Democratic senator says region 'uniquely situated to exploit rare opportunity'

WASHINGTON — Following his all-out-effort to pass his legislation the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 as part of the 2018 Farm Bill, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer called on major producers of industrial hemp and industrial hemp products like Charlotte’s Web, Canopy Growth, HempFlax B.V., Planete Chanvre and other companies to make significant investments in the Southern Tier.

Schumer’s call comes in response to the explosion of interest from industrial hemp industry leaders in domestic hemp enterprise, in light of this landmark legislation stripping outdated and burdensome restrictions on industrial hemp production. Schumer explained industrial hemp is laden with job-creating, family-farm boosting and economy-growing potential.

“Now that we’ve stripped the burdensome federal restrictions from industrial hemp, the industry in the Southern Tier is ripe with opportunity. With the right investments and support, industrial hemp has the potential to become a true cash crop in the region and to establish the Southern Tier as a national center in the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp,” Schumer, a Democrat, said. “I believe the Southern Tier is uniquely situated to exploit this rare opportunity to nurture and grow a brand new industry. That’s why today I’m calling on the most prominent industrial hemp-oriented businesses, like Canopy Growth, Charlotte’s Web, HempFlax B.V., Planete Chanvre and others to look at the Southern Tier when deciding how and where to enter the United States’ burgeoning industrial hemp industry. Meaningful investments in Southern Tier industrial hemp will help create hundreds of good-paying jobs in the region, boost farmers, provide a shot in the arm to the regional economy, and help position the Southern Tier at the forefront of the industrial hemp revolution.”

The Schumer-backed Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was introduced by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), passed and signed into law as part of the 2018 Farm Bill this December, and does the following:

· Removes industrial hemp from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act

· Empowers states to be the principal regulators of hemp

· Allows hemp researchers to apply for competitive federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

· Makes hemp farmers eligible to apply for crop insurance

Industrial hemp is a type of cannabis plant that is grown largely for industrial uses, but it can also be utilized for food, oil, and cosmetic products. Hemp contains a very small amount, typically between 0.2 and 0.3 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and while from the same species of plant as marijuana, it has varied widely in use. However, due to the existence of THC in hemp, Schumer explained, both plants were considered “controlled substances” under the current federal law, meaning the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is the current primary regulator for hemp production.

Schumer argued that this narrow view has undermined the crop’s agricultural and economic potential. With the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 passed by Congress and signed into law, this unnecessary roadblock will be lifted, and industrial hemp’s significant potential to become a cash crop in Upstate New York’s will be unleashed.