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The 2018 Farm Bill that overwhelmingly passed in the U.S. Senate is expected to soon become law. For hemp growers and CBD-product manufacturers the big news is hemp will no longer be equated under drug laws with its psychotropic cousin, marijuana. Industry-watchers wonder what this step could mean for future cannabis legalization.
Under the new laws, hemp would be managed by Department of Agriculture as a crop rather than by the Justice Department as an illegal substance
Ed Schmults, chief executive of the multi-state cannabis grower Calyx Peak said the new law could reduce the price of CBD in the market for consumers and producers. “Hemp offers a lower cost option for CBD — hemp is easier to grow than cannabis,” he said.
Here are a few key Farm Bill points from Hoban Law Group’s Senior Attorney Steve Schain:
- Banks and payment processors/credit card companies can service the hemp industry
- Investment and capital infusion is allowed in both the oil and fibrous hemp businesses
- Interstate commerce of hemp and hemp products is allowed
- Convicted felons can join the industry 10 years after the bill passes
- Hemp farmers will be allowed to buy crop insurance for the first time.
- Hemp futures can be traded for the first time, locking in prices for farmers
- Help research will be allowed for pharmaceutical uses as well as for health, wellness and general nutrition, opening the doors for much more testing
Until now, for the most part, CBD product manufacturing and shipping across state lines has operated with little interference. In 2017, the FDA issued warning letters to several CBD companies, but those referred to health claims the companies were not allowed to make or dosages the companies claimed that were incorrect.
As public acceptance of CBD and marijuana products grows, public figures and lawmakers are changing their stance on the topic. Democrat Joe Kennedy, a Massachusetts congressman, had voted in the past against House amendments that allowed medical cannabis use. Recently he wrote an op-ed that said, “I believe legalization is our best chance to actually dedicate resources toward consumer safety, abuse prevention, and treatment for those who need it.”
Republicans are also supporting the idea. Hemp can be grown on tobacco fields like those in Kentucky, the state Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R) hails from.
Schmults says the Farm Bill signifies the US Government’s continued evolution on the topic. “We think the tide has turned significantly in America’s stance on cannabis decriminalization and this Farm Bill is a key first step towards this milestone.”
December 19, 2018 at 03:01PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs