The Farm Bill and the Future of the CBD Industry

The Farm Bill and the Future of the CBD Industry

December 14, 2018

Farm Bill 2018 News: What You Need to Know

The cannabis industry is buzzing as the House and Senate approved the 2018 Farm Bill on Wednesday afternoon. With verbiage that includes the legalization of hemp, find out why this piece of legislation is hailed as the beginning of the end of prohibition in the United States. After months of negotiations, the $867 billion deal passed in both the House and Senate, with strong bipartisan support. 

What is the 2018 Farm Bill?

In the United States, the 2018 Farm Bill is the central agricultural and food policy tool of the American federal government and is renewed approximately every five years. As a broad-reaching piece of policy, the Farm Bill deals with both agriculture and all affairs under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Agriculture.

Earlier in 2018, Senator Mitch McConnell fought to insert verbiage from the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 into the Farm Bill that would legalize the cultivation and sale of hemp, which is legally classified as cannabis that contains less than 0.03% THC. Once enacted, the addition of this language to the bill would essentially remove Hemp from the list of Controlled Substances, allowing states to regulate commerce, production, and research as it relates to hemp and hemp-derived products, including CBD. The 2018 Farm Bill was passed by the Senate on Dec. 11 (87-13), by the House on Dec. 12 (369-47), and is ready to be submitted to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

What’s Next? Farm Bill 2018 Facts to Keep in Mind

Though the legalization of hemp through the passing of the Farm Bill is an enormous victory for the cannabis community, the Bill itself represents over $3 billion in resources and policy changes dedicated many important programs targeted by the fresh produce industry, according to a statement from the United Fresh Produce Association.

If signed into law, the new farm bill would lift a number of restrictions on hemp-derived businesses allowing them access to crucial resources like banking and financial services. The new farm bill will also lift restrictions on advertising, marketing, and consumer-related research.

The 2018 Farm Bill, CBD & Hemp Industries

Changes you can expect to the CBD and hemp industry include:

  • Legalized hemp production in all 50 states for any use, including flower production and CBD or other cannabinoid extraction. States also have the option to submit their own plans for the regulation of hemp.
  • Explicit inclusion in interstate commerce for hemp and hemp-derived CBD.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will have jurisdiction over hemp production, with directions for the organization to develop industry rules “as expeditiously as practicable.”
  • Legalized hemp production on Indian tribal land and in American territories.
  • Give businesses in the Hemp industry access to vital farm support programs run by the federal government, including general water access, crop insurance, and access to low-interest loans for new farmers.
  • Allows hemp producers to import expertise and labor by bringing foreign nationals to fill  “temporary agricultural jobs.”
  • Allow producers of hemp and hemp-derived products access to intellectual property protections under federal law, including patents and trademarks.
  • Re-established the 2014 Farm Act’s 10-year ban under which state or federal drug felons cannot participate in the hemp program, except for people already growing hemp under a state pilot project.
  • Requires the USDA to consult with the U.S. attorney general on the development of hemp industry rules.
  • The bill also protects licensed hemp producers who grow cannabis plants that exceed the THC limitation of 0.3%. Instead of being found guilty of a drug crime, producers will need to submit a plan to correct the “hot” hemp.

Access to capital, research and development, and consumers are also on the horizon for hundreds of hopeful hemp and CBD brands; once signed, the 2018 Farm Bill would end the need for American hemp companies to list in the Canadian stock exchange, instead of allowing them to access the NASDAQ or NYSE directly.

Is Cannabis Legal Now that the Farm Bill 2018 Passed?

Though the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill is an incredible victory for the cannabis industry, it’s important to note that the changes only relate to producers and products with less than 0.3% THC. For THC consumers, that means certain restrictions will remain in place, for now at least.

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