Hemp-tastic News in 2018 Farm Bill
On December 20, 2018, President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill that changed federal policy regarding hemp. This will remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and will move regulation and enforcement of the crop from the Drug Enforcement Agency to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Under this Bill, states may apply for primacy over their hemp program, but must submit a plan for testing methods, tracking land where hemp is grown, and disposal of plants that test higher than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
Paving the way for this new Farm Bill was the 2014 Farm Bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that allowed states to secure hemp pilot programs within their own states. In the years since the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, at least 35 states have introduced pilot programs. In Tennessee alone, there were over 2,000 applicants to grow hemp compared to only a few hundred the year before.
Currently, China produces 50% of the worlds cannabis supply with the majority of this being hemp. By comparison, farmers in the United States grew only 25,000 acres in 2017. However, this will likely change because now farmers and entrepreneurs in the United States have an opportunity to grow hemp without fear of getting in trouble. Another positive is that since hemp now will be classified as agriculture, farmers will be able to get crop insurance, as they do with their other crops. Crop insurance, better known as Multiple Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI), covers loss of crop yields from all types of natural causes including drought, excessive moisture, freeze and disease. Newer coverage options combine yield protection and price protection to guard farmers against potential loss in revenue, whether due to low yields or changes in market price.
There are hundreds of uses for hemp such as textiles, plastics, clothes, and paper to name a few, but one of the most exciting applications of hemp lies within the extracted cannabidiol (CBD) oil. Many studies show that CBD oil can be used in the treatment of medical conditions like epilepsy, anxiety, depression, sleep issues, and cancer. With new legalization of hemp, CBD can now be regulated and researched much more than in years past, opening the doors to clinical trials so we can genuinely learn the many benefits of CBD as they relate to medical conditions.