On 20th December 2018, President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill. But it isn’t like any other farm bill. Apart from certain amendments in the agricultural and nutritional policies, it involves interesting changes for the hemp usage and consumption. Usually, cannabis is never a part of the conversation around crop insurance, nutritional assistance and farm subsidies. Yet, thanks to the constant support and leadership of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the hemp issue has gained attention. According to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp, a herb closely identical to marijuana and contains CBD (a highly touted wellness ingredient), is legalized.
- Finally, after 50 years, hemp is considered as an agricultural product for the first time
- According to some experts, the legalization may shed some light on the uses of CBD, which is an active ingredient of the first federally approved cannabis-based medicine in the United States
- Even though cannabis is still considered federally illegal, the cannabis industry accounts for roughly $1 billion every year
This new and improved Farm Law is more extensive and allows the cultivation of hemp broadly, not merely pilot programs that enable marketers to study market interest in products derived from hemp. Now hemp-derived products are also allowed to be transferred across state borders for commercial purposes. Moreover, there is also no restrictions on the possession, transport, or sale of such products, provided those products are in compliance with the federal law.
Even though the new law has made many amendments in the previous Farm Law, it still has many restrictions.
The serious restrictions that come with Hemp legalization include:
THC content cannot be more than than 0.3%
As per the Farm Bill section 10113, hemp cannot contain over 0.3% THC. Any cannabis plant containing more than 0.3% THC will be considered a non-hemp marijuana or cannabis under
State-federal regulation on the cultivation of the crop
Even though hemp has been legalized by the federal government, hemp cultivation and production will still be regulated by both state and federal governments. As per the Farm Bill section 10113, state dfederal law and thus, would not be protected legally under the new Farm Bill. epartments of agriculture need to work in collaboration with the chief law enforcement officer and state’s governor to formulate a plan that should be presented to the secretary of the USDA. And only after taking an approval from the secretary of the USDA, a state’s plan for hemp regulation and licensing can be commenced. In states that choose not to formulate a hemp regulatory program, USDA will come into the picture and formulate the program. And this regulatory program will require cultivators to not only get a license for cultivation but also work in compliance with federally-run program.
Possible punishments for federal hemp law violations
The Farm Bill also includes various actions that are considered hemp law violations including activities such as producing hemp with more than 0.3% THC content or cultivating hemp without a license. The new Farm Law also outlines possible punishments for violators, pathways to comply with the law, and even actions which qualify as felonies as per the law, for an instance repeated offenses.
Hemp will be a highly regulated crop
The federal law has legalized the use of hemp, but it still can’t be cultivated as any other crop. As hemp has high potential for abuse, it will be a highly regulated crop for both industrial as well as personal production.
The legalization of hemp has brought a lot of hopes and opportunities for hemp industry. And according to Derek Riedle, publisher of Civilized, hemp is a versatile herb, and just because it is closely related to marijuana, it has earned a bad reputation. For decades, the government has failed to recognize the difference between the two and thus, couldn’t legalize the use of hemp. But now as the benefits of cannabis are unleashing, the federal government is making the necessary amendments to various laws.