The Farm Bill of 2018 has been a major step forward in the reform of hemp policy in the United States. This legislation, spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has been a major boon for the hemp industry, providing a much-needed regulatory framework for hemp production. The bill establishes a National Hemp Production Program, which will provide federal oversight of hemp production in the US. Under this program, states can choose to design their own hemp regulatory program or have the USDA develop one for them.
In either case, hemp growers must apply for licenses and comply with the program's regulations. The bill also sets a THC limit of 0.3%, meaning any cannabis plant containing more than this amount would be considered marijuana and have no legal protection. The Farm Bill has been welcomed by many members of the activist community, who hope that it will be a first step towards broader cannabis reform. It has also been praised by advocates for Leader McConnell's management of the hemp provisions and his leadership in general.
The uniformity provided by the bill could help to allay fears that hemp is being confused with its illegal cousin at the federal level, and help to prevent companies from banning hemp products. However, it is important to note that the Farm Bill does not change the fact that any cannabis-related programs are still illegal under federal law. Furthermore, while CBD is gaining attention due to its potential health benefits, it is not legalized under this bill. The FDA is sending out warning letters to companies selling CBD foods and beverages while the hemp industry awaits regulations. The Farm Bill is an important step forward for the hemp industry, but more can and should be done to ensure that hemp remains a stable agricultural product. Federal guidelines should help reduce operating and compliance costs for both hemp companies and farmers.
It is also important to remember that most parts of the valuable architecture of a hemp plant contain no THC at all.