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Glyphosate trials, hemp laws addressed in 2019 congressional briefing

By Sarah Cato
U of A System Division of Agriculture 

Fast facts

  • National Agricultural Law Center attorneys provide congressional briefing on ag and food law
  • Hemp and pesticide regulations were among topics addressed 

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Congressional staffers working with agricultural law and policy issues received a briefing on the latest developments in herbicide litigation, industrial hemp and cultured meat from senior staff attorneys with the National Agricultural Law Center. 

“One of the bigger issues we addressed was the glyphosate trials,” said Center Director Harrison Pittman. “Three personal injury cases have gone to trial with claims that glyphosate is carcinogenic, the plaintiffs have received large verdicts, and those verdicts have been appealed arguing that scientific evidence does not support these claims.” 

Simultaneously, the Environmental Protection Agency is conducting a periodic review of glyphosate, in order to determine its registration status and labeling requirements.

Find more information on pesticide regulation in the U.S. here:  

Hemp laws 

The staff attorneys also covered hemp laws in the U.S. and more changes that could be coming. They also addressed the current legality of cannabidiol, or CBD, a chemical compound found in hemp oil and marketed for alleged health benefits.

“We are still operating under the 2014 Farm Bill for hemp production until the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service finalizes the regulations,” Rusty Rumley, a senior staff attorney at the Center, said.  “State laws may need to be amended to comply with the 2018 Farm Bill.”

Forty-five states have enacted legislation to allow commercial or research cultivation of industrial hemp. A state-by-state compilation of these can be found here:

“One immediate evolving issue involves the use of CBD oil in food and dietary supplements,” according to Rumley. “In the past the FDA has not cracked down on its usage and promoters are claiming all kinds of health benefits; however, extreme health claims made by promoters have received attention from the FDA,”

Moving forward, the Food and Drug Administration held a public hearing on May 31 about CBD and is taking public comments until July 16 on the compound's safety, manufacturing, product quality, marketing, labeling and sales.  However, no timeline has been set regarding decisions on its regulation.

Pittman said the visit on June 24 was important to ensure that the nation’s law- and policymakers understood the complexity of these issues. 

“The briefing was well-attended and I thought it went very well,” he said. “This helps leverage the national research and information mission of the NALC to be an objective source of information to congressional staffers who deal with myriad agricultural law and policy issues.”

For more information on agricultural and food law, visit


About the National Agricultural Law Center

The National Agricultural Law Center serves as the nation’s leading source of agricultural and food law research and information. The Center works with producers, state and federal policymakers, Congressional staffers, attorneys, land grant universities, and many others to provide objective, nonpartisan agricultural and food law research and information to the nation’s agricultural community.

The Center is a unit of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and works in close partnership with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, National Agricultural Library.

About the Division of Agriculture 

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system. 

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.  

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact 479-575-4607 as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. 

Media Contact: Sarah Cato
U of A Division of Agriculture
National Agricultural Law Center
(870) 815-9035

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