The 2018 Farm Bill was just signed into law by President Trump. This isn’t your typical farm bill because fascinating changes have to do with the cannabis plant, which isn’t normally discussed when it comes to agricultural subsidies, nutritional aid, or crop insurance.
With this new law in place, it is now up to individual states to write their regulations for the cultivation, distribution and sale of hemp products. Hemp is classified under regulations as a cannabis plant that differs from marijuana only in one way, hemp cannot contain more than 0.3 percent THC.
For decades, federal law has made no distinction between hemp and other cannabis plants, which were all designated illegal under the Controlled Substances Act in 1970.
The Evolution Of Hemp And CBD Laws
The 2018 Farm Bill is comprehensive legislation that will affect a variety of businesses in the United States. This includes the hemp and CBD industries, which have seen remarkable growth since the 2014 Farm Bill was enacted by Congress (which allowed for limited cultivation of hemp).
With all of the political turbulence these days, it’s easy to become perplexed about what’s going on with hemp and CBD legislation in the United States. CBD or Cannabidiol is derived from Cannabis Sativa L. And cannabidiol is now completely legalized, according to a common misconception about the Farm Bill.
While the Farm Bill’s section 12619 removed hemp and hemp-derived products from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, it does not make CBD lawful in general. Under federal law, CBD is still classified as a Schedule I substance. Under some circumstances, the Farm Bill makes an exemption to this Schedule I classification.
Any cannabinoid generated from hemp will be allowed under the Farm Bill Unless the hemp is grown in accordance with the Farm Bill, relevant federal requirements, state legislation, and by a licensed cultivator. Under federal law, any additional cannabinoids generated in any other environment remain a Schedule I substance.
Good News For Hemp Farmers
In short, the 2018 Farm Bill legalizes hemp at a national level. This means that farmers can now grow hemp without the risk of legal repercussions. This has been a long time coming, as hemp was prohibited throughout most of America for almost 100 years (from 1937-2014).
Bad News For Hemp Farmers
However, there are several standards that must be completed before farmers may start producing hemp. Hemp has to be grown under a state agricultural department or university program. This means that individual farmers can’t just start growing their own hemp unless they work with one of these groups (and most likely get charged by them for it).
Federal law still considers CBD illegal. Farmers wishing to grow hemp will need to find a way to prevent their plants from containing over 0.3% THC. The 2018 Farm Bill does not eliminate all obstacles to hemp-derived CBD usage and manufacturing.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reminded the public on the same day that the bill took effect that it still has the jurisdiction to regulate cannabis-infused goods under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
States May Impose Restrictions on Hemp Production but not on Interstate Commerce
The 2014 Farm Bill defined hemp as distinct and authorizes universities and state agriculture departments to conduct hemp research and pilot programs, exchange hemp seeds, and promote the growth of developing industrial hemp markets through marketing research.
After that, federal lawmakers made it clear that hemp and hemp products may be traded across state boundaries. No state or Indian tribe shall ban the transportation or export of hemp or hemp products produced in accordance with the bill’s stated terms.
While the federal government is always present in the field of interstate trade, it’ll be wonderful to watch what occurs in light of current state cannabis legislation, which makes cross-state marijuana transport prohibited.
The 2018 Farm Bill
President Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (also known as the 2018 Farm Bill) into law on December 20, 2018.
- Hemp is defined in the 2018 Farm Bill as Cannabis sativa L. and any portion of it having a delta-9 THC content of less than 0.3 percent by dry weight. This term matches the definition of “industrial hemp” in the 2014 version of the law, which established a restricted agricultural pilot program for industrial hemp research.
- The Prohibited Substances Act no longer classifies hemp as a controlled substance, making its cultivation, possession, sale, and distribution totally legal.
The 2018 Farm Bill’s Section 10113 defines hemp more broadly than the 2014 Farm Bill’s definition of “industrial hemp,” removing any doubt that both the plants and the products generated from them are lawful as long as the THC concentration does not exceed 0.3 percent.
One popular misconception regarding the Farm Bill is that it legalizes cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating compound present in cannabis. Although section 12619 of the Farm Bill removes hemp-derived products from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the act does not make CBD legal in general. Under federal law, CBD is classified as a Schedule I substance. In some circumstances, the Farm Bill along with a separate, recent action by the Department of Justice creates exclusions to Schedule I status.
The Farm Bill guarantees that any cannabinoid a family of chemical compounds present in the cannabis plant-derived from hemp will be lawful if and only if it is grown in accordance with the Farm Bill, related federal rules, related state legislation, and by a licensed farmer. Under federal law, any other cannabinoids generated in any other environment remain a Schedule I substance and are thus prohibited.
Obstacles and Challenges
The hemp industry grew more and more after Congress passed the 2014 farm bill, which allowed states to create pilot programs to study industrial hemp production. As a result of the pilot programs authorized under the 2014 farm bill, hemp production in the United States increased significantly. For example, the number of hemp grower licenses granted by USDA had jumped from only 33 permits in December 2016 to 249 permits by April 2019.
Hemp has historically been used primarily for fiber and seed purposes; however, there is growing interest in hemp-derived CBD, which can be extracted from both low and high THC varieties of the cannabis plant.
The 2018 Farm Bill seeks to reconcile state and federal law by creating a framework for a legal, national hemp market that addresses current conflicts between state and federal laws.
Despite this effort to align state and federal law, however, there are still significant obstacles and challenges for hemp businesses, including compliance with federal laws, interstate commerce restrictions, product labeling, financing challenges and tax issues.
Hemp growers and companies that trade with hemp and hemp-derived goods, such as CBD, are now free to pursue their businesses more aggressively, with less fear of federal authorities investigating or prosecuting them as a consequence of a seismic shift in enforcement priorities.
CBD producers, in particular, will have a much stronger incentive to use hemp as their principal source of CBD following the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill (rather than marijuana).
Finally, firms buying or selling hemp must establish if hemp products are subject to the same regulatory structure as marijuana in places where marijuana has been legalized for recreational or therapeutic purposes.