Congressional Spending Bill Highlights Need for Research on Hemp as Plastic Alternative and Cannabis Impaired Driving Test

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A House committee would like federal officials to dedicate research to create hemp-based plastic alternatives and to develop equipment which could be used to detect cannabis-impaired driving.

One of the key House committees is putting pressure on federal officials to get to work on researching hemp as an alternative to plastic. The committee is also interested in developing a device to be used to detect cannabis-impaired driving and fighting illegal cannabis cultivation on public lands (1).

All of these provisions are in reports included in annual spending legislation which advanced through the House Appropriations Committee recently in July 2023. In the Fiscal Year 2024 Interior, Environmental, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, it goes into detail about the “potential need for dependable bio-based and U.S.-grown plastic alternatives,” (1,2).

With this bill, it provides instruction to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) so that they “provide a briefing on efforts to explore alternatives, such as United States-based hemp, and how such alternatives may be used as a cost-efficient alternative in government-produced or funded materials” within 180 days of the bill being enacted (1,2). Also included in the bill is a section referring that the committee is “aware that trespassers illegally grow marijuana on public lands in California,” (1).


“These unlawful activities harmfully impact the public, water, soil, and wildlife,” it says (1,2). “The Committee supports Forest Service efforts to develop tools to detect and eradicate grow sites. The Committee directs the Forest Service and the [Bureau of Land Management] to continue to cooperate with State, local, and Tribal governments on survey, reclamation, and prevention efforts to the maximum extent possible.”

In another report for the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) bill, it details a focus on cannabis use and impaired driving (1). Mentioned in the bill (1) it stated that it ““continues to support the development of an objective standard to measure marijuana impairment and a related field sobriety test to ensure highway safety.”

The Department of Transportation (DOT) will “provide an updated briefing to the Committee no later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act regarding interim progress in advance of publication of the report,” (1).

Bipartisan lawmakers plan to add drug policy amendments in the spending leglislation covering other federal agencies as well.


  1. Jaeger, K. Congressional Spending Bill Reports Call for Research on Hemp As Plastic Alternative and Marijuana Impaired Driving Test (accessed Jul 20, 2023).
  2. Full Committee Markup of Fiscal Year 2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Bill (accessed Jul 20, 2023).