WHITEFIELD — Monday, December 2, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) will host a roundtable discussion about the interim final rule released on October 31, 2019 by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding the regulation of hemp, which was legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill.
With the public comment period for this rule open until December 31, Pingree aims to solicit feedback from key stakeholders in the state – from hemp growers to state regulators – and author public comments to reflect their concerns.
Pingree will hold this event at Sheepscot General Farm in Whitefield, where hemp growers, Ben and Taryn Marcus, were recently dropped by their insurance company and bank. Despite the 2018 Farm Bill legalizing hemp, the lack of clarity in federal banking regulations has created major barriers for hemp businesses like Sheepscot General, according to Pingree’s office, in a news release.
Representatives from the offices of Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) and Maine Senators Angus King and Susan Collins will also be in attendance, as well as a USDA representative and hemp farmers and producers.
Pingree has urged the federal government to provide clarity around legal pathways for hemp production. Most recently, Pingree and Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) wrote to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and urged him to expeditiously release hemp regulations as required by the 2018 Farm Bill. Their letter was the second appeal made by Maine’s U.S. Representatives in the last six months seeking clarity around federal hemp regulations. Read their April letter here.
Outside of federal rulemaking, Pingree cosponsored the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (HR 1595), which passed the House with bipartisan support in September and would allow financial institutions to serve cannabis-related businesses in states where it has been legalized. The SAFE Banking Act awaits action in the US Senate.
If technology allows, this event may be livestreamed and archived via Congresswoman Pingree’s official Facebook page.