rules are yet to be published and there are therefore some restrictions on what hemp farmers can lawfully do, the USDA has clarified several policies that have already gone into effect in recent months.

The department is accepting intellectual property applications for hemp products, for example. It also explained that hemp seeds can be lawfully imported from other countries and that the crop can be transported across state lines because it’s been federally descheduled.

This story originally appeared at Boston Globe


Facebook Stop Censoring Hemp

Facebook Stop Censoring Hemp

The HIA® Launches National Campaign Aimed at Changing Facebook’s Advertising Policy for the Hemp Industries

‘These are the times we can stand together in support of Our freedoms to flourish and Hemp’s freedoms to flourish!’ Darlene Mea

FACEBOOK STOP CENSORING HEMP

PHOENIX, May 21, 2019 — 
“With the passage of the farm bill, it seemed there would be a new dawn for stakeholders of the hemp industries absolving them from confusion over whether hemp was indeed a controlled substance — it’s not,” said Colleen Keahey Lanier, Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association.
“But hemp entrepreneurs nationwide are currently being denied access to one of the most powerful marketing platforms in the world for small businesses restricted to outdated policies that continue to conflate hemp with marijuana. Not all of Cannabis is considered a drug, and Facebook’s new AI technology is already obsolete if it continues to recognize images of Cannabis as a controlled substance generally.”
Hemp Industries Association® (HIA®), in association with Hoban Law Group, Bluebird Botanicals, and Bish Enterprises, is launching a national campaign aimed at addressing Facebook’s current advertising policy of prohibiting the marketing and promotion of industrial hemp via Facebook and Instagram.
Marketing limitations posed by Facebook actually exceed what is required by law and have had a significant impact on hemp companies’ capacity to develop their digital presence. Facebook, with its 2.38 billion monthly users, represents a massive market for small businesses. For new entrepreneurs looking to break into the growing hemp industry, being denied access to the social media platform’s advertising capabilities represents a massive roadblock.
“But hemp entrepreneurs nationwide are currently being denied access to one of the most powerful marketing platforms in the world for small businesses restricted to outdated policies
that continue to conflate hemp with marijuana.
Not all of Cannabis is considered a drug, and Facebook’s new AI technology is already obsolete if it continues to recognize images of Cannabis as a controlled substance generally.”



“Our goal is to change Facebook’s current policy by applying pressure in the most public way possible,” said Lanier. “They use a wide-reaching platform to communicate and so are we.”

The digital advertisement, which simply reads “Facebook: Stop Censoring Hemp” will run daily in Times Square until August 24. In addition, the Association is coordinating a massive grassroots campaign among its more than 1,500 members in support of the much-needed policy change.

“We are asking all hemp supporters — advocates, farmers, processors, manufacturers, retailers and consumers — to join the movement and help us turn Facebook green,” Lanier said. “Hemp advertisements are allowed in Times Square, so why not on Facebook? Hemp is completely legal under federal law.”
For more information about the campaign, visit: www.HempIsLegal.org