Dawn of a New Era: The 2018 Farm Bill is Now Law

Will the 2018 Farm Bill be a money tree for the hemp and CBD industry?

In my law practice and writing I try not to overemphasize matters and to provide a sober analysis of developments in the cannabis industry. With that in mind, today’s signing of the 2018 Farm Bill into law is genuinely historic. Since enactment of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Stamp Act, drafted by the notorious prohibitionist Harry Anslinger, and aside from a brief period in 1969 when that law was stricken as unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court and the Controlled Substances Act had not yet been enacted, cannabis has been broadly prohibited at the federal level. The industrial hemp provisions of the 2014 Farm Act were a welcome reprieve, and spawned the rapidly emerging hemp and CBD industry that exists today. However, they were limited in scope and caused significant confusion.

As of today hemp (it is no longer called “industrial hemp”) and all of its constituent components (ie, cannabinoids, including CBD) are broadly lawful throughout the USA. To be clear, the 2018 Farm Act defines “hemp” as:

the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.

This is monumental.

The hemp and CBD industry is predicted to take off like a rocket ship in 2019. I don’t have any reason to doubt this view. There are a number of emerging issues, including, but definitely not limited to, analytical testing, the scope of state regulations, the interaction of this law with the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, importing and exporting hemp and hemp products, etc. I will be writing and addressing these, and many more, issues over the coming weeks and months. Today, I simply want to take a moment to acknowledge this historic moment for cannabis as we stand at the threshold of a new era.

Cheers! Here’s to a productive, profitable, and progressive future for the hemp industry.

Here is the text of the hemp provisions of the 2018 Farm Act:

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December 20, 2018

Rod Kight is an attorney who represents lawful cannabis businesses. He speaks at cannabis conferences across the country, drafts and presents cannabis legislation to foreign governments, is regularly quoted on cannabis matters in the media, and maintains the Kight on Cannabis legal blog, where he discusses legal issues affecting the cannabis industry. You can contact him here.

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