About every five years or so, Congress passes a new Farm Bill that shapes the agricultural industry. This particular Bill has a huge impact on how and what types of crops are grown.
On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed the new $867-billion Farm Bill into legislation. Among many other laws and regulations, the Bill differentiates hemp and marijuana and legalizes the commercial production of hemp, or cannabis that contains less than .3% THC. This legislation ends decades of hemp prohibition and removes it from the Controlled Substances Act which means that the Drug Enforcement Agency will no longer regulate and control the crop and instead, it will be treated as an agricultural product. The Bill allows farmers to legally grow hemp, leading to job growth and economic stimulation and it makes things like obtaining banking services, finding investors, placing advertisements and engaging with credit card companies easier for hemp and hemp-related companies. The Bill also has a provision to allow farmers to secure true crop insurance on their plants. This is a game changing provision and the insurance industry is working rapidly to respond. Additionally, it opens the door for future testing and research in order to determine the health, wellness and nutritional benefits of hemp-based products.
Among products such as paper, dietary supplements, building materials and textiles, hemp is also the plant used to produce CBD oil, which is gaining popularity due to its therapeutic properties. This popularity is sure to grow exponentially with the legalization of the crop.
Overall, the 2018 Farm Bill is a transformative moment for farmers, hemp-related companies and consumers, and is a monumental step in normalizing the acceptance of cannabis nationwide.