2018 Farm Bill: Hemp is Now Permanently Legal for First Time in 40 Years

2018 farm bill

The 2018 Farm Bill Has Passed

Hemp, hemp, hooray! Congress has officially passed the 2018 Farm Bill, making hemp completely and permanently federally legal for the first time in over 40 years.

Earlier this year, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) proposed including the entire language of The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 in the Senate’s version of the 2018 Farm Bill. This language included amendments to several major laws, the most important of them being removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The deadline for passing the 2018 Farm Bill was originally September 30th. However, due to drastically different versions of the bill and thus needed to appoint a Conference Committee to iron out the discrepancies.

One of the biggest points of contention was that the House’s version of the bill included severe changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the program responsible for providing food stamps to those in need. Their bill would have imposed new work requirements on those ages 49 to 59 as well as parents with children ages 6 to 12 in order for them to be eligible for the program. This would have caused an estimated 1.1 million households currently enrolled in the program to lose access.

Fortunately, the final bill does not include this amendment. It does contain a lot of other new measures that are worth reading up on, though. Check out the full text of the bill here, or get a summary of the key points here

Jonathan Miller, general counsel to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, provided his own summary of what the final bill means for hemp:

  • Hemp is permanently removed from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). It is now recognized as an agricultural commodity separate from marijuana, which is still a controlled substance.
  • By redefining hemp to include its "extracts, cannabinoids and derivatives," Congress explicitly has removed hemp products like CBD from the purview of the CSA. Likewise, the Drug Enforcement Administration no longer has any possible claim to interfere with the interstate commerce of hemp products. This should give comfort to federally regulated institutions, including banks, merchant services, credit card companies, e-commerce sites, and advertising platforms, to conduct commerce with the hemp industry.
  • Hemp farmers may access needed crop insurance and can fully participate in USDA programs for certification and competitive grants.
  • State and Tribal governments may impose separate restrictions or requirements on hemp growth and the sale of hemp products, as long as they do not interfere with the interstate transport of hemp or hemp products.
  • The FDA continues to exercise jurisdiction over the regulation of ingestible and topical hemp products.

Here at Bluebird Botanicals, our mission is to make happy and healthy lifestyles radically accessible to everyone. Today, our power to do so has increased ten-fold, all because of our passionate and supportive community. We would like to offer our most sincere gratitude to the incredible leaders and organizations in the hemp industry that have led the charge. This includes our colleagues at the U.S. Hemp Roundtable as well as our friends with the American Herbal Products Association, National Hemp Association, the Hemp Industries Association, Hemp History Week, and VoteHemp. These organizations have all demonstrated an unwavering commitment to pushing forward hemp legalization, and this day truly would not have come without them.

To all of our hemp warriors who contacted their legislators to share their support, we also cannot thank you enough. By sharing your voice, you’ve helped make a permanent change that will impact thousands of lives for good.