Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the 2018 Farm Bill. Every five years, this humongous piece of legislation is renewed. Its content are vast, covering crops, export markets, food stamp recipients, forestry provisions, and a number of other programs and subsidies. But this Farm Bill is unique, because it also includes language that specifically legalizes industrial hemp. And from hemp comes CBD oil, which is enjoying a significant rise in popularity in its current legal gray area, which varies from one state to the next. Here’s why CBD is about to explode.
Five years ago, the 2014 Farm Bill relaxed certain federal regulations on the production of CBD. This one takes it even further by removing hemp and any hemp derivativefrom the Controlled Substances Act. That legally separates hemp from cannabis and puts it under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture (USDA). You’ve seen hemp fabric and paper, and probably hemp seed. But it’s the third use of hemp – cannabinoid oils – that’s expected to really skyrocket.
While the new bill is clear about changing the legality of hemp, there are still lots of questions. The law creates new regulations, with one mandating individual states to submit hemp cultivation plans to the USDA. If states don’t submit plans, individual producers will be able to submit their own plans to the federal government, but whether that will become problematic remains to be seen.
From a prescription standpoint, it seems that one hand of the government doesn’t know what the other is doing.CBD requires a doctor’s prescription in the eyes of the DEA. Under the Farm Bill, however, it won’t. That begs the question, when and where will DEA rules apply? As more drugs like Epidiolex become available, this will likely become a thorny issue.
Boilerplate language in the bill also gives states power to control CBD within their own borders. As it stands, all forms of cannabis are currently illegal in South Dakota, Nebraska, and Idaho. South Dakota actually has additional laws specifying CBD. That boilerplate language means these laws are likely to stand.
One of our favorite cultivators, Kynd Cannabis Company, wrote about the differences in CBD derived from cannabis and from hemp, and the nuances are important.There are a million valid uses for hemp-derived CBD, but it shouldn’t automatically be considered on par with CBD derived from cannabis. As companies capitalize on this legal change and dive into beauty, beverage, wellness and even pet industries with their bevy of CBD products, remember to be careful about what you buy. It’s never a bad idea to know where it comes from.
While we’re hopeful that this landmark bill will ultimately play a role in opening the door to federal legalization of cannabis, we’re also pragmatic. Senator Mitch McConnell, who is largely credited with spearheading the hemp amendment in this bill, made a point of stressing the differences between the two plants and spoke plainly that he has no intention of endorsing the legalization of marijuana, which he dubs hemp’s “illicit cousin.” Still, this is a step in the right direction and we can’t help but be happy about that.