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Fewer Banks Working With Marijuana Business Clients Amid Coronavirus, New Federal Report Shows

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A pair of congressmen on Friday introduced bipartisan legislation to allow cannabidiol (CBD) and other hemp-derived compounds to be marketed and sold as dietary supplements—a change that could clear up legal confusion at retailers across the country.

The proposal, sponsored by Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Morgan Griffith (R-VA), is part of an ongoing effort by the federal government to find a path forward on hemp and its derivatives after they were broadly legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill.

The new bill would make clear that Congress wants to see federally regulated CBD and other hemp products made available to American consumers.

“Hemp was historically an important crop for Virginia farmers, and dietary supplements made from it do not possess dangerous addictive qualities,” Griffith said in a press release. “Nevertheless, the current state of regulation creates confusion about its legal uses. I joined this bipartisan bill to provide certainty for hemp farmers that their crop may find legal uses.”

While the 2018 agricultural legislation allowed the production and sale of hemp under state-approved programs, the federal regulatory framework for products derived from the low-THC version of the cannabis plant has lagged, frustrating businesses and law enforcement. In a letter sent last year to the head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), bipartisan lawmakers complained that the agency’s “current regulatory posture on CBD has created significant regulatory and legal uncertainty for participants in this quickly evolving industry.”

Though the regulatory landscape could soon change—FDA earlier this year reopened a public comment period around how CBD should be regulated, and last month the agency submitted draft enforcement guidelines to the White House—the new bill from Schrader and Griffith would make clear that Congress wants to see action on CBD and other hemp products sooner rather than later.

The legislation, titled the “Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2020,” would mandate that “cannabidiol derived from hemp, and any other ingredient derived from hemp shall be lawful under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.) as a dietary ingredient in a dietary supplement.”

Hemp-derived dietary products would still be required to comply with federal requirements on packaging and labeling under the proposal, as well as FDA rules regarding new dietary ingredients.

Industry advocates, who have pushed hard to clear a federal path for hemp-derived CBD, say the measure would boost consumer confidence in CBD products and help businesses that poured money into hemp production early, expecting markets to open quickly.

After the 2018 Farm Bill’s passage, thousands of farmers and small businesses invested in what was widely seen as a CBD boom, the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, an industry group, said in a press release on Friday. “However, public announcements by the FDA questioning the legality of ingestible hemp-derived products have hindered the progress of the industry and put at risk the livelihoods of many hemp farmers. Not only did the lack of clarity spell economic disaster, but also resulted in a lack of regulations around quality, leaving consumers unprotected,” the organization said.

“Enabling CBD to be lawfully marketed as dietary supplements and mandating that manufacturers comply with the entire existing regulatory framework for dietary supplements would create immense confidence in hemp and CBD products, and would provide great opportunity for hemp farmers across the nation,” added Jonathan Miller, the organization’s general counsel. He predicted the market for products extracted from hemp would exceed $10 billion within a few years.

The group is asking supporters to encourage Congress to pass the legislation.

It’s not the first time such a bill has been introduced. A different group of bipartisan lawmakers introduced a similar measure in January that would have included CBD in the definition of dietary supplements under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The House, however, hasn’t held any hearings or votes vote on the proposal.

Separately on Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will reopen a public comment period on hemp production and testing, seeking additional feedback on topic areas such as interstate commerce, breeding and testing methodology. The public comment period first closed in January, but the agency said the initial round of more than 4,600 comments identified a handful of crucial issues. Industry advocates hope the agency’s decision to seek further input could mean revisions to some of the agency’s more onerous restrictions, such as one that requires hemp be tested only at laboratories certified by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which critics have warned could create a production bottleneck.

Miller at the U.S. Hemp Roundtable told Marijuana Moment that the group is “hopeful” that after the new comment period, USDA will arrive at a “final rule that hemp farmers and industry can embrace.”

Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD C… by Marijuana Moment

USDA Reopens Public Comment Period On Hemp Rules Following Intense Industry Pushback

Photo by Kimzy Nanney

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.



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Business owner says sign is not racist

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“It’s kind of sad that people go to these extents to read into stuff and twist and turn a question. [It’s] not a racist question. I am not a racist,” Mike told WTRF, adding that he has Black customers and deliverymen. “The racist stuff is just somebody twisting and turning, and it’s ridiculous. Everything right now is very high tension, and this might be some of it, some way that people try to let the steam go.”

