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Representative Joe Courtney joins us and shares the repercussions of the recent government shutdown and how it affects cannabis and agriculture: “When you look at the growing season fast approaching is just a tragic sequence of events, because we would love to have farmers putting seeds in the ground as we are in the beginning of spring, and it looks like the department has said that they are not gonna have the implementation language for the 2018 farm bill hemp legalization in place for the growing season in 2019. “

Transcript:

Seth Adler: US Congressman Joe Courtney joins us. Welcome to Cannabis Economy. I'm your host, Seth Adler. Download episodes on canneconomy.com that's two n's and the word, "economy", or wherever you get your podcasts. As far as canneconomy.com is concerned we've got a ton of direct insight from luminaries in the space. Business, science, and of course policy.
First word from new sponsor Bedrocan, and then Congressman Joe Courtney.
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Congressman Courtney.

Joe Courtney: Yes.

Seth Adler: Thank you for having me in. It's a pleasure to be here. And we are here to talk hemp.

Joe Courtney: Yes! Thank you.

Seth Adler: Yeah. I can see some ... Is this not hemp right sitting right here on the table?

Joe Courtney: It is! Made in Stonington Connecticut made with Mystic Knot company, makes great coasters, and platter holders, and it's a very sturdy material for that.

Seth Adler: So, hemp is new, and of course, it's not new at all, right?

Joe Courtney: It's ancient actually, but it's certainly making a big, big comeback.

Seth Adler: How would you have this ... How can I buy this? If you are also writing letters to the department of agriculture saying, "Hey, can we farm hemp?".

Joe Courtney: Well, to me that actually is the perfect way to pose the conundrum we have which is that Mystic Knot has to important hemp-based rope in order to make this beautiful product, and what we would like to do is to boost domestic production so that he could really just go right down route 395, which is the rural stretch of highway in Connecticut, to go to a farmer and help put some cash in his pocket.

Seth Adler: Sure. The founders I think would be incensed to hear that he's importing his product when he could be farming it. And I say that they would be incensed because they were farming it as you well know.

Joe Courtney: Absolutely. I mean, Jefferson-

Seth Adler: Washington too.

Joe Courtney: Ben Franklin was a big proponent of it-

Seth Adler: The string that had the key on it for the kite for electricity, that was a hemp string.

Joe Courtney: Well, I didn't know that, and that's gonna be a great new talking point which I'm gonna borrow if you don't mind.

Seth Adler: Absolutely, please do! If you can credit us even better.

Joe Courtney: Okay, will do.

Seth Adler: All right, so he's importing it. Let's just dive right into that letter, because that really kind of says it all. Here we got with the farm bill, it's passed with a flourish leader McConnell signing it with a hemp pen even. So, great! And then now, what? We have to regulate it.

Joe Courtney: If you wanna do it on the basis of interstate commerce. The bill as a matter of legislative text removed industrial hemp from schedule one so it made it a legal product again. Took hundreds of years to get us back to that point, but we'll take it.

Seth Adler: Sure, take what we can get.

Joe Courtney: And USDA which again, does put rules in place for interstate commerce on fruits, and vegetables, and dairy, and all other kinds of agricultural products, again, was in the process with moving forward with those after passage last December. And then guess what happened? The US department of agriculture got caught up in the shutdown, so that place again, just went off the grid for 36 days or so.
Which, when you look at the growing season fast approaching is just a tragic sequence of events, because we would love to have farmers putting seeds in the ground as we are in the beginning of spring, and it looks like the department has said that they are not gonna have the implementation language for the 2018 farm bill hemp legalization in place for the growing season in 2019.

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