Will “Hemp for Victory” make a comeback? Congress passes 2018 Farm Bill

December 12, 2018

Today the US House followed the Senate, and passed the 2018 Farm Bill.  Importantly for the cannabis industry, the Farm Bill includes a provision legalizing hemp. (Buried in its 807 pages) Now it is off to the President’s desk, where he is expected to sign it soon. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said President Donald Trump is free to borrow his hemp pen to sign the 2018 Farm Bill. https://www.marijuanamoment.net/mitch-mcconnell-says-trump-can-borrow-his-hemp-pen-to-sign-farm-bill-into-law/

This long overdue legislation returns hemp to its rightful status as simply a plant, one that should not have been criminalized in the first place.  The legislation transforms the “industrial hemp” plant, from a Schedule I matter having no use purpose under the Controlled Substances Act (https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/21cfr/21usc/811.htm) to another farm commodity.  A farm commodity that is treated slightly different from others, but still a farm commodity.

The US Department of Agriculture is given the task to create new rules for the oversight of hemp production in the US.  The Department is required to consult with the US Attorney General when creating the new rules.   State hemp programs must be in alignment with the new rules.

Unfortunately, the Farm Bill creates a 10-year ban on folks who have been convicted a “drug” felony from participating in the hemp industry, except for people already growing hemp under a state pilot project, which is the current status of Oregon’s industrial hemp program.

Interstate commerce in hemp and hemp derived CBD will be allowed.

Federally backed farm support programs, including crop insurance, federal water access and low-interest loans will be available for hemp farmers.

Patents and trademarks under federal law will be available.