Buried in the nearly half foot tall, 807-page 2018 Farm Bill is a handful of pages that is going to dramatically change the hemp industry. After months of being at odds over issues like work requirements for food stamp recipients, lawmakers finally struck a deal for the 2018 Farm Bill during the last week of November.
Reauthorized every five years, the Farm Bill is an enormous legislative package that oversees an array of programs dealing with farming, conservation and nutrition. Updates to the hemp industry fall within the purview of this bill.
The bill was originally expected to pass the first week of December. However, in honor of the passing of President George H.W. Bush, both the House and the Senate delayed their schedules.
By December 11, the Senate had passed the Farm Bill containing permanent hemp legalization with an overwhelming 87-13 votes. Then on December 12, the House passed the bill with a vote of 369-47. The bill now only awaits the President’s signature to become a law, and he has already expressed his support for it.
Since the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, hemp has been lumped in with marijuana, even though it is non-psychoactive. And it has been included in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) since the act’s inception in 1970. But finally, per the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is no longer illegal on the federal level. The 2014 Farm Bill had defined industrial hemp apart from marijuana as containing .3% or less THC. But the language of this new bill goes further to clear up confusion that has plagued the changing hemp landscape these last four years in the U.S.
Nature’s Breakthrough and The Hemp Haus are thrilled to be able to report this long-awaited clarification of an 80-year case of mistaken (sometimes blatantly ignored) identity (in terms of the law). We are delighted to tell you what the new 2018 Farm Bill does:
- It permanently removes hemp from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Hemp is now regarded as an agricultural commodity and can no longer be confused with controlled substances, like marijuana.
- This means the CSA and the DEA no longer have authority over hemp. Congress made sure to include in the redefining of hemp its “extracts, cannabinoids and derivatives” so that popular hemp products, like hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD), can no longer be mistaken as a substance within the purview of the CSA.
- The DEA can no longer interfere with interstate commerce of hemp products. The effect of this will open doors for the hemp industry, to federally regulated institutions. Banks, merchant services, credit card companies, e-commerce sites and advertising platforms should now feel free to conduct business with hemp organizations without fear of legal repercussions.
- Crop insurance and USDA programs for certification and grants will now be more accessible to hemp farmers.
- State and Tribal governments are allowed to separately regulate hemp growth and sales of hemp products, but they cannot interfere with interstate transport of hemp or hemp products.
- The FDA will continue to exercise authority over the regulation of ingestible and topical hemp products. It is important that the FDA regulate products for quality and false claims. It is also important that the actions of the FDA stand behind its declarations, along with the World Health Organization and Congress, that declare, after intense scientific scrutiny, that CBD is safe, nontoxic, and non-addictive.
This information was sourced in large part from the ANALYSIS BY U.S. HEMP ROUNDTABLE GENERAL COUNSEL JONATHAN MILLER. The U.S. Hemp Roundtable is the hemp industry’s leading business trade association. It involves more than 60 hemp businesses, and it is because of this organization’s advocacy and lobbying support efforts that hemp education and legislation is happening. The Hemp Haus is proud to be a Master Distributor for Ananda Hemp, one of the board members of this organization.
Miller, J. “What Does the Farm Bill Do?” U.S. Hemp Roundtable. 12 December 2018. Web. Accessed 13 December 2018. https://hempsupporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/What-Does-the-Farm-Bill-Do.pdf
Tully-McManus, K. “House Cancels Votes, Senate Postpones for Bush Ceremonies.” 3 December 2018. Web. Accessed 3 December 2018. https://hempsupporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/What-Does-the-Farm-Bill-Do.pdf
Werner, E. and Stein, J. “Lawmakers reach tentative farm bill deal after months-long impasse.” The Washington Post. 28 November 2018. Web. Accessed 13 December 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/lawmakers-reach-tentative-farm-bill-deal-after-months-long-impasse/2018/11/28/72089d48-f344-11e8-bc79-68604ed88993_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.8bf62cd3858c
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