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Congress Finally Legalizes Hemp

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Recently, the 2014 US Farm Bill that Congress passed is one of the most talked about topics in the cannabis industry. It should be noted, however, that the bill doesn’t legalize the use of marijuana for recreational purposes but only for medical use, and only allows the non-psychoactive forms of cannabis. Although the Congress did legalize the hemp in an important way, it does so in a small way. It carved out an exception to the exact definition of cannabis.

Understanding the Farm Bill

According to the Bill, the Dept. of Agriculture allows for the cultivation of industrial hemp for the purpose of research that’s conducted for an agricultural pilot program and for other academic or agricultural research. Furthermore, the research must be done under the laws imposed by the state in which the institution of the higher education is located.

In the past, farmers are faced with lots of barriers to cultivating hemp because of the federal prohibition and this includes restricted access to funding, insurance, water rights etc. With the approval of the Farm Bill, all these restrictions have been lifted. There has been limited research on hemp in the past and it has already been deemed legal to distribute hemp products in the market. However, the cultivation of cannabis is still banned in several cases.

Although hemp is sourced from cannabis, it’s not something that will make you high, contrary to what many people think. Instead, it’s used in making several products. Aside from food, it’s also used for clothing, cardboard, paper, and even building materials.

Problems with the Legalization

Experts have seen some problems in the way the Congress has legalized cannabis. For one, the Farm Bill is not clear on what really constitutes “research” and didn’t specify how to source and transport the hemp that will be used for research. Furthermore, the bill is silent regarding the legality of the constituent compounds of the hemp such as the THC and CBD.

Yet the most significant problem about the Farm Bill, especially in the industrial sector, is that it doesn’t come with a provision regarding the transportation of hemp from one state to another. What this means is that while it may be possible to grow hemp, which the Farm Bill allows, it can only remain in the state where the product was grown.

What the Farm Bill Means for Everybody

Historically, the production and sale of hemp have been banned under federal law, which also prohibits the use and distribution of marijuana. The Farm Bill that the Congress has passed will not legalize the use of pot for recreational use because it only deals with hemp. Nevertheless, the Farm Bill can be seen as a huge victory for the CBD industry. Yet there are still lots of hurdles and challenges to face. Most importantly, the FDA has recently sent letters to some CBD companies regarding their regulations on the sale and distribution of CBD and hemp oil.

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