Today, the House of Representatives followed the Senate in approving the 2018 Farm Bill.
Cue the confetti, because this is a big deal for CBD consumers.
That’s because the new law contains provisions that will explicitly make hemp legal throughout the United States. It also clearly and permanently removes hemp and hemp-derived cannabinoids like CBD from the Controlled Substances list. (For more detail, the US Hemp Roundtable published an excellent summary of the hemp-related portions of the bill here.)
Now that both chambers of Congress have given the bill the thumbs up, the bill will go into effect as soon as the President signs it into law. And because he has already expressed support for the bill, this is expected to happen very soon.
So, how are people in the industry reacting to the news?
We spoke to leaders and influencers in the hemp, cannabis, and CBD fields to get their responses to the 2018 Farm Bill. Read on to see what they have to say about this pivotal piece of legislation.
Partner, Margolin & Lawrence
Since 1970, all cannabis products including industrial hemp have been included on Schedule 1 of the federal Controlled Substances Act, making them illegal nationwide and imposing harsh criminal penalties.
Despite the federal ban, CBD products are now widely sold all over the country, leading to widespread confusion over what is allowed and a lack of enforcement of the federal laws.
The Farm Bill will remove the federal ban on industrial hemp (and CBD products derived from hemp), allowing individual states to regulate their sale and production as they do with alcohol. This will be a welcome step for CBD consumers in many places, although individual states may continue to restrict hemp and CBD under state law.
Member-in-Charge, Frost Brown Todd
General Counsel, US Hemp Roundtable
The era of hemp prohibition is over.
Today, Congress has declared that the 2014 pilot program experiment has been an unqualified success. Thousands of jobs have already been created across the country, and American farmers realize that this is a meaningful economic opportunity.
We now foresee a multi-billion dollar industry, bringing jobs and economic development to American farmers and small businesses.
Hemp is now permanently removed from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). It is forever deemed an agricultural commodity, no longer mistaken as a controlled substance, like marijuana.
By redefining hemp to include its “extracts, cannabinoids and derivatives,” Congress explicitly has removed popular hemp products — such as hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) — from the purview of the CSA. Accordingly, the Drug Enforcement Administration no longer has any possible claim to interfere with the interstate commerce of hemp products. This should give comfort to federally regulated institutions — banks, merchant services, credit card companies, e-commerce sites and advertising platforms — to conduct commerce with the hemp and hemp product industry.
To us, access is everything.
People have been deprived of the benefits of hemp for far too long, and seeing this bill pass is a huge step not only for customers, but also for everyone in this entire industry.
This will only help the industry to grow and mature, which also means safer products and more transparency for the customers.
We feel honored to be involved in the industry at a time like this.
Dr. Rachna Patel
Medical Marijuana & CBD Oil Expert
From a legal standpoint, consumers who have been worried about the legality of hemp-derived CBD won’t have to be as concerned about that anymore.
Some people will be able to reduce their reliance on opioids and potentially damaging over-the-counter medications like Tylenol and ibuprofen.
There are two sides to the coin, though. There’s a lot of hype around CBD that isn’t medically justified. We’re going to see more people finding that it doesn’t work for them.
I also worry about people with cancer and other serious conditions forgoing traditional medical treatment in favor of CBD. There is going to be a lot of confusion about how to use CBD effectively.
Chief Science Officer, Bluebird Botanicals
Finally, hemp can be restored to its rightful place as a treasured American agricultural commodity. The 2018 Farm Bill returns the country to a sane stance on one of humanity’s oldest plant partners and the source of those cannabinoids that are helpful to the health of so many.
We commend our lawmakers for finalizing the exemption of hemp-derived CBD, for allowing the nation’s farmers to confidently enter this booming industry, and for unshackling the power of this vital plant.
Experts predict that the hemp-CBD market will soon be larger than the marijuana industry and this law will be the rocket booster that fires it to those heights. Bluebird is proud to have worked with key federal legislators on drafting and passing this seminal piece of legislation.
Marketing Director & Events Coordinator, Hemp Farmacy
I am encouraged by the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill and what it means for the normalization of cannabis in the United States.
The new language creates greater clarity for our customers, competitors, and companies who manufacture the products we sell. We are thrilled to see greater opportunity for farmers, who will now be able to secure federal loans and crop insurance—creating more stability in our industry.
My hope is that small businesses will continue to see the support of the communities they have been serving as larger corporations enter the market.
While the new law will bring welcome clarity and remove unnecessary restrictions on the CBD industry, there are still some questions.
For example, the FDA will be a big player in CBD’s future status as a supplement or food ingredient. And it’s not yet clear how individual states will handle the change.
In the meantime, do you want to know whether your state currently has CBD-related laws on the books? Check out our interactive map here: Is CBD Legal in Your State?
And stay tuned; we’ll be covering new developments as the new legislation takes effect.