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The Greatest Victory For Hemp: The New Farm Bill Signed Into Law!

The Greatest Victory For Hemp: The New Farm Bill Signed Into Law! - SOL✿CBD

So, it happened, and "Is hemp legal?" has disappeared as a too-frequently-asked question in the U.S. The revised farm bill has been signed into law, cementing hemp's fully legal status, and eliciting many sighs of relief across the country.

No more legal gray areas, no more confusion, no more looking over the shoulder for fear of prosecution—cultivating, processing, selling, and possessing hemp and hemp-based products should not get you in trouble with federal law enforcement in the U.S. any longer.

Unless your hemp contains over 0.3 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, of course. Then it's still seen as marijuana, and illegal.

Let's unpack the 2018 Farm Bill and the Hemp Act specifically, also look at how it will affect the hemp cannabidiol (CBD) market.

Let's unpack the recently signed 2018 farm bill and the Hemp Act specifically.

RELATED: What is CBD (Cannabidiol)?

What the Most Recent Farm Bill Says

The following is from the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, one of the hemp cannabis industry’s leading business trade associations: [1]

  • Section 297A of the farm bill defines hemp as all parts of the plant with 0.3% and less THC. This definition includes “derivatives,” “extracts,” and “cannabinoids.”
  • The Act removes hemp from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as a Schedule I drug because consumable hemp and its derivatives are non-psychotropic. Hemp is commonly confused with marijuana—also a variety of cannabis, known for its ability to cause feelings of euphoria when ingested. Marijuana is potentially addictive and still illegal in the U.S.
  • Prescribed levels of THC found in hemp are excluded from the definition of marijuana, according to the new Act.
  • The law completely frees the hemp industry. As stated, it is now a legal farming commodity, and any hemp products may now be manufactured and sold across the country.
  • The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) cannot interfere with interstate commerce of hemp products.
  • Likewise, state and Native American tribal governments are prohibited from stopping the transport of hemp or hemp products between states. They do have the power to impose their own restrictions or requirements on hemp growth and the sale of hemp products.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s Secretary must consult with the states' Attorney General regarding approval of state plans. However, final plan approval will still reside with the Secretary. The law makes provision for states and tribes to appeal any USDA decision on plans—or resubmit them.
  • The Act orders the states and tribes to develop procedures and regulations for addressing violations, including corrective action in the case of negligence.
  • All hemp farmers now have access to crop insurance, and they can fully participate in the USDA programs for certification and competitive grants. The plant is included in the department's supplemental and alternative crops programs, as well as its critical agricultural materials programs.
  • The law also orders the USDA Secretary to make real-time program information accessible to law enforcement and "is encouraged to develop a memorandum of understanding to define the parameters of this information sharing," according to the Roundtable report.
  • Regulation of CBD ingestibles and topical hemp products is still under FDA jurisdiction.
  • The 2014 farm bill hemp pilot program will be reviewed by the USDA and repealed a year after the creation of the new, permanent program.

Today, many farmers echo the words of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, when he Tweeted on Tuesday that industrial hemp is a bright spot of agriculture’s future.

Mitch McConnell’s Tweet that industrial hemp is a bright spot of agriculture’s future is echoed by many farmers.

President Trump's trade war with China has caused much economic uncertainty for many farmers, and the industry is struggling. Now, the new hope of an economic boost is breezing in. It is commonly believed that the farm bill is spurring innovation and growth in the industry, creating jobs and opportunities for farmers, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs alike.

Together with U.S. Senator Ron Wyden and Senators Jeff Merkley and Rand Paul, McConnell introduced the bipartisan hemp farming Act to the new farm bill—a move that now greatly benefits his home state of Kentucky. [2]

The state takes second place as hemp producer, after Colorado. According to a WKYT report, Kentucky farmers planted 6,700 acres of hemp in 2018. This figure is now expected to rise rapidly, of course.

Talking to WKYT, farmer Ben Pasley of Mount Folley Farms relates: “...we even have pictures where we actually took the same 1947 International Harvester cultivators and cultivated the crop. When we used old tobacco equipment to set the hemp, to cultivate the hemp and then hang it in a tobacco barn, we were all crying.” [3]

RELATED: Is CBD Hemp Oil Legal in All 50 States?

Critics of the Farm Bill

The only concern about the new provisions was raised by Iowan farmer, Senator Charles E. Grassley. He voted against the farm bill because of concern that federal government will now be subsidizing more distant relatives of farmers, such as cousins, nephews, and nieces. Speaking to The Washington Post after Congress passed the farm bill, he said:

I’m very disappointed the conferees decided to expand the loopholes on farm subsidies. I’ve been trying to make sure the people who get the subsidies are real farmers. … I’ve been trying for three years, and it gets worse and worse and worse.” [4]

Also, while the conservation program was preserved in the farm bill, its funding was cut severely. This program incentivizes farmers to use sustainable farming techniques.

But how does the new farm bill affect the hemp CBD market? Only positively, it appears.

RELATED: Learn What CBD Is And Its Potential Benefits

The Farm Bill and CBD

Hemp products have long been sold in the U.S. in many industries. None are currently as promising as the cannabidiol (CBD) market, however.

Till now, the market has been hampered and besieged with legal compromises because of its close association with marijuana. Yet CBD, a derivative of hemp and marijuana, has already been in use as a safe and efficacious remedy with many indications for thousands of years.

Fortunately, the words of Shawn Hauser, chair of the Hemp and Cannabinoids Practice Group at Vicente Sederberg, ring even truer now that the farm bill has been signed into law:

"This will be a game-changer." [5]

CBD, a derivative of hemp and marijuana, has already been in use as a safe and efficacious remedy.

RELATED: The Underlying Difference - Hemp Oil Vs CBD Oil

Currently, the CBD market is close to hitting $591 million, with expectations for this figure to grow exponentially and rapidly. In a recent Brightfield Group report, estimates as high as 40 times this amount are bandied around.

By 2022, it is expected to be a $22 billion market, with chain retailers already set to enter it as early as 2019.

According to Brightfield, this is "reflecting broader social trends toward wellness products and anti-pharma attitudes." The well-known Brightfield Group does market research into the legal cannabis and CBD industries. [6]

Let's hope that this farm bill not only marks the dawn of a new agricultural era but also a faster movement toward the full legislation of medicinal cannabis. Asking "Is hemp legal?" in the U.S. will fortunately now get an unambiguous, resounding "Yes!"




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