Last month, after landslide approval in the U.S. House of Representatives, President Trump signed into law the 2018 Farm Bill. While this omnibus legislation touches many industries and families, we’ve identified five key facts which investors, inventors, farmers and other businesses interested in hemp cultivation or CBD processing should know.

1. It’s not exactly an open market

This is not the end of regulation. Cultivators still need a license. According to Section 10111 of the 2018 Farm Bill, each state’s department of agriculture still must consult with their governor and top law enforcement officers and devise a plan that must be submitted to the USDA. A state’s plan to license and regulate hemp can only commence once the Secretary of USDA approves that state’s plan.

2. Legal for good reason

Naturally occurring THC in hemp plants is still tightly controlled and must be kept below the previously prescribed 0.3% to qualify as hemp. However, hemp legalization enjoys broad bipartisan support and lawmakers recognize the growing economic potential of industrial hemp. With its ability to reach across both sides of the legislation aisle, hemp-derived CBD products will continue to flood the market as consumers become more accepting of CBD’s non-psychoactive properties.  

3. Legitimacy courts protection

Hemp farmers now enjoy protections previously unavailable to them, such as the ability to obtain insurance against unexpected crop losses incurred during a normal production cycle or natural disasters (and clearly outlined criterion). These protections were enacted in 1946, and now extend to hemp as outlined in section 11101, the main hemp provision of the 2018 Farm Bill.

4. State-sanctioned assistance now available

One of the material benefits of legitimacy is that states are now able to appropriate grant money to hemp cultivation, if those efforts further our understanding of the plant. Research and development grant money is now available and varies by state. Maine, for example, has allowed up to $50,000.00 for select projects.

5. We are witnessing a paradigm shift

Much discussion surrounding the 2018 Farm Bill has been focused on what it affords farmers structurally and what those steps mean to the agricultural complex. But little media attention has been paid to effects on our collective social consciousness. Legitimacy is the fuel of progress. Almost all scientific discovery at some point needed to breakdown a taboo or other barrier to reveal the truth of a thing.

What have you found to be most interesting—or confusing—about the 2018 Farm Bill?

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Imagine what this discussion will look like 20 years from now!

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