Pingree, Golden Urge Agriculture Secretary to Protect Farmers, Expedite Hemp Rules
Maine House delegation pushes agency to finalize federal hemp regulations and protect growers in a Wednesday letter
Washington, October 28, 2019
Responding to news reports that Maine hemp farmers have lost access to federal banking and insurance due to opaque regulations, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (ME-01) and Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) have written to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and urged him to expedite the review process and establish hemp rules as required by the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. This letter is the second appeal made by Maine’s US Representatives in the last six months seeking clarity around federal hemp rules. Read their April letter here.
Hemp is a growing industry in Maine, where 167 new hemp growing licenses were issued this year alone. In 2016, that number was just two. Hemp offers new economic opportunities for Maine farmers, but those opportunities are being stifled by a lack of regulatory clarity and support.
“Unfortunately, the continued uncertainty around hemp regulations is indeed negatively impacting hemp farmers and businesses in Maine,” wrote Pingree and Golden. “For example, a Maine hemp farmer recently received notice of bank account closure as well as notice that the farm’s insurance policy would not be renewed, because the farm is growing hemp.”
The rules would help to protect small Maine hemp growers by establishing regulations that can guide bankers and insurance companies, who are dropping them as clients because of regulatory uncertainty.
“We respectfully ask that you expedite the interim final rule on hemp so that this growing industry is not further stifled by regulatory uncertainty,” the members continued.