(This is an abridged version of a story that appears at Hemp Industry Daily. This story has been updated with the full Senate approving the 2018 Farm Bill.)
A long-awaited end to five decades of hemp prohibition has been approved by a House-Senate panel, potentially opening the door to hemp production in all 50 states for any use – including CBD.
The measure is included in the 2018 Farm Bill, which passed the Senate 87-13 on Tuesday and still must pass the House before work is concluded for the year and all pending legislation dies.
BREAKING: Senate approves 2018 Farm Bill compromise 87-13, sending measure to House for one more vote. Then to President Donald Trump. #hemp industry anxiously awaiting final approval.
— Kristen Nichols (@kristenwnichols) December 11, 2018
Final approval of the landmark legislation would open many new business opportunities for hemp companies as well as marijuana businesses that want to diversify into a crop that would be fully legal in the eyes of the federal government.
In addition to lifting restrictions on advertising, marketing, banking and other financial services, the passage of the measure would:
- Allow hemp production in all 50 states for any use, including flower production and CBD or other cannabinoid extraction. States will have the option to submit their own plans to regulate hemp.
- Spell out that licensed hemp producers who grow cannabis plants that exceed the THC limitation of 0.3% will not be guilty of a drug crime but instead must submit a plan to correct the “hot” hemp.
- Allow interstate commerce for hemp and hemp-derived CBD.
- Give the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the job of overseeing hemp production, with direction to come up with rules “as expeditiously as practicable.”
- Legalize hemp production in U.S. territories and on Indian tribal land – which was not included under the 2014 Farm Bill.
- Give the industry access to federally backed farm support programs, including crop insurance, federal water access and low-interest loans for new farmers.
- Allow hemp producers to “bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill “temporary agricultural jobs.”
- Remove barriers to getting intellectual property protections under federal law, such as patents and trademarks.
- Set a 10-year ban under which state or federal drug felons cannot participate in the hemp program, except for people already growing hemp under a state pilot project (as established by the 2014 Farm Bill).
- Require the USDA to consult with the U.S. attorney general on the hemp rules.
(Click here to read more about the ramifications of the compromise.)
Kristen Nichols can be reached at [email protected]