Farm Bill Opens New Doors For HempOn December 20, 2018, President Donald Trump signed the Farm Bill after it passed by a large majority in Congress. With a 386-47 vote in the House of Representatives, and an 87-13 vote in the Senate, the Farm Bill, among other things, legalizes hemp. Hemp is the well-known cousin to the illegal drug marijuana, but it is a type of cannabis plant that contains equal to or less than .3% of THC (the compound that causes the psychoactive reaction in marijuana). Under the Farm Bill, the Department of Agriculture will now supervise the growth and distribution of hemp, instead of it being listed as an illegal drug with the Justice Department. The bill also removes CBD from the influence of the Controlled Substance Act, which also covers marijuana.
What does this mean for hemp farmers?Farmers have been growing hemp for some time, but because hemp has been listed as an illegal substance with the Justice Department, hemp farmers could not receive the same benefits as other farmers, such as those who grow wheat, alfalfa, or corn, for example. With the Farm Bill approved, hemp farmers will now be able to access the same benefits as other farmers, including:
- Receiving the assistance of banks and other payment processors
- The ability to purchase crop insurance
- The ability to trade hemp futures, which will help lock in prices for farmers
What does this mean for the hemp industry?
Hemp and hemp products have grown in popularity over the years, and as we’ve been learning from our CBD series, hemp can provide a host of health benefits because of its high CBD content. Now that the Farm Bill is approved, hemp and hemp products can be safely and legally purchased and shipped across state borders. Also, because farmers can now grow hemp in the United States with the full benefits as other farmers, it may become easier to grow and distribute hemp. As a result, it’s possible we may see a decrease in hemp and CBD prices within the industry. Because hemp is now legal, this makes it possible for researchers, universities, and others to study hemp and CBD without restriction. This means that we can get more data on the health, wellness, and nutritional benefits, which will in turn make it easier for anyone to know how they can safely use hemp and CBD. While the Farm Bill does allow for the interstate commerce of hemp, it is important to note that states are still able to enact their own laws regarding CBD and industrial hemp. This could lead to a sporadic acceptance and full legalization of hemp and CBD products across the country. We will all need to keep our ears open to hear what different states are going to do as hemp and CBD products continue to gain momentum in the essential oil and natural living industries.