Hemp Prohibition Ends

By Marc Lewis

When President Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 into law, the prohibition on hemp ended. Hemp is no longer a controlled substance. This clears the way for the farmers, brands, and consumers to make, sell, and buy hemp-derived products, including those containing cannabidiol, or CBD.

What does the Farm Bill mean for hemp?

In a press release issued after the signing, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said:

The significance of this law change should not be underemphasized. This law marks the first change in the federal classification of the cannabis plant since it was initially classified as a schedule I controlled substance by Congress in 1970, and paves the way for the first federally-sanctioned commercial hemp grows since World War II.

Where previously states were allowed to issue licenses to farmers to grow hemp, the plant was still federally illegal. Now hemp plants that contains less than 0.3% of THC are legal.

The law also allows hemp farmers to apply for federal grants and crop insurance.

The U.S. Hemp Roundtable was equally enthusiastic about the news:

Effective immediately, hemp is permanently deemed a legal agricultural commodity, and popular products such as hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) can no longer be mistaken as controlled substances, like marijuana. The Drug Enforcement Administration now has no possible claim to interfere with the interstate commerce of hemp products. This should give comfort to federally regulated institutions—banks, merchant services, credit card companies, e-commerce sites and advertising platforms—to engage in commerce with the hemp and hemp product industry. An exciting, emerging, multi-billion-dollar hemp industry is now unleashed, providing economic opportunity to farmers and small businesses all across America.

What does the Farm Bill mean for consumers?

Options, competition, access, and information should all get better and improve the buying power of consumers. Making hemp legal should also pave the way for more studies on the health impact of hemp-derived products.

But as barriers to enter the hemp marketplace come down, consumers need to be vigilant. More brands will come online, products will become increasingly available, and the caution buyers brought to a space of dodgy legality will fall away.

Consumers should still hold hemp products to high standards, like other dietary supplements.

Buyers should check out brands before they buy, look for all-natural, organic, tested products, and keep in mind the space will experience growing pains.

Overall, this is a good day.

Many people have told us how much hemp derivatives helped improve their health. To them hemp meant less pain, less pills, or less worries. And while every story was different, the common thread was that hemp represented empowerment, choice, and a chance to treat the body in a natural way—instead of simply beating back one symptom after another.

That’s why broader access to hemp products is so exciting. Hemp represents a healthier, cleaner future for many people.

We’ve come to see hemp a unifying force.

The plant represents a convergence of issues and interests. It touches science, agriculture, health, and mindfulness. It reaches across demographics, backgrounds, and that ever-widening aisle in D.C.

The signing of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 is a good thing for a lot of people.

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