Talk About It Tuesday Blog Series: The Farm Bill Explained
On December 12, 2018 Congress passed the $867-billion agricultural legislation, known as the Farm Bill, and the president signed the bill into law on December 20, 2018. The bill federally legalized the cultivation and sale of industrial hemp, hemp being defined as any Cannabis Sativa L plant that contains 0.3% or less of THC. This was groundbreaking news in the CBD industry and sets the stage for accelerated growth and progress in ways hemp can benefit individuals and businesses. Let’s break this down further.
The most important thing the bill did was effectively remove the hemp plant from the list of controlled substances and allow for states to regulate its production and commerce. Previously, it was listed on the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Schedule 1 substances are defined by three factors:
- Having a high potential for abuse.
- Having no currently accepted medical use.
- Containing a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
Hemp is now viewed federally as an agricultural product and no longer as a controlled substance like marijuana continues to be categorized (regardless of the many states that have legalized recreational marijuana in recent years) thus ending the era of hemp prohibition. The Farm Bill also prevents the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from making any possible claim to interfere with the interstate commerce of hemp products. Basically, this means you can sell and ship CBD and CBD products legally across all 50 states. States will be responsible for developing their own regulatory frameworks, overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). That is, states can make their own laws on how they choose to regulate hemp, which is a much better scenario for the industry than a comprehensive ban.
The Past Revisited
While the passing of the Farm Bill is definitive progress for hemp and CBD, in many ways its simply restoring something lost in the past. In the 17th century, farmers were encouraged by the government to grow hemp for the production of things such as rope and clothing due to its incredible durability and strength. Hemp was so useful in fact, that in 1619, the Virginia Assembly passed legislation requiring every farmer to grow hemp. Hemp was also allowed to be exchanged as legal tender in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. While I don’t think hemp will ever be used as currency again, the Farm Bill returns to the states and individuals the green light to profit from the hemp market by fueling job growth in other industries that use hemp: building materials, supplements, clothing, etc.
Farmers also stand to benefit greatly from the passing of the Farm Bill. The legal growing of hemp will provide farmers with another source of income in an occupation that is notoriously difficult to thrive economically when compared to the work and effort required to grow crops.
CBD for Consumers
However, the largest benefit the Farm Bill provides, and the one most dear to us at Golden Legacy, is the ability for individuals to take advantage of the benefits hemp provides through CBD. Consumers can learn about, understand and more easily access CBD products. Removing the illegality and the negative stigma of hemp as related to marijuana, also allows consumers, the people we desire to help most, take advantage of an all-natural substance that can improve their quality of life. That being said, CBD is not intended to cure any ailment in a 21st century world where health issues are at an all-time high. But what the Farm Bill does do, is kick open the door for CBD to walk through to the masses and allow for those individuals who can be helped by CBD to find the help they need.