April 02, 2019

Wyden, McConnell Urge Federal Financial Regulators to Prevent Discrimination of Legal Hemp Industry

Senators advocate for hemp industry to be allowed to access financing and credit products to start or expand their businesses

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., today sent letters to several federal banking and financial regulatory institutions reiterating hemp’s legality and requesting timely guidance and clarification to help ease concerns from lawful hemp farmers and producers about the lack of access to financial services.

Senators Wyden and McConnell wrote the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal Reserve System, as well as the Farm Credit Administration (FCA), requesting that these regulatory bodies provide guidance to institutions under their jurisdictions to ease any concerns banks and other financial institutions may have with providing services to hemp businesses.

“While some banks have agreed to offer financial services to the growing hemp industry, many banks have not due to confusion over the legal status of hemp,” the senators wrote. “However, as hemp is no longer a controlled substance, banks should feel secure in engaging with this industry…Legal hemp businesses should be treated just like any other businesses and not discriminated against.”   

Oregon has been on the forefront of hemp production ever since the authorization of industrial hemp pilot programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill. Hemp farmers and producers in Oregon are excited to explore the full economic opportunities for hemp but still face barriers despite passage of the McConnell/Wyden language in the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp and removed it from the federal list of controlled substances.

The Hemp Farming Act provisions in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) signed into law on December 20, 2018, removed hemp and its derivatives from the list of controlled substances, established hemp as a legal agricultural commodity, and authorized the production, consumption, and sale of hemp and hemp-derived products in the United States. As authors of the Hemp Farming Act, Wyden and McConnell are committed to listening to the concerns of hemp farmers and producers and to urging federal agencies to properly implement the law.