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Farm Bill Officially Contains Provisions to Legalize Hemp

The hemp provisions will reclassify the plant as an agricultural commodity, removing it from the list of federally controlled substances.

It has now been confirmed that the 2018 Farm Bill will include provisions to legalize hemp under federal law.

The four Congressional leaders at the forefront of the bill announced in a statement this morning they have come to an “agreement in principle” on the Farm Bill.

“We’re please to announce that we’ve reached an agreement in principle on the 2018 farm bill,” said House and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairmen Mike Conaway (R-TX) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Members Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

“We are working to finalize legal and report language as well as CBO scores, but we still have more work to do. We are committed to delivering a new farm bill to America as quickly as possible,” they added.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) this morning confirmed that the agreed upon version of the Farm Bill contains sweeping hemp reform that would legalize the plant, separating it from marijuana as a controlled substances. McConnell, who has spearheaded the effort to legalize hemp, had promised the hemp provisions would be included earlier this month.

The hemp provisions would also allow farmers to pursue crop insurance for their hemp crops.

Hemp would be defined as all parts of the plant — including seeds, stalks, and extracts – provided they contain less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), according to Vote Hemp.

What’s Next with the Farm Bill?

Congress had been negotiating a new Farm Bill after the Senate and House each passed their own versions earlier this year. While the Senate version contained language that legalized hemp, the House version didn’t. A bicameral conference committee had to settle the issue.

The bill still needs to pass both chambers of Congress and then be signed into law by Donald Trump. Lawmakers are hoping to present Trump with the bill before the end of the year.

There are now nearly 40 states in the U.S. that have legalized hemp as part of pilot programs for research made possible by the passing of the Farm Bill of 2014. Federal legalization would open the door for commercial hemp farming and remove roadblocks to the growth of the U.S. hemp industry.

If the Farm Bill is signed into law before the end of 2018, it will go into effect beginning on January 1, 2019.

hemp grow legally

Learn All About Hemp

Hemp is a member of the Cannabis sativa L. plant species. Considered one of the very first domesticated crops in human history, the crop is used to make a wide array of products, including paper, clothing, biofuel, green building materials, food, body care products, and cannabidiol (CBD) supplements. It has a long history in America.

Federal legalization would provide a boost to the already-booming hemp-derived CBD industry. Industry analysts at the Brightfield Group estimate that the U.S. market for hemp-derived CBD will be worth $591 million by the end of the year. The figure is set to rise to $22 billion by 2022.

You can learn more about hemp through our Education and Cannabis 101 pages. Keep up with the latest developments in the legal cannabis industry through our news page.

Post by Eve Ripley

Eve is a writer specializing in cannabis education and editorials related to cannabis industry news.
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