The Passing of the 2018 Farm Bill has brought about a sea change in the way that hemp is perceived in the US. With the federal government no longer counting hemp as a Schedule I drug, many hemp businesses, including farmers, have been given the green light to start growing and producing hemp-based products.
Up until the 19th century, hemp was grown as a cash crop in many states, but that soon came to a screeching halt soon after World War II thanks to a marijuana scare. In 1970, then-president Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act, which classified hemp as a Schedule 1 drug, banning the farming and use of hemp across the country.
The 2014 Farm Bill
In 2014, Congress added the section of a previous Farm Bill which allowed educational institutions and people who were under contract by the state agriculture departments to grow hemp without the need of a permit from the DEA. The only problem with the 2014 Farm Bill was its vague language which left room for further prosecution since it didn’t mention anything about hemp being on the Controlled Substances list.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nearly 40 states have initiated hemp production and cultivation programs to encourage the production of hemp in their respective states. Apart from that, nearly 20 state programs have also allowed commercial endeavors for the promotion of hemp in their respective states.
Businesses that manufacture or distribute hemp-related products now have access to more capital along with many other benefits, which would not have been possible without the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill.
The 2018 Farm Bill
There’s no doubt that the 2018 Farm Bill brought about major improvements to the laws revolving around hemp. Under the new law, hemp was removed from the Controlled Substances list, which alone removed the specter of being charged by the DEA. This gave banks and insurances companies the opportunity to offer their financial services to companies that were entering the hemp industry.
Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, now farmers can get access to crop insurance while growing hemp. Farmers are also now eligible to apply for federal low-interest farm loans. Furthermore, businesses that manufacture or distribute hemp-related products now have access to more capital along with many other benefits, which would not have been possible without the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill.
The bill also allows interstate commerce of hemp production and processing, including hemp oil/CBD and hemp-infused products. These laws make it easier for farmers and businesses to maintain the legal limit of THC levels in hemp while improving the output of CBD or cannabidiol, which is the non—psychoactive chemical in hemp.
By looking at the way consumers and US lawmakers have embraced hemp for its many uses, it’s safe to say that hemp is finally here to stay. With the fact that hemp oil/CBD is useful in multiple industries and requires less than half the amount of water other crops such as cotton or corn needs, hemp is the future—and that future is already here.