Industrial Hemp is Now Included in the 2018 Farm Bill

In a move that marks a major shift in U.S. agriculture and drug policy, House and Senate lawmakers have arrived at an agreement over the status of industrial hemp in H.R. 2, The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. Known as the 2018 Farm Bill, H.R. 2 includes far-reaching provisions which lift the ban on hemp, authorize hemp production and research and amend the Controlled Substances Act. What’s more, the reconciled version of the Farm Bill paves the way for the federal regulation of hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) extracts. For hemp CBD consumers, that would mean both better product consistency and quality and an end to the legal ambiguity of hemp CBD.

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Has consistently opposed the legalization of cannabis. But in Congress, McConnell was nothing short of a champion of industrial hemp. “It is a different plant,” McConnell told reporters back in May. “It has an illicit cousin that I choose not to adopt. ”

Nevertheless the longest-serving Republic Senator in the history of the U.S. has fully embraced industrial hemp. Already back in 2014, McConnell led the effort to include hemp-related provisions to this year’s Farm Bill. Those provisions enabled states to research hemp and set up cultivation applications without requiring federal approval. Today, a majority of U.S. states have such programs.

This season ’s Farm Bill, however, goes much further, changing federal law on industrial and commercial hemp and, unexpectedly, introducing the first-ever changes to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The full text of the reconciled version of H.R. 2 addresses hemp in a number of key sections. Here’s a breakdown.

In the first place, the bill authorizes hemp as a supplemental and other crop, allowing federal agencies to evaluate the economic viability of its production and sale. The Farm Bill also authorizes, at the federal level, multi-faceted research into hemp production. As a federal law, the bill permits the interstate trade of hemp, clearing up concerns about traveling with or hauling hemp CBD products.

2018 Farm Bill Exempts Hemp from Controlled Substances Act

Perhaps the most striking element of this Farm Bill, however, is how it amends the Controlled Substances Act. Since 1970, hemp was listed as a Schedule I controlled substance. But H.R. 2 would exempt commercial hemp from the Schedule I classification, so long as products meet one condition. Hemp products should contain no more than 0.3 percent of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, aka THC, by dry weight.

Several key consequences stem from this shift. First, it lifts the prohibition on all the other cannabinoids which may be sourced from hemp, such as CBDV, CBN, CBG. Research continues to demonstrate the immense therapeutic potential of these rare cannabinoids. Under the Farm Bill’s provisions, any portion of the hemp plant, from its seeds into its extracts, acids, salts, and isomers are exempt from the Controlled Substances Act.

While obviously a major win for the hemp industry, the 2018 Farm Bill also means consumers can look forward to wider, safer access to hemp CBD solutions. Regardless of the state-legal programs which have approved the sale of hemp products, law enforcement agencies in several states have still pursued actions against CBD retailers and clients. When the 2018 Farm Bill takes effect, clients and retailers will no longer have to fear enforcement activities .

Furthermore, the end of federal hemp prohibition will undoubtedly lead to federal regulation of hemp products. Conceivably, hemp-derived CBD and other products could also get FDA approval. As a result, product quality and consistency varies dramatically across the marketplace. Later on, CBD consumers need to be able to look forward to better-regulated, higher-quality products.  Congress will hold a final vote on the Farm Bill before the end of the year.

Published at Fri, 30 Nov 2018 19:20:09 +0000

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