Manage episode 362365835 series 2432853
This week on the Hemp Podcast, U.S. Congressman David Trone, a Democrat from Maryland’s sixth district, is our guest.
Trone recently introduced The Free to Grow Act, which he says will end discriminatory policies that are keeping people from entering the job market in the hemp industry.
The 2018 Farm Bill which legalized industrial hemp as a commodity crop prohibited anyone with a felony drug conviction in the past 10 years from obtaining a license to grow hemp.
Trone believes this prohibition goes against the idea that once you’ve done your time, you should be able to participate fully in the economy.
“I think all of us in America believe in second chances,” he said. “We've all made mistakes. And if someone makes a mistake, they go to jail. But then after that, when they come out, we want them to get a job and build a family and be successful and not go back to jail.”
The Free to Grow Act has bipartisan support in the House, citing co-sponsorship from David Joyce, R-Ohio, Nancy Mace, R-S.C., and Chellie Pingree, D-Maine.
“So together, all of us are working to get this through,” Trone said.
Giving people a second chance is big issue for Trone, who said he recently founded a Second Chance Caucus in Congress.
“I got 20 Republicans and 20 Democrats. And together, you know, we're working all kinds of legislation to help people that have been in prison stay out of prison when they're done paying their time,” he said.
Trone said he thinks getting the Free to Grow Act into the the 2023 Farm Bill is the most likely route to getting this bill signed into law.
Trone also weighed in on the 2023 Industrial Hemp Act, recently introduced in the Senate, that aims to separate industrial hemp grown for fiber and grain from CBD and medicinal cannabis by removing the burdensome regulations that the hemp industry says is holding the industry back from reaching its full potential as a food ingredient and raw material for manufacturing.
While there is as of yet no companion bill in Congress, Trone said, “We're going to take a good look at that. We certainly 100% support cutting all burdensome regulation.”
Trone is no stranger to the demands of running a farming operation, having grown up on a farm in Adams County, Pennsylvania.
“We had a 200-acre farm, mostly corn, wheat, a lot of hay. Then we had 55,000 layers and we purchased chicken eggs from other laying operations all through Lancaster. So I used to drive trucks all through Lancaster picking up eggs,” he said.
Not just chickens, but hogs too, he said.
“We finished around 600 hogs at a time and turned them over. Buy 'em at 40 and sell 'em at 220 — so I understand that business.”
“Here in Congress, I'm one of the few people that really gets farming, having done it for, you know, decades.”
Rep. David Trone https://trone.house.gov/ Trone Introduces Two Bipartisan Agriculture Bills to Promote Second Chances for Returning Citizens
Tester introduces bipartisan bill to deregulate industrial hemp https://montanafreepress.org/2023/04/25/tester-introduces-bipartisan-bill-to-deregulate-industrial-hemp/ Industrial hemp plant begins production in Lake County https://www.madisondailyleader.com/news/article_d28b5992-e46e-11ed-90d2-33d06d86e507.html New interest in fiber hemp https://www.farmprogress.com/hemp/new-interest-shown-for-fiber-hemp U.S. hemp industry hopes for better times ahead https://www.producer.com/markets/u-s-hemp-industry-hopes-for-better-times-ahead/
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