Recently, on April 12th, a bill called the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley. If the bill is passed, this will mean that commercial cultivation of hemp will be legalized on a federal level. McConnell said that the legalization and empowerment of states in relation to the hemp production and distribution will help in creating employment opportunities. These opportunities created will help both manufacturers and farmers of the hemp plant in the US.
The legal situation of hemp today in the United States
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, hemp is categorized as schedule I substance together with marijuana. By being in this category, it means that the opportunities for commercialization and further research on these plants is restricted. Hemp can be farmed and sold legally, but only if it is industrial hemp that contains 0.3% THC in the final product, as written in the 2014 Farm Bill. At least 35 states in the US have this legislation which allows for cultivation of hemp for research purposes.
Legality of medical marijuana
With the increased and extensive research, it has been discovered that cannabidiol, which is a marijuana extract, can be used for medical purposes. The use of medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and recreational use is legal in 9 states.
Many doctors prescribe the use of cannabidiol to their patients with seizures and epilepsy. However, the use of this extract for medical purposes has been delayed due to the federal laws that have been placed against marijuana extracts distribution and consumption. This is a case that is yet to be decided and the approval of the bill or rejection will greatly determine the course of medicine by use of this hemp extract. If the bill is passed, then there is opportunity for further advancements in the production of hemp extracts for medical purposes.
How this legislation can help in the hemp industry
There are several ways in which this bill can help improve the hemp industry in the US, including:
- This legislation will enable USA hemp farmers to grow their produce in the USDA National Organic Program.
- Legalize commercial hemp between on a state level. This will also allow for the legalization of distribution and consumption of the hemp plant and hemp products like cannabidiol (CBD) oil. Further research into the hemp plant and venture on possible development and advancement opportunities.
- Allow hemp farmers to accesspublic water rights for their produce.
It is unclear if the bill will be passed or not, but if it is passed, then the US hemp farmers stand to benefit a lot. This is because they will be able to supply hemp and hemp products to the US market which is the largest in the world for hemp products. The US market for hemp products will also have an opportunity to grow because of the legitimization of hemp and hemp products as non-drug goods.
The ruling made will also determine whether the extracts like CD are legal or illegal. This will end the debate that has been there for a long period of time like whether CBD is legal or not. If the bill is approved, it will mean that the whole plant together with all the derivatives are made legal for distribution and consumption.
Marijuana is a commonly used substance in the United States, regardless of its legal status. Even with the discovery that there is medical marijuana that is very helpful to the body of a human being and even animals, many governments are yet to fully embrace medical marijuana’s health benefits. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley tabled a bill in the senate to remove the federal ban on marijuana in the US on the 12th of April. Even though the outcome of the bill is unclear, hemp farmers are hoping to get the ban lifted. This is because in addition to reaping maximum benefits from the large hemp market in the USA, the distribution and consumption of hemp and hemp products will be made legal. Cannabidiol consumption will also be legalized, leading to development of the medical industry as well.