On Wednesday, Congress passed the US Farm Bill legalizing hemp, a non-psychoactive species of cannabis. The bill allows for regulation on a state by state basis and takes hemp off of federal enforcement of outlaw drugs. Farmers are given access to banking, crop insurance, and federal grants.
Previously, it was illegal to grow hemp and sell hemp in the U.S. Imports of hemp were legal. The Controlled Substances Act from 1970 labeled all cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, prohibiting the farming and selling of all plants including hemp.
Approved legislation permits hemp transportation across states, production on tribal lands, state regulation, and academic research. Hemp is a profitable and friendly plant for farmers to grow. Hemp needs less water, cleans soil and keeps soil from eroding, and does not need pesticides to flourish.
Rope, fabric, ethanol, milks, and CBD, all part of the hemp industry, will be opened up for major investment. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a hip ingredient as of late and is contained in numerous products ranging from moisturizers to dog treats. CBD supporters laud its propensity to alleviate stress, pain, insomnia, and anxiety without a high. CBD is extracted from hemp. But hemp is no longer policed like cannabis so researchers can now study CBD in depth. Scientists can delve deep and verify whether CBD is really a “snake oil scam” propelled by the herbal supplement boom, the anxiety economy, and marijuana legalization. CBD is widely available and unregulated but no one can attest to its beneficence with informed certainty.
The Drug Enforcement Administration dubbed CBD illegal but is not strict on users. The FDA also obstructs CBD, only approving a formulation of CBD that treats seizures from rare forms of epilepsy. CBD products cannot be sold as dietary supplements and medical claims made on such products are illegal. However, the FDA only really checks products marketed to treat serious or life-threatening diseases.
New Frontier, a cannabis market data firm, estimated the American CBD market to produce $2.3 billion in revenue by 2022. Hemp-derived CBD makes up more than half of the total revenue.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell championed the hemp provision because his home state, Kentucky, has a successful pilot program for hemp. He believes hemp could replace cash crops such as tobacco in states like Kentucky. Approximately 40 states have some kind of hemp pilot program. Hemp brightens prospects for farmers and the agriculture sector as a whole.
Featured Image via Pixabay