In this Article we want to talk to you about the new hemp laws for 2019. What’s the same? What’s different? What can we expect to see upcoming this year. December 20th 2018 was a historic day for the cannabis plant in the United States of America, when the President signed into law the agricultural Improvement Act, otherwise known as the 2018 farm bill.
And contained in that act were the magical combination of words to formally remove hemp from the Controlled Substances list, separate it from marijuana and treat it like a standard agricultural commodity on the same page as wheat, corn and soy.
The new Farm Bill – Changes for the hemp industry 2019
Commodities are so important to American agriculture. This is a big deal for a few reasons. But basically hemp is fully legal for the first time since the 1930s. Overall this is really, really good news. And here are some of the main positive changes that immediately are going to take effect from these new laws.
- Hemp is officially removed from the Controlled Substances list and separated by definition from marijuana. Before this it was wrapped up with marijuana and was included in the Controlled Substances list as a Schedule one drug, in the same category as heroin which was totally absurd.
- The definition of hemp has been expanded to include CBD, cannabinoids and other derived products from hemp. So it’s not just the stock and the seed anymore.
- These laws also make it so, that the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) is in charge of the hemp laws on a federal level. This Act allows for states, local and tribal governments to create their own hemp laws. Different from the federal law as long as the USDA approves of them.
With all those positive changes, it means that hemp farmers are now going to be able to get crop insurance, apply for federal grants and loans. Also they can apply for certain crop certifications in different government programs. And lastly, it specifically states that the interstate trade of hemp products and hemp material is allowed.
Less positive and changes that are not yet clear
Some less positive language that was in this agriculture improvement act relates to felons. Specifically, that felons are not allowed to participate in the hemp industry.
And the second kind of weird aspect to all this is, that the FDA now has say over how CBD can be treated and used in products. This is a good thing, because it’s no longer a matter of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) but now we have to wait for the FDA to come out with the right legislation.
This legislation reiterates, that the FDA has the authority to control how CBD and hemp derived compounds are used in consumable products.
The FDA has this authority because of something called “the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act”, which gives them the final say on which drug compounds or plant extracts can be used in ingestible products.
- Farm Bill 2018 – Changes for the Hemp Industry
- Epidiolex and the CBD Industry – Is it destroying Hemp & Marijuana Products?
What we can expect to see in 2019
What we can expect to see in 2019 is a few things. For one, we’re going to see more mainstream retailers feel okay bringing CBD products onto their shelves. Also we’re going to see ecommerce businesses. Banks, insurance agents and companies like that more able to freely work with hemp companies.
In the past, CBD companies have had to use high risk merchant processors that charge high fees. And they had some troubles with banking and getting loans. But now, hopefully all of that will start to go away with these new federal laws.
Hemp is not a matter of the DEA anymore
And as mentioned before, this is no longer a DEA matter. It’s a USDA and an FDA thing. So with all that being said, there’s still a lot of work that still needs to be done. For one, now that this federal change has been signed into law, it’s up to state and local governments to come up with their own policies and their own programs.
So that their local farmers can start participating in this industry. We’re also going to have to wait for major corporations and banks to change their own internal policies to reflect the new federal changes.
How is the FDA adapting to the new legislation?
And also, and this might be the most odd and important piece of the puzzle that still has yet to come together, but the FDA policy as it stands right now says that: CBD is not allowed in any food drink or dietary supplement.
And if you’re thinking: hey isn’t that practically every CBD product out there? Well, you’d be right. This policy by the FDA has been in place since before this new farm bill was passed. And the reality is that, the precedent has been set for the FDA not to take action.
Even though, they specifically state that they do not approve of CBD being used in supplements and drinks and foods, we see an abundance of that out on the market. And the only companies that they’ve ever given a warning letter to, have been companies that specifically make over-the-top health claims.
And so, although the FDA has yet to come out with a new statement to reflect these federal changes, they have come out and said: that they’re aware of the massive public interest in this space. And that they’re going to be reconsidering their position and coming out with a new statement soon. So whenever that does happen, you can be sure we will write another article covering the new FDA policies.
In the meantime, what you can do to support this emerging hemp industry is to purchase hemp products from quality brands. Not only is it good for your health but it’s also good for the environment and it’s good for this young industry that needs all the support that it can get.
These new hemp laws completely remove it from marijuana on a federal level. Allow it to be a normal agricultural commodity that farmer can start grow on their fields this upcoming planting season. And it allows totally unrestricted access for interstate trade and is going to open up into larger retailers, big banks and other corporations will be able to work with hemp companies in a much freer and out in the open way.