Three highlights from the Congressional Research Service’s hemp report

Three highlights from the Congressional Research Service’s hemp report

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) recently released a report on hemp to help lawmakers understand some of the most important elements of the hemp market as well as ongoing policy challenges.

This report, which is titled “Production, Marketing, and Regulation of Hemp Products” may not have revealed any breaking news. However, it does signal a gradual normalization of cannabis in Congress, according to a recent article in Marijuana Moment.

Here are three important details that made it into this June 22 report.

Multiple hemp markets exist

According to Marijuana Moment, the CRS listed “three leading markets for hemp.” However, the report also apparently notes that there is some disagreement about this number.

Initially, the report based each market on the part of the plant that is used. This included fiber from the stalk, grain from the seed and bud from the flower.

“But when it comes to hemp in the U.S. market, the category that’s arguably generated the most interest is cannabinoid-infused dietary supplements and food items—primarily CBD products that are marketed for a variety of health purposes,” reports Marijuana Moment.

Although CBD and other cannabinoids come from the flower, some observers reportedly view extracted compounds, like CBD oil, as a separate marketable category.

Hemp rules have been continuously evolving

The CRS report also draws attention to the numerous regulatory changes that have been considered or put into effect recently.

Some of these changes include the

  • Reintroduction of the Hemp Economic Mobilization Plan (HEMP) Act, which would triple the concentration of THC that a crop could legally contain
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to distribute a national survey to hemp businesses to help inform its regulatory approach of the hemp industry
  • USDA’s Final Rule for Hemp, which are national hemp regulations that took effect March 22

According to Marijuana Moment, the CRS report points out that “some Members of Congress continue to introduce legislation involving hemp.” Because of this and other driving forces, the industry has experienced many changes since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, and it is likely to continue to experience regulatory changes as the industry grows and matures.

Missing from the discussion

As a general overview of the hemp industry, the CRS report covers nearly all that lawmakers may need to know on the subject. However, one topic was noticeably missing from the report.

According to Marijuana Moment, the CRS report contains no mention of delta-8 THC despite this hemp product’s increasing popularity. It is not clear why the report failed to mention delta-8 THC, but it seems unlikely that the obvious omission was made in error.

Reportedly, this product also has not been addressed in congressional legislation. However, many states have addressed it by either adding regulations geared toward ensuring product safety or outright banning delta-8 THC products.

The CRS report did not seem to include any unique insights or address any potentially controversial topics. However, the mere existence of this report could be interpreted as a sign that hemp, as well as many hemp-derived products, are becoming accepted and normalized parts of our society. It may seem like a small step, but it still marks one step forward for the industry.