I sat down with Emerald Magazine to discuss the legal implications and technical points of the 2018 Farm Bill, and the effects it will have on the hemp industry long-term. The 807-page, $867 billion dollar bill passed late last year, after the sign-off from President Trump, and people have since been wondering how it is going to affect the hemp industry and the agricultural industry overall.
Let me tell you, the 2018 Farm Bill is Good Business for Hemp
Hemp is discussed only a few times throughout the document; however, the impact on the industry is going to be monumental.
Ultimately, the Farm Bill will end the era of hemp prohibition and deem hemp as an agricultural commodity. Furthermore, it will remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), where it will no longer be categorized as a controlled substance, like marijuana.
This means that hemp will be understood to include its “extracts, cannabinoids and derivatives”, and the Drug Enforcement Administration can no longer interfere with the interstate trade of hemp products.
This opens the doors to conduct business with the hemp product industry on a commercial level, including banks, merchant services, credit card companies, e-commerce sites, insurance, and advertising platforms.
Hemp in Medicine
Hemp and the health industry have a long history together. Remember: hemp is one of the “50 Fundamental Herbs” in Chinese Medicine, actively used in a variety of other Traditional Oriental Medicines, and its record of healing properties dates back over 4,000 years.
Specifically, the healing properties of hemp continue to be used to help balance a variety of conditions – from calming the mind and body, balancing digestive disorders, harmonizing the nervous system, and improving skin and hair health.
With the passing of this bill, the understanding of hemp and its powerful health-benefits will undoubtedly become more widespread; meaning more people will have access to this incredible herb.
The Legal Implications
This new bill is another step in the right direction past the Agricultural Act of 2014 signed by the Obama administration. That farm bill legalized the growing and cultivation of hemp under specific pilot programs that were regulated and monitored for research purposes only, but hemp remained federally illegal.
Now that the 2018 bill has been passed, and hemp has become federally legal, anyone is able to grow hemp for industrial purposes, so as long that state-by-state laws do not have restrictions independently.
Caveats to the Bill
Though most of this bill is good news, there are a few legal restrictions that impact the effect of the legalization of hemp.
First, hemp cannot contain more than 0.3 percent Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound found in all cannabis species, to be considered legal.
Next, the DEA, which controls the scheduling of substances, has not said how it will respond to the new bill. As it stands, so long as a CBD product is “intended for human consumption,” it remains a Schedule 1 drug, DEA spokesperson Katherine Pfaff told Business Insider on Tuesday. She said she couldn’t comment on how the bill might affect the DEA’s approach.
Furthermore, Congress explicitly preserved the DEA’s current authority to regulate products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and section 351 of the Public Health Service Act.
So as it stands, the 2018 Farm Bill shows great in the way of societal acceptance and embrace of hemp. However, consumers and businesses alike should be aware of the specific stipulations that it employs. Though our hopes are high, only time will tell of the exact, long-term changes that this bill will have on the industry.
If you have any questions about this bill or you would like to start a conversation, feel free to reach out on my connect page.