Washington politicians gave farmers who want to cultivate industrial hemp reason to rejoice when they passed a Farm bill that included legalization of the crop at the end of last year.
Now, though, they’ve snatched that reason away, thanks to the federal government shutdown. According to Cannabis Business Times, regulations surrounding industrial hemp legalization will have to wait. The site reports:
Until the federal government reopens for business—until the U.S. Congress approves an appropriations bill—the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is unable to approve state hemp program regulations and the FBI is unable to conduct required background checks. This presents a problem for prospective hemp farmers.
“It could keep someone from getting their business underway,” Jack Wilbur, spokesman for the Utah Dept. of Agriculture and Food, told KUTV on Dec. 31.
Under provisions enacted by the 2014 Farm Bill, 40 states now regulate hemp cultivation. Moving forward now, the USDA reserves the authority to approve or reject those states’ (or commonwealths’) programs under the auspices of the 2018 Farm Bill. Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles submitted his commonwealth’s application to the USDA on Dec. 20, the day President Trump signed the agricultural legislation into law.
Hemp is just one casualty of the shutdown that was sparked by President Donald Trump’s insistence that Congress pony up $5 billion to build a wall on the border with Mexico.
According to The Washington Post, food stamps are also likely to be affected and tax refunds could also be delayed if the shutdown drags on. The newspaper reports:
The standoff — which has heavily affected national parks and other operations and threatens to halt payments as varied as food stamps and tax refunds — has made Trump’s unrealized border wall the linchpin of his presidency as he seeks to make good on a signature campaign promise.
Administration officials have acknowledged that they were not prepared for the potential consequences of an extended shutdown and Trump’s decision to demand wall funding. Democrats, meanwhile, are standing firm on offering no taxpayer money for the project, which Trump had long asserted would be funded by Mexico.