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SpaceX is rapidly growing its Internet satellite business

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With an eventual public offering in mind, SpaceX is ramping up its Starlink Internet service, as it’s slated to launch another 60 satellites on Wednesday.

The launch, according to a list from the Federal Aviation Administration, is slated to happen from Cape Canaveral, Fla. It will take place at 12:36 p.m. EDT on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, according to SpaceflightNow.com.

On Sunday, SpaceX launched another group of 60 satellites, which the Hawthorne, Calif.-based company said will provide “high-speed broadband Internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive or completely unavailable.”

MUSK’S SPACEX WINS PENTAGON AWARD FOR MISSING-TRACKING SATELLITES

More than 700 satellites have been launched, according to CNet, which also notes that 60 of the older satellites are in the process of deorbiting

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SpaceX continues to bolster its service ahead of its public launch, scheduled for later this year. On Monday, SpaceX teamed with Microsoft to use its Azure cloud computing service to help connect and deploy new services for its Starlink unit.

The Musk-led company has said it is targeting service in the northern part of the U.S. and Canada this year, but has not given an exact time frame yet.

In the past, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said that the company will “probably” take its Starlink Internet business public, but only when it has “predictable” and “smooth” revenue growth.

MICROSOFT TEAMS WITH ELON MUSK’S SPACEX TO PUSH CLOUD BATTLE WITH AMAZON INTO ORBIT

In October 2019, Musk sent a tweet using the Starlink satellite system.

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In April, Musk said there were 420 Starlink satellites in space.

In July, Morgan Stanley said SpaceX could be worth as much as $175 billion if Musk’s Starlink Internet service is successful.

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Kilani Bakery in business 61 years turns to social media to bring in customers

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WAHIAWA, (KHON2) — To survive the pandemic, small businesses have had to adapt to the ever-changing COVID-19 guidelines. Many long-time local businesses have also had to find new creative ways to bring in customers amid the pandemic.

[Hawaii news on the go–LISTEN to KHON 2GO weekday mornings at 7:30 a.m.]

One of those businesses is Kilani Bakery, a Wahiawa gem that has been serving the community for 61 years.

The bakery is old school. It first opened in 1959 on Kilani Avenue in Wahiawa.

“We literally have the best customers, and it’s because of them that we keep going,” said Dawn Takara, the manager of the bakery.

Sidney Takara’s father started the tiny, humble bakery.

“I worked in the bakery washing dishes, doing little things I picked up here and there,” said Sidney Takara about his childhood.

Eventually, the bakery expanded to its current location at 704 Kilani Ave., and Sidney Takara and his brother Jeffrey took over the business.

Dawn Takara said the bakery is hard work.

“My husband and my son, they start at about six in the evening and then they go from there, and then another baker comes in about one o’clock [in the morning],” she explained.

Sidney Takara said working through the night is worth it for his community.

“I meet people at the bank like on a weekend, the teller and is there and says, ‘Oh yeah, I used to go there after high school,’” Sidney Takara said.

Kilani Bakery is known for its irresistible brownies that often sell out.

“It’s a little chewy. We have nuts in it,” Dawn Takara explained about the brownies. “[Customers] call it crack brownies,” she said.

However, the pandemic has been a difficult time for many businesses.

Sales at the bakery are down, so Kilani Bakery has come up with new ways to get customers.

“We’re very old school. We don’t like social media, but we’ve turned to social media to put ourselves out there and to do some advertising,” Dawn Takara explained.

On top of COVID-19, it doesn’t help that there is construction daily along Kilani Avenue.

The Takara’s said the construction deters many customers from going to the bakery.

However, for those who do want to support the long-time local business, there is plenty of parking available.

Because of COVID-19, the Takara’s said it is no longer about making money. It is simply about surviving for their customers.

“They follow us to the end,” Dawn Takara said about their loyal customers. “They threaten us if we ever even think of shutting down,” she said.

Dawn Takara said they also hope to stay in business for years to come, so their kids can one day take over.

“I always tell my kids, you have to love what you do,” Dawn Takara stated.

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