THE 2018 FARM BILL ACT LEGALIZED HEMP
Today, President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill Act, which legalized hemp along with the variety of cannabis constituents that do not produce the psychoactive effects of marijuana, opening a whole new avenue of legitimacy for farmers and producers that have been operating under the thumbs of the federal government. Industrial hemp has exploded onto the market place because of the potential multibillion-dollar market for cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive constituent that has been proven to have therapeutic application, while not producing adverse events and is considered safe.
The amendment of the 2018 Farm Bill Act removed hemp and all by-products from the DEA’s list of controlled substances and separated the term “hemp” from “marijuana” ending the stigma and long-standing debate over the proper regulation and guidelines surrounding the cash crop nation-wide and is considered the first form of distinction between hemp and marijuana.
All products made from hemp, including CBD oils, balms and tinctures have been explicitly legalized, as long as they contain less than .3 percent THC (Psychoactive constituent of cannabis). Agriculture departments and Native American tribes are now free to regulate, process and sell hemp just as they do with any other consumable crop such as, corn, wheat and other fruits and vegetables.
THERE IS STILL A DOWN SIDE
The 2018 Farm Bill Act now enables farmers to purchase crop insurance and utilize federal regulated banking systems, erasing some of the risk farmers take by expanding in this current market. This now allows farmers to rest easy knowing their crops can moved across states line, allowing options for exports and sales expansion. However, It should be noted that while the 2018 Farm Bill Act provides much-needed regulatory certainty in the industry, it does not legalize all hemp, or all CBD.
The law states that hemp must be cultivated under specific licenses. Entrepreneurs, distributors, and consumers must take into consideration the source of product they purchase and ingest, along with supplier compliance with all regulations surrounding cultivation. As with any product, there are skeptical individuals and companies operating within the industry. In the absence of the strict FDA regulations, research has explained that almost 70% of online products may be mislabeled and therefore warning consumers to do their research before purchasing (Miller et al., 2017).
Second, significant regulatory issues remain; the 2018 Farm Bill Act makes clear that hemp remains subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act, among other federal statutes. Also, it may take additional time to submit regulatory plans to the USDA before farmers can legally cultivate the crop. I will be touching back on this topic as these regulatory plans come to fruition, along with the distinctions between naturally occurring CBD products and CBD enriched products… And yes, there is a big difference. More to come!
Bonn-Miller MO, Loflin MJE, Thomas BF, Marcu JP, Hyke T, Vandrey R. Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online. Jama. 2017;318(17):1708-1709.