This bill — the Hemp for Victory Act of 2019 — would address several aspects of the re-emerging U.S. hemp industry. Its broad objective is to build and encourage a national hemp industry while encouraging that it’s done correctly, with proper labor, consumer, and health standards; investment incentives; safe agricultural practices; environmental considerations; and more. At its core, this bill would seek to provide opportunities for small businesses, family farms, indigenous populations and veterans to participate in and prosper from the hemp industry.
To achieve its objectives, this bill would expand several U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) programs to include hemp for research and create necessary standards for hemp. It would also require the federal government to conduct several multi-agency studies that analyze hemp’s cultivation and usage. It would also enlist land-grant universities in hemp research efforts. Specifically, this legislation would direct the U.S. Depts. Of Health and Human Services (HHS), Defense (DOD), Labor (DOL), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Veterans Affairs (VA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Small Business Administration (SBA) to conduct research on and develop studies on hemp’s uses and benefits. Research questions and specific actions for each agency would be as follows:
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA): The USDA would be directed to:
- Establish a grant program for land-grant universities to conduct research on establishing hemp as a domestic agricultural commodity;
- Study the nutritional value of hemp foods, drinks and supplement products;
- Study whether such hemp products could be used as low-cost healthy alternatives for public school lunches for low-income students;
- Research whether items being used by the federal government its contractors could be substituted by hemp-based products;
- Study the potential of hemp for soil erosion control and as a windscreen;
- Create guidance for cultivating organic hemp;
- Designate hemp as a high priority research crop eligible for grants that would be used to develop and disseminate science-based tools and treatments to combat noxious species that impact hemp farms, and to establish and areawide integrated pest management program;
- Research the economics of the international hemp market;
- Study the “use and presence of agricultural chemicals and pathogens” in hemp to inform public safety standards;
- Make hemp available for grants to conduct research on the cultivation of hemp as a commodity, including production guidance for underserved and rural communities and technical assistance for available grants;
- Integrate hemp into market research publications; and
- Study how to create “buffer zones” between marijuana and hemp farms to avoid cross-pollination.
Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHS): DHS would be directed to:
- Study the “presence of pathogens in hemp-based and hemp-blended products and their impact on the health and safety of consumers”; and
- Study whether hemp can be used as a substitute for health care industry products used to deliver, create, store or administer prescription drugs.
Small Business Administration (SBA): The SBA would be directed to develop guidance manuals for individuals interested in creating a small business. These would focus on Native Hawaiians, Indian Tribes and veterans.
U.S. Dept. of Defense (DOD): DOD would be directed to:
- Study what items used by the DOD could be substituted with hemp;
- Study the impact of using hemp and derivatives such as CBD on military preparedness;
- Study the use of hemp as an alternative to current health supplements with regard to the armed forces deployed in support of contingency operations, and its effect on preparedness, physical and mental health, and safety, which includes active and non-active service members diagnosed with conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain; and
- Study hemp’s potential to clear contaminants from nuclear sites and heavy metal contamination.
U.S. Dept. of Labor (DOL): DOL would be directed to:
- Issue a report on the application of federal laws in states with hemp programs to ensure the health and safety of individuals working in the hemp industry; and
- Issue a report on the application of federal laws in states with hemp programs to ensure fair, equitable and proper treatment of individuals working in the hemp industry.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): EPA would be directed to:
- Study how the cultivation of hemp can assist in weed control, reducing ecological damage, detoxifying carbon dioxide and preventing soil erosion;
- Study how hemp can be used to clear impurities in water, wastewater, sewage effluent and post-disaster relief due to flooding or animal waste; and
- Study whether hemp could be used as a substitute for certain plastics and also research whether such a substitute could reduce landfill waste and ocean pollution.
U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): HUD would be directed to study hempcrete’s use for affordable and sustainable housing.
U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA): The VA would be directed to study the potential benefits of hemp in the treatment of conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, depression and anxiety among veterans.
If enacted, this bill would substantially broaden the category of products that hemp cultivators and processors can manufacture and turn into viable businesses.