What is this 'Farm Bill' all about? Has the U.S. really legalized CBD?

Just before Christmas, the hemp world was hit with sensational news: Donald Trump just legalized hemp and CBD across the US! You yourselves know how much our environment loves sensationalism - and how little we sometimes want to thoroughly verify the news ???? So everyone started spinning visions of a cannabidiol bonanza, and even wrote something about the imminent legalization of MJ in the US. The fact is, however, that the amendment to the federal Farm Bill - known as the Farm Bill - signed by Trump on December 20 means quite a change for the status of hemp in the States. But what exactly is in the new legislation? What does the Farm Bill mean for the U.S. (and global) market for CBD products? Let's check it out.

What exactly is the Farm Bill and the Hemp Act?

The 'Farm Bill' is nothing more than a big law regulating the cultivation and processing of crops in the US at the federal level (let's not forget that the US is a federal state and many local, state regulations may differ from the - theoretically superior - nationwide, i.e. federal regulations). The full name of this piece of legislation known as the 'Farm Bill' is the 'Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018'. Over the course of the past year, it became increasingly urgent to vote on the new law, as some provisions from the previous law, i.e. the 2014 law, were beginning to expire. Despite some problems in voting on the new legislation, a consensus was finally reached at the end of the year. The Senate and Congress approved the Farm Bill in early December last year, and the big law only needed the president's signature to go into effect.

Donal Trump has now signed the Farm Bill. This could have a huge impact on changing global policy on hemp.

We are interested in one particular group of provisions, included in the 'Farm Bill' - this is, of course, the 'Hemp Act' treating hemp, whose full name is the 'Hemp Farming Act of 2018'. Thanks to the persistence of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConell, it has been an integral part of the 'Farm Bill' from the beginning. It's worth knowing that the 'Hemp Act', voted on late last year, was not the first attempt to regulate hemp at the federal level - a comprehensive 'Hemp Farming Act' was already attempted without success in 2005-2007 and 2015-2017; in 2014, only a narrow and restrictive pilot program for hemp managed to pass. And while we're at it, it's time to answer the question -.

What changes does the new Farm Bill introduce?

Until the passage of the 'Hemp Act,' the cultivation and processing of hemp was regulated by each individual state. Some of these laws were quite restrictive, even in states that had long since legalized medical or 'recreational' marijuana, leading to absurd situations where you could legally smoke joints, but possessing CBD oil could get you in trouble (this was the case in Utah, for example). Other states looked at hemp and CBD with a friendlier eye, but their legislation was in open conflict with federal regulations. After all, hemp and its constituents were still in Group I (Schedule I) of the Controlled Substances Act, and the 2014 legislation allowed them to be grown only in a handful of pilot programs. Conflict between state and federal regulations is not unique in the US, but in the case of hemp growers and producers of hemp oils, for example, it effectively clipped their wings - as it became impossible not only to transport hemp products between states or to advertise them, but even... to open a hemp business bank account.

More and more farmers are switching from tobacco to hemp. Above, a scene from the hemp harvest of the $10 bill.

The most important change introduced in the 'Hemp Act' has thus become the deletion of hemp from Group I of the Controlled Substances Act

. Specifically - this applies to Cannabis Sativa L. plants with a THC content of less than 0.3% (as you can see, US regulations are now a bit more liberal on this issue than ours).

Thenew law classifies hemp as an "agricultural commodity,"

guaranteeing hemp growers a number of rights that "ordinary" farmers take for granted: the right to access water, the federal subsidy system and the banking system. The new law also permits the advertising of hemp products and their transportation between state borders, as well as crop insurance.

end of part 1