A proposed statute that lawmakers eventually folded into the 2018 United States farm bill, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 cleared the way for hemp cultivation across the nation. Prior to the law’s passing, cannabis — and by extension, hemp — had been illegal for decades. Here’s everything you need to know about the bill that made Cannaflower’s hemp buds legal throughout the country.
Broadly Speaking, What Is the Hemp Farming Act of 2018?
Laws passed between 1937 and 1950 snuffed out industrial hemp production in the United States. In the 1990s, pro-hemp lawmakers started submitting several bills and motions recommending the crop as versatile and valuable enough to be stockpiled.
The campaign steadily grew, and in 2018, legislators folded the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 into law. Specifically, the act removed cannabis products containing less than 0.3 THC — the psychoactive chemical endemic to cannabis plants that cause a “high” — from the Schedule I controlled substances list. It also made the Cannabis sativa plant a regular crop commodity, like wheat or corn.
The legislative shift created a lucrative new agricultural opportunity, and prospective hemp farmers were able to seek legitimate financial assistance and government subsidies to plant cannabis crops for the first time in decades.
What Are the Main Outcomes of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018?
To be clear, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 didn’t make “let’s-get-high” cannabis legal in the United States. It’s a particular statute with limited allowances.
These are the six main points to understand. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018:
- Limits THC crop levels to 0.3 percent
- Requires hemp flower farmers to obtain USDA approval to grow the crop
- Establishes a set of strict regulations around hemp farming
- Demands that growers secure approval by state officials, federal officials, and law enforcement agencies before starting the cultivation process
- Clears a path for hemp and CBD research
- Reserves water rights and access to federal agricultural grants for hemp growers
Due to the act’s parameters, hemp cultivators were finally able to approach banks regarding loans — something they previously couldn’t do since the plant was a controlled, criminal substance. Moreover, thanks to the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, farmers in the niche could finally get crop insurance for cannabis fields.
What Is Hemp’s Future In the United States?
Hemp — and cannabis-product sales in general — are a booming new American industry. Since 2012, the country’s entire west coast — including Alaska and Hawaii — has legalized recreational marijuana, as have Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, and a trio of New England states. Plus, all but five states — Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Kansas — have legalized medical marijuana in some form. And note that even in states where medical marijuana consumption is still outlawed, hemp farming is allowed in some capacity.
In addition to dispensaries, an offshoot industry sprouted up around marijuana legalization: CBD and hemp products, neither of which make you “high” but derive from the same Cannabis sativa plant.
States that legalized cannabis have enjoyed windfall tax revenues. As other jurisdictions start to see the industry as a surefire moneymaker, legalization is likely to sweep the nation — because, at the end of the (expensive) day, every state wants to fill its coffers.
Moreover, as the prevalence of medical marijuana expands, scientists are conducting more research, and exciting discoveries are being made that signal a bright future for palliative cannabis products — both on a prescription level and over-the-counter CBD solutions.
The Hemp Farming Act of 2018
So that’s the long and short of it: the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 essentially legalized hemp growing in the United States. But it’s not a free-for-all; you can’t buy acreage and just start growing. Hemp cultivation and manufacturing are strictly regulated — and violation punishments are harsh.