As per the Farm Bill which was signed into law in December 2018, people convicted with felonies can grow hemp. The revised bill, which President Donald Trump signed, has set a provision that allows convicted felons who grow industrial hemp to continue. According to the stipulations of the Farm Bill, people convicted of felonies can grow hemp ten years after their conviction. Under the previous law, convicted felons were banned
for life from growing industrial hemp.
Despite the change in the Farm Bill, not everyone is happy about the direction it has taken. The emerging hemp is expected to be worth billions in a few years. And many people are looking to take advantage of this. However, some people have
“Any ban will still have an adverse effect on people with felony convictions who are trying to get their lives back in order and would unfairly lock people out of new job opportunities they
desperately need,” said Grant Smith, the deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Alliance.
Many supporters of industrial hemp say the ten-year ban on convicts growing the plant does not make a lot of sense. They think the prohibition is reminiscent of old laws that strictly banned all varieties of Cannabis.
“It is still an unfortunate and necessary prohibition approach that I wish would be eliminated. We’re talking agriculture here and a distinct variety of cannabis that isn’t marijuana,” said Collen Keahey Lanier, executive director of the Hemp Industries Association.
Some senators are also not in support of limitations on convicts who wish to grow hemp. According to reports, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said in a statement that “no other agricultural commodities in the US have this type of restriction.”
Some Republican senators also share the same viewpoints that the prohibition on convicts growing hemp will affect lives. Sen. Rand Paul wrote another letter with Sen. Cory Booker and Sen, Jeff Merkley arguing that any prohibition of drug felons growing hemp will make it difficult for people of Hispanic and African American backgrounds to get into the hemp business.
The Farm Bill removed industrial hemp from being classified as a Schedule 1 drug. This also eliminated the plant from the domain of the Drug Enforcement Authority to the jurisdiction of Agricultural officials. In most states, farmers have to file applications for licenses from agricultural officials before they can grow hemp.