The hemp industry received a significant boost after President Trump assented to the 2018 Farm Bill. The approval moved hemp from the control substance list, making the plant completely legal – whether for production, sale, possession, distribution, and consumption.
But what does this Bill mean to the hemp industry?
Read on to find out…
The hemp plant had remained illegal in the US until 2014.
But why so?
Being a member of the controversial cannabis family, marijuana’s widespread stigma seems to rub off on the hemp plant.
In 1937, a Marihuana Act was passed to prohibit cannabis in the US. Since knowledge about cannabis was scarce, hemp was thought to contain similar psychoactive properties as marijuana. There were no scientific data to prove otherwise.
With the ban, hemp-sourced fabrics were swapped out for cotton; twines replaced hemp ropes; the hemp-based oils got pharmaceutical replacements.
With these legal restrictions, soon, hemp gradually faded out of our minds. And, of course, the unjustifiable stigma lingered for the centuries between.
After several years, science has confirmed the non-intoxicating nature of the hemp plant.
Marijuana and hemp are both members of the cannabis family. From mere looks, it may be difficult – or impossible – to tell them apart.
Both variants contain significant doses of cannabinoids and other phytochemicals, which account for their common therapeutic potentials.
However, one notable difference between hemp and marijuana is the THC concentration.
The Farm Bill states, categorically, that hemp products are considered legal only if they contain less than .3 percent THC. Hence, from a legal angle – which counts most in this discussion – the THC concentration distinguishes hemp from marijuana.
With the signing of the hemp bill, hemp plant is no longer regulated by the Justice Department. Thenceforth, the Department of Agriculture oversees hemp-related activities.
So, instead of serving a federal punishment, farmers of hemp products with over the legal .3 percent THC benchmark are banned from selling the product.
The deal also allows ex-offenders with drug-related crimes to access job opportunities in the hemp sector – but, at least, ten years after their sentence.
What does it mean for farmers?
Before the Bill, the US imported hemp from China. Asians had a 70 percent share of the hemp market.
With the ban lift on hemp product, American farmers now have an opportunity to explore the billion-dollar industry.
The hemp bill allows farmers to access crop insurance to cover their plants during a natural disaster or harsh weather.
China-sourced hemp is thought to contain environmental contaminants. This, first, reduces the compounds’ potency and then expose users to high toxicity.
The handling, packaging, and storage factors while on transit may stress the herbs and degrade its chemical composition.
Thankfully, now, consumers can get fresher and better quality CBD products from local sources.
Again, hemp is now very much readily available, both for consumption and further research into its therapeutic possibilities.
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