This week’s biggest CBD industry development was the passage of the Farm Bill on Wednesday.
Both chambers of Congress have now given their stamp of approval. This means that as soon as the President signs it into law, the new rules will take immediate effect.
The bill, formally known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, contains a number of changes to how hemp will be regulated in the United States. It ends the 2014 Farm Bill’s requirements that hemp could be grown only under state pilot programs, and legalizes the crop nationwide.
It also explicitly removes hemp and hemp-derived cannabinoids like CBD from the Controlled Substances list.
So, what does this mean for consumers?
Well, there are still some questions about the future of CBD.
In the past, the DEA had argued that all cannabis extracts, whether derived from hemp or high-THC strains, were Schedule 1 substances. Now, hemp is clearly shifting from the purview of the DEA and it will be regulated like other agricultural crops.
But individual states will be able to submit plans for regulating hemp and CBD, just like they can with alcohol. So, federal hemp legalization may end up looking very different from state to state.
And because the FDA has not approved CBD as a food additive or supplement, it’s unclear how the agency will proceed with CBD and other cannabinoids now that the Farm Bill has passed.
In Alabama, Attorney General Steve Marshall updated a public notice on the legal status of CBD.
As a result of the 2018 Farm Bill, the notice states, “CBD derived from industrial hemp, with a THC concentration of not more than .3%, can be legally produced, sold, and possessed in the State of Alabama.”
Alabama had previously only allowed people to possess CBD oil for the treatment of seizure disorders, and the state had taken a hardline position on retailers who tried to sell CBD products in their stores.
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The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission was not happy when one horse’s post-race drug test came back positive for cannabidiol.
In response, the commission voted to categorize CBD as a “class B” drug. The penalty for using these substances may include suspension and fines.
The World Health Organization disappointed cannabis advocates when they declined to release their recommendations for the international scheduling of cannabis last Friday in Vienna.
The WHO report had been eagerly anticipated, but while the organization issued recommendations on other drugs, said they “needed more time to complete the evaluation process of its review of cannabis.”
The delay is cause for concern because UN member states plan to vote on cannabis scheduling in March of 2019. And the WHO’s recommendations and analysis may play an important role in determining how those members ultimately vote on the issue.
New York state issued new, strict rules for CBD this week.
The state’s new rules ban CBD food additive, suppository, and vape manufacturing, and introduce a new license category for hemp-derived CBD.
The state will allow certain CBD-infused foods and beverages to be sold, but they will be sold as dietary supplements, and will be subject to the same testing as medical cannabis products.
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