Greg Ibach, undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, spoke at the Governor’s Forum in Denver last month about the Trump Administration’s view on proposed expansions of industrial hemp legality.

“We need to be careful so that we don’t kill the market for hemp by overburdening the market with supply before there is demand for it,” Ibachsaid.

A statement like this should come as a surprise to any conservative Republican who follows the standard economic ethos of the party: Regulation kills the economy, i.e. the market rules.  In fact, hemp seems to be the only non-psychoactive agricultural commodity for which this administration recommends artificial controls on the normal supply/demand economic model.

In an even more preposterous statement, Ibach insisted that the DOJ and the DEA, rather than the USDA, should be in charge of hemp oversight and regulation.  Carrying on a tradition in this country dating back more than a century, the administration seeks to continue to criminalize farmers and patients, rather than work with them when it comes to this harmless, non-psychoactive crop.  While this would not benefit the American people at large, it would certainly enrich the CEOs of private prison companies, who may be benefactors for the nation’s top cop, Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“Opening the door wide open nationwide, with no restrictions, may not be in the best interests of the hemp industry,” Ibach said.

The truth is, hemp products have created a bit of a sea change in the medical industry, with anecdotal evidence of successful treatments for arthritis, epilepsy, anxiety and depression becoming impossible to dismiss. In fact, the evidence is a tad more than anecdotal, as numerous studies have reflected some degree of effectiveness in CBD/hemp treatment for various ailments.  As a result, pharmaceutical companies have a vested interest in preventing more production of industrial hemp, and cannabidiol (CBD) extracts, from heading to market.Some are even scrambling to obtain patents on certain hemp strains, and are in no hurry to unblock the market for these products to create wider access to patients seeking relief.

In its dance to restrict access to hemp/CBD, criminalize farmers, and create time for pharmaceutical companies (who will no doubt pay our politicians handsomely for this time) to cash in on this emerging medical product, the losers are hemp farmers, and the American people.