House And Senate Farm Bills Dilemma: Each Includes One, But Not Both Of Supplement Industry's SNAP, Hemp Goals
This article was originally published in The Rose Sheet
Senate's USDA five-year reauthorization would remove hemp from federal list of controlled substances and lift limits on production in the US but does not contain language included in the House bill to make multivitamins eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program purchases. House bill though, doesn't clear hemp production. "I think we have a lot of work of ahead of us on both fronts," says CRN President and CEO Steve Mister.
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Five-year reauthorization of USDA programs is controversial on numerous fronts because of its breadth. It includes programs from federal crop insurance to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which accounts for 80% of the total spending. "As an industry, we need to be out there demonstrating support for the farm bill and why it’s so important for farmers to have that stability and consumers as well,” says Organic Trade Association executive Megan DeBates.
The surprising support of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is integral to the success of a provision in legislation to reauthorize USDA programs that would clarify hemp's removal from the federal list of controlled substances and ease limits on its production in the US. Meanwhile, Charlotte's Web Holdings' recent $100m IPO is a strong sign of investors' confidence in the future market for hemp products.
House appoints its farm bill conference committee members primarily from Agriculture Committee but also with reps from committees with oversight for a variety of topics due to the breadth of the legislation and to contentious issues unrelated to including supplements as SNAP, or food stamp, benefits. Supplement industry also looks to fate of legislation that would allow using pre-tax health savings accounts to buy OTC drugs without having a doctor's prescription as a sign for whether VMS product purchases will be allowed with the accounts, as proposed in House and Senate bills.