The Farm Bill 2018 was signed into law by President Donald Trump on December 20, 2018. Entitled as The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, the Farm Bill is an $867 billion package which was unanimously passed by the Congress in the mid of the year 2018.
The Congress passes a new Farm Bill every five years to regulate the food, agriculture, rural economies, trade, on-farm energy production and so forth. This Bill is very important as it comes at a time when the farm incomes are plunging, trade wars looming and climate change is heightening the threat of natural disasters.
The said Bill deals with issues such as nutrition, crop insurance, conservation etc. On the periphery, it also touches on issues like international trade, rural development, local food systems, beginning farmers, research, forestry, racial equity etc.
But apart from the above addresses, the Farm Bill 2018 also has aimed to provide some important news for the cannabis industry. This has been much-awaited news for quite some time!!
Benefits for the Cannabis Industry:
Apart from the above benefits for the farming industry, we find some interesting developments for the cannabis industry as well. The new legislation gives the hemp industry notable importance. However, that does not mean that the hemp and the hemp-derived tinctures, CBD oils, serums, cookies, etc. are in any way legal in the country.
This is because the Bill distinguishes industrial hemp from the one people commonly call marijuana. Both are part of the cannabis family like indica or sativa. The only difference lies in the fact that the law defines the industrial hemp contains less than 0.3 % of the psychoactive compound THC. Alternatively, marijuana or cannabis contains 0.3 % THC or more.
The recent Bill gives a free hand to licensed farmers in that they are allowed to grow industrial hemp more freely. The reason being that the bill classifies the industrial hemp as a commercial crop.
It is interesting to note that the Farm Bill has allowed the federal guidelines for each state to exist. This means that every state in the U.S. can form its own regulatory framework around industrial hemp. States like Illinois and Montana have allowed the industrial hemp CBD while it is totally banned in food or supplements in California and again the state of Idaho has labelled any THC related products illegal. Though the Bill has come into effect, every state is yet to form a uniformed regulation and as of now the use of industrial hemp is at the stake of each state’s guidelines.
But what does The Bill exactly say about Cannabis and Marijuana in particular?
The Bill makes it clear to remember that the CBD products produced from marijuana plants are still federally illegal. Incidentally, many marijuana dispensaries – both medicinal and recreational – have sprouted up in the country. Medical marijuana is specifically made using the chemicals called cannabinoids in the cannabis plant to treat diseases. Though it is the same product as is recreational marijuana, medical marijuana is used strictly for medical purposes. The FDA has maintained that using CBD in food, cosmetics, and supplements is strictly prohibited. Many experts have even contemplated the rise and usage of marijuana in the country. And as the Bill has clearly made a distinction between marijuana and hemp, the confusion is even more increasing. There has been a rise of marijuana doctors who believe in the medicinal benefits of marijuana as well. Many classifieds have also come up to provide enough outreach for marijuana users. People can easily avail the medicinal cannabis from multiple online stores like best online dispensary canada.
Though there are many uncertainties surrounding the fate of the cannabis and the hemp industry, experts on the topic believe that the Farm Bill 2018 has cleared at least some of the confusion. The Cannabis Feminist Jessica Assaf, co-founder of forthcoming hemp CBD brand and education platform Prima also remains confident and happy about the new development related to the hemp industry. According to her, the recent development in the Bill will make the industry more receptive and open to the masses. However, experts like Jessica Assaf, and Prima cofounder, as well as Prima COO Laurel Myers are cautious on their take on the Bill stating that though there is clarity there is no uniformity and so the industry needs to be patient with the new changes.
Even the cannabis industry attorney Daniel Shortt agrees that one needs to be careful about the ingredients in the CBD so as to align with the given protocol in the Bill. Steven Thompson, CEO of Zilis, believes hemp to be the next great cash-crop in America. He is happy that the experts are now openly researching the industrial hemp and its benefits. According to Medical News Today, the hemp-driven CBD will especially help those who suffer from PTSD or are at risk of opioid addiction. Thompson also notes that the Farm Bill has received bi-partisan support.
His company Zilis has noticed tremendous growth during recent years. But the passage of the Bill makes it extra helpful for his company as well as others in the industry.
They remain hopeful that in the future, cannabis in other forms would also get due recognition and approval.
The much-awaited Farm Bill, 2018, has indeed brought in some interesting policies across the food system in the U.S. But particularly, it poses great overall benefits for the industrial hemp industry as well. However, much remains in question for the use of cannabis plant and marijuana.
Nancy is a blogger who loves to write especially in the Cannabis vertical. She has written many informative blogs on other verticals too.