The Hemp Farming Act of 2018: What It Changed

What the 2018 Hemp Farming Act Would Mean for the U.S. CBD Oil Industry

What Did the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 Do for the U.S. CBD Oil Industry?

Industrial hemp is an undeniably useful plant. Not only can the fibrous hemp stalks be used in construction and textiles, but the seeds are incredibly nutritious. Hemp could potentially be used in things like bioplastics and bio concrete, and it’s even pretty sustainable to grow. Nowadays, hemp is also vital for the blossoming CBD industry.


With all this in mind, it’s shocking to remember that hemp was illegal for a large part of the 20th century. As a member of the cannabis genus of plants, the government made hemp illegal at the same time as marijuana. Despite the fact that hemp cannot and does not cause a high, it was lumped under the ‘marijuana’ label and made illegal.


People have been pushing for hemp legalization for some time. Advocates reminded that legal hemp farming would create jobs in numerous sectors, including the agricultural, labor, transport, and manufacturing sectors. Sale of hemp and hemp-derived products was also sure to create millions of dollars in revenue.


Keeping hemp on the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) seemed silly. Luckily, the government eventually came around. The 2018 Farm Bill Hemp Farming Act changed things once and for all. But what exactly did it do? Stick around to find out.

What Does the 2018 Farm Bill Do for Hemp?

The Farm Bill is a piece of legislation which is reviewed and redrafted every five years. It’s there to shape the food and agriculture industries, rural economies, energy production, and more. The U.S. government renewed the latest Farm Bill in 2018.


Prior to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp was illegal on a federal level. If you wanted to have a hemp farm, you would have to live in a state which had a Pilot Program for hemp. A pilot program allows hemp to be grown for research purposes. As you can imagine, states with hemp pilot research programs were few and far between.


When President Donald Trump signed the newest Farm Bill into law, he also signed the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. This act removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, where it was previously listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. This act puts hemp on the same classification as marijuana on a federal level, and it also includes heroin. The Farm Bill defines hemp as a cannabis plant containing less than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. At this point, you’ve probably realized that the minuscule amount of THC is not enough to cause a high, and the fact that hemp was ever classified alongside heroin is absurd.


With hemp removed from the CSA, people can now grow it much more freely. Some states still require it to be grown under a pilot program, and the majority of states require that you obtain a license before beginning cultivation. This is so the state can keep track of hemp being grown and carry out testing. If a plant contains over 0.3% THC, governments have the right to destroy it because it is no longer legal.


Despite some degree of autonomy, a state has to submit its hemp cultivation plan to the USDA for approval before the program can be fully operational. Thus, the federal government still has a great deal of say in what goes on.


Basically, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 did make some progress. The government now allows the cultivation of hemp across all 50 states, which is a definite improvement on the previous situation. Now that hemp can be grown in the U.S. rather than being imported, there is more control over quality and costs. However, it is not an entirely legal plant that you can simply decide to grow in your garden – it is still regulated.


The Hemp Farming Act also makes reference to CBD. But what exactly does it change for this health industry?

Did the Farm Bill Make CBD Legal?

There’s no denying that cannabidiol is popular now. You will often see it being sold in stores near you, and doubtless, you will have encountered online CBD shops. It’s everywhere. Despite the apparent prevalence of CBD, a lot of consumers are still left wondering: Is hemp legal? And what does this mean for CBD?


As mentioned above, the hemp Farm Bill removed hemp from the CSA. This section also details that non-psychoactive cannabinoids from hemp, such as cannabidiol, are also excluded from the CSA. In other words, the Farm Bill says that CBD is no longer a controlled substance, either.


Now, don’t go getting too excited! This was definitely a positive move for the CBD industry because it clarified that CBD is considered legal by the federal government. But it’s not as black and white as it may seem. First of all, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) and the Drugs Enforcement Agency (DEA) still see hemp as not entirely legal. The FDA is reluctant to allow CBD as a food additive and has a cautious approach to CBD edibles.


As research into CBD continues, it’s a lot more complicated than saying yes, CBD is legal. While the federal government has said it is no longer a controlled substance, some states have reacted negatively to this news. A couple of states have said they still consider hemp and CBD to be illegal substances, and a handful has declared that CBD is still controlled.


At present, there is no comprehensive law encompassing the United States. To know whether CBD is legal in your state, you’re going to have to do a little research into the laws in your locality. It’s best to check before you buy.


Technically, low-THC CBD that is derived from hemp is considered legal on a federal level, all thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill.

Final Thoughts on the Hemp Farming Act of 2018

Just a couple of years ago, the CBD industry was forced to purchase hemp products from abroad. Transport costs were not helpful to the consumer, and there was no guarantee that hemp bought from other countries was grown in the right conditions. As the CBD industry expanded and more people demanded hemp, it was only a matter of time before the U.S. government decided to act.


Numerous senators, including Mitch McConnell, fought to put the Hemp Farming Act in place. Donald Trump then signed it into law, officially removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. Fortunately, the act also makes reference to low-THC CBD products derived from hemp. The CBD community rejoiced in the wake of its passing.


The Hemp Farming Act has done well already, and it’s only going to continue creating jobs and fostering prosperity. It’s also great to see broader access to CBD. Most states have complied with the federal government and arranged pilot programs in conjunction with the USDA. As hemp is cultivated in more states, we are seeing even more CBD brands popping up based in a considerable number of states.


Many state governments are also committing to putting testing programs in place. All this is moving toward a better regulated CBD market, one that makes consumers feel safe and gives them the assurance they need.


The Hemp Farming Act was a significant step toward a better future in CBD. It’s exciting to wonder where states will go with this changing legislation. For now, CBD consumers should still be careful to check laws in their individual states and shop around for high-quality CBD. Thankfully, a regulated CBD market appears to be somewhere on the horizon.

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