2020 has been a very challenging year for most and the hemp industry is no exception. With everything from COVID to political turmoil and divisiveness to financial hardships, it is probably safe to say that 2020 is a year most of us are happy to have in the rearview mirror!
Throughout the year NHA has been hard at work advocating for change and bringing many new and exciting initiatives and benefits for our members. Year end is traditionally a time for reflection, we invite you to take a walk with us down memory lane and review a summary of all that’s transpired throughout the year and take a look ahead to what 2021 may bring!
It was January when we proudly announced that New Holland Agriculture, one of the world’s leading agricultural and construction equipment manufacturers partnered with us to accelerate the return of hemp as a commodity crop to farmlands across North America, under the banner “Pushing Progress Together”. Read Press Release
In February USDA announced that hemp permit holders will no longer be required to use DEA certified labs for their compliance testing. States were also granted more leeway in dealing with ‘hot crops’ as they had been doing in previous years.
As part of the preventive measures mandated by health authorities, a wide variety of hemp expos and business conferences had been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Many events eventually had to be postponed a second time, cancelled or moved into virtual events.
The coronavirus outbreak also created disruptions for hemp cultivators, processors, and other companies that rely on overseas businesses for their packaging and product needs.
After learning from our members and other associations that farmers were not eligible for the COVID relief packages, we reached out to our contacts at the SBA, USDA and the White House. All responded quickly and expressed their support for American farmers and acted accordingly.
April was also the month we launched our Hemp Pledge initiative to build a collective of like minded entities and individuals to help promote hemp as a way to support American farmers, businesses and to build local, sustainable supply chains.
May was the month that as an organization we started to really see the impacts covid was having on our members and us. Like many organizations, we have been impacted by a reduction in membership contributions, but we have built the organization to withstand unpredictable events such as the COVID-19 crisis.
In June we announced a new initiative to uplift and acknowledge companies that have strong diversity plans that include their investors, boards and employees and are willing to be audited to monitor their progress in reaching their diversity goals. We are actively engaging BIPOC voices along with other minority and women’s voices.
In July the National Hemp Association (NHA) announced the initiation of its NHA Certification Program utilizing the credentialing badge service Credly.
The Annual General Meeting of the National Hemp Association, the largest nonpartisan member based hemp advocacy group in the nation, was held August 26, 2020 and included an agenda, themed around building trust, that presented a solid financial foundation for the organization that will allow it to address the pressing issues confronting the industry in both the short and long term.
During the AGM, the Board of Directors introduced its newest appointed Board Member, Brett Davis, VP of New Holland Agriculture, Read Full Report
USDA reopened the public comment period which gave us an additional opportunity to request much needed changes to the Interim Final Rule. Language was also introduced to extend the provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill through 2021.
In our first major collaboration with our Standing Committee of Hemp Organizations (SCOHO), we submitted comments to USDA in the reopened comment period about the USDA Interim Final Rule (IFR). You can read the full submitted comments here.
In our second collaboration with our Standing Committee of Hemp Organizations (SCOHO) we submitted a letter to the White House. You can read the full submitted letter here.
The Social Equity Committee launched the Social Equity Conscious Business badge program Learn more here
The Standing Committee of Hemp Organizations (SCOHO) welcomed our newest member, US Hemp Building Association. (USHBA). Jacob Waddell serves as President of the USHBA and represents them on the SCOHO. Jacob has also been appointed to serve as the SCOHO Secretary. Samantha Walsh of the COHIA was appointed vice chair of the committee. The committee continues to meet regularly and is working on some exciting initiatives for 2021!
In December we learned that the USDA has submitted it Final Rule to the Office of Management and Budgets (OMB) for its review. While we do not know what is in it, we expect that it will be released to the public sometime in the first quarter of 2021.
We also learned, as of right now, the DEA considers all hemp extracts that are Delta 9 THC compliant to be federally legal. This would include Delta 8 products. Some good news to end the year with.
Work with WHO/UN that started in January, knowing the the Single Treaty on Drugs was up for discussion in December, bore fruit with the adoption of new language. WHO discussions continue and, NHA continues to be consulted by federal Agencies as international member nations begin to submit language to WHO defining hemp. NHA, working with our international sister organizations – CHTA and EHIA, continues to advocate for language defining hemp as contained in the 2018 farm Bill is adopted by international nations – to ensure the establishment of US hemp industry and an export market.
Read the Full Year in Review Here