|It’s hours – perhaps days – before we learn who will be sitting in the Oval Office next January. But as the smoke clears on the presidential race, it’s not too early to declare some victories for hemp.
Follow us on Twitter for continuing updates today on the impact of Election 2020 on the hemp industry: @hemproundtable
Hemp’s champions in Congress scored major victories at the polls yesterday:
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who led the fight for hemp’s legalization in the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills, won reelection by a more than 20 point margin in Kentucky. As of this morning, it is not clear whether McConnell will remain Majority Leader, but even if Democrats seize control of the U.S. Senate, hemp will be secure under the leadership of Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (and McConnell will remain a powerful force as Minority Leader.)
- U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who has led efforts to pressure the USDA and FDA into support for the hemp and CBD industries, won reelection by a nearly 20 point margin as well.
- Cannabis champion Senator Corey Gardner (R-CO) lost by a wide margin, but his victorious opponent, John Hickenlooper, oversaw one of the first successful state hemp programs in Colorado and should be an industry ally.
- Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Morgan Griffith (R-VA), lead sponsors of HR 8179— critical legislation that would open up a legal pathway for the sale of hemp-derived CBD as a dietary supplement – cruised in their reelection bids.
- Reps. David Joyce (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), authors of a strong letter to DEA, urging that agency to withdraw its troublesome interim final rule on hemp, won overwhelming re-relection victories.
One sour note: longtime hemp champion, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) lost a hard-fought battle for re-election in an overwhelmingly Republican district. The hemp industry owes Rep. Peterson a huge debt of gratitude for his important work on the 2018 Farm Bill, introducing legislation to protect hemp-derived CBD, and most recently, helping secure an extension for states to operate under the 2014 Farm Bill. We look forward to working with his replacement as Chair of the House Agriculture Committee.
Finally, while hemp is not marijuana, it’s important to note that popular support for cannabis cotninued to manifest itself through voter referenda across the country. Yesterday, voters in Arizona, New Jersey, and Montana legalized marijuana for adult use, South Dakota voters sanctioned medical marijuana (adult use is too close to call), and Mississippi appears likely to have approved a ballot initiative for medical marijuana.