With the approvals of the United States Senate, House and finally President Donald Trump, the 2018 Farm Bill has passed, which legalizes industrial hemp at the federal level—marking the first time since former President Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act in 1970 that hemp has been fully legal and distinguished from psychoactive cannabis.
The spending bill, also known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, authorizes funding for industrial agricultural hemp programs. Most importantly for cannabis advocates, however, section 12619 of the Farm Bill removes hemp-derived products from Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act. That means that hemp products can once again flourish in America.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2018
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signed the final draft of the 2018 Farm Bill with a pen made from hemp on Dec. 10. On Dec. 11, with an 87-to-13 vote, the Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill. On Dec. 20, President Trump signed the bill. The Farm Bill includes McConnell’s legislation to legalize industrial hemp on the federal level and is expected to be a milestone for hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) companies.
Hemp reform has evolved into a bipartisan issue, with support coming from nearly all political parties. Nearly 40 states have already enacted laws to allow hemp cultivation and production. Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma recently passed hemp research bills. Last March, McConnell introduced legislation to deschedule hemp on the federal level, and on April 24, announced that he would be adding that legislation to the 2018 Farm Bill.
Hemp and cannabis, of course, are of the same genus of flowering plants in the cannabaceae family. Three species or subspecies—cannabis sativa, cannabis indica and cannabis ruderalis—make up what we now call cannabis.
Section 7606 of the 2018 Farm Bill defines industrial hemp as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
Read the 807-page bill in its entirety here.