CA Cannabis Report

Is Hemp Legal In The US?

The popularity of hemp as a variety of cannabis begun to decline in the 1930s upon its classification as marijuana under the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. The law provided for heavy taxation of the proceeds of the plant, a move that led to a drastic decline in the hemp industry. The Controlled Act of 1970 grouped hemp as a Schedule 1 drug.

In December 2018, the US Congress agreed reached a consensus about the final form and substance of the 2018 Farm Bill and signed into law by President Trump. The signing into law of the Farm Bill 2018 that legalizes hemp provides US citizens, especially growers of the plant. The debate regarding the legalization of cannabis has been around for decades and while many states have enacted laws legalizing the plant, such laws have been limited to the CBD, which is known to lack qualities that cause the “high” sensations.

According to the law, hemp has been defined as a cannabis plant, but except that it cannot contain more than 0.3% of THC, a component that is known to cause people to have a feeling of high sensation or euphoria. In other words, hemp is not expected to get users high. For many years, the slow acceptance of hemp was because the federal law classified hemp alongside other schedule 1 substances. The fact that the law did not appreciate the differences between hemp and other cannabis plants made it impossible for it to be allowed. The first law regulating cannabis known as the Marijuana Tax Act and later made illegal upon the enactment of the Controlled Substances Act. This law prohibited all kinds of cannabis in the US. Over the years, attempts have been made to push for a policy and legal framework to transform the conceptions and treatment of hemp. Here is what legalization of hemp in the US means:

Hemp is legal but with Serious Restrictions

The new policy allowed pilot study programs to help study the nature and medical significance of hemp that would later be known as industrial hemp. The US Department of Agriculture and the state department of agriculture were primarily charged with the responsibility to conduct research and development of policy frameworks that promote the expansion of hemp cultivation. The law has allowed the transfer of hemp-derived products in limited applications. However, the law does not disallow sale, distribution or possession of hemp-related products provided that the products are in line with the provisions of the law.

It is worth noting that the Farm Bill 2018 does not provide a free range for individuals and businesses to grow hemp as they wish. Here are some of the restrictions you may want to know:

It must not be more than 0.3 percent of hemp
According to section 10113 of the law, the THC content in hemp must not exceed 0.3 percent. What this means is that any cannabis that contains THC of more than 0.3 percent is therefore non-hemp under the law and as such, any person found in its possession does not enjoy the protection of the law.

There’s state and Federal Regulation

According to the law, there is a shared power between the states and the federal government over the production of hemp. The law provides that the state departments of agriculture should consult with the enforcement agents to develop a plan that should regulate and license the sale and production of hemp. The US Department of Agriculture will take over in states that have elected not to formulate a regulatory framework under which the production of hemp can be licensed.

Definition of what is a violation of the law

The law defines what is considered violations of law such as cultivating without a license or preparing cannabis with a THC content of more than 0.3 percent). The law clearly outlines the possible punishments for similar violations and defines what qualifies to be classified as felonies under the law. In summary, the law doesn’t create a free system in which individuals and businesses can freely grow cannabis just like they can grow other crops.

The enactment of the law notwithstanding, the CBD will remain largely unprotected and illegal. The Food and Drug Administration issued a statement that too despite the new law about hemp, CBD is still regarded as a drug. However, proponents of cannabis have said that they will continue to push for approval of cannabis and for the relaxation of the CBD rules. The law gives the US Department of agriculture the authority to renew the piece of regulatory policies every five years in line with the changing circumstances.

The Farm Bill 2018 is expected to boost the production and sale of hemp. The US is likely to leverage on the new law to cash on the multi-billion plant. However, the growing of the plant will be regulated not to allow for unlimited production of this special plant.