WASHINGTON, DC — The House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have passed legislation that legalizes industrial hemp, the H.R. 2, Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.
The Senate passed the legislation by a vote of 87-13 and the House by a margin of 369-47. The legislation is still awaiting the president’s signature to become law. The provision that legalizes hemp is part of a larger bill known as the Farm Bill.
If signed into law, the bill would allow for the production of hemp in all fifty states. The bill would also legalize the production and processing of the cannabis compound cannabidiol (“CBD”) if the CBD is derived from a plant that contains 0.3% or less tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) by dry weight.
Passage of the Farm Bill is expected to open many new business opportunities for hemp companies as well as many cannabis businesses as the bill allows for CBD production and other cannabinoid extraction.
Many companies that produce CBD and hemp products have contemplated listing themselves on the New York Stock Exchange in light of the news.
“The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill is a big win for the patients who use CBD derived from hemp. Restrictions that have limited production to research facilities have been removed, allowing for the potential of many more access points for patients. However, with more producers comes the possibility of more unregulated products. Businesses need to adopt strict product safety regulations so patients are certain of the medicine they are getting“ said David Mangone, Director of Government Affairs for Americans for Safe Access.
“The FDA still says that CBD is not permitted in foods or dietary supplements so they will have to change their policies to reflect the reality of the new market created by the Farm Bill. Further, hemp-derived CBD is restricted in the nation’s largest market in California, so even with this bill’s passage there are a lot of questions that remain,” added Mangone.
The Farm Bill also allows for the interstate commerce of hemp and hemp-derived CBD, gives the U.S. Department of Agriculture oversight and rule making authority over hemp production, legalizes hemp production on tribal lands, and allows hemp growers to benefit from federal crop insurance programs.
However, the bill also prevents individuals who have been charged with state or federal drug offenses within the last 10 years from participating in the hemp industry.
To help resolve many of the unanswered questions created by the new Farm Bill, Americans for Safe Access will be releasing a comprehensive guide to the use of CBD by patients in early 2019.