Press Release: NIHC Comments on the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act

September 1, 2021

WASHINGTON – The National Industrial Hemp Council today submitted comments to Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ); U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR); and Senate Majority Leader Chuck  Schumer (D-NY) on their proposed draft of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA).

“NIHC appreciates Majority Leader Schumer, Chairman Wyden and Senator Booker for their thoughtful and forthright outreach on the CAOA,” said NIHC President and CEO Patrick Atagi. “Though we believe the bill requires further work and revision in several key respects, this proposal is among the most comprehensive and far-reaching treatments of Federal cannabis legalization to date and the sponsoring offices have gone above and beyond to solicit feedback on this important and complex policy issue.”

The highlights of NIHC’s comments to Senator Booker, Chairman Wyden and Majority Leader Schumer are:

  1. Rather than vesting authority for licensing cannabis cultivation in the Treasury Department, NIHC encourages the Sponsoring Offices to consider vesting this authority in the Department of Agriculture instead, while reserving the involvement of Treasury, Justice and FDA for taxation and public health and safety when cannabis products enter the marketplace, as with tobacco, wine grapes, etc.
  2. The bill should revise the Federal definition of hemp by specifying the threshold in terms that are complementary to what it provides for cannabis, with a threshold of one percent total concentration of tetrahydrocannabinols rather than the current parameter of 0.3 percent for only delta-9 THC.
  3. The provisions relating to cannabidiol (CBD) should reflect the approach taken in Senator Wyden’s own S. 1698, by allowing all hemp-derived products, including CBD, as both food and supplement.  The draft legislation which proposes to allow only CBD, with no provision for other hemp-derived products that are not intoxicating or otherwise subject to abuse, and would allow CBD only as supplements and not as food.
  4. The tax structure proposed in the bill is too onerous and severely disadvantages small and minority-owned businesses, which will promote rather than reduce illicit production.

“Though NIHC identifies several specific issues requiring careful further attention, and do not doubt that our colleagues in the high-THC cannabis industry do so as well, we believe this draft covers most if not all pertinent issues that Federal regulation of cannabis will have to address,” Atagi continued. “Though our organization does not engage in high-THC cannabis, we believe that our industry’s experience in the Federal regulation of hemp to date is replete with lessons learned that will be of great value as Congress and stakeholders chart a course to the future of cannabis regulation in our country.”

You can read NIHC’s full comments to the sponsoring offices of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act below.


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