What the 2018 Farm Bill means for the Hemp Industry
The signing of the 2018 Farm Bill was a pretty big deal. For decades, hemp was living in the same shadows as cannabis even though this plant has thousands of uses and can’t get anyone high. For the first time in about half a decade, hemp is once again an agricultural crop. The 2014 Farm Bill allowed individual states to adopt hemp cultivation programs for research and industrial use purposes.
Hemp is Removed from the Controlled Substances Act
The 2018 Farm Bill goes a step further than the 2014 Farm Bill. Hemp is no longer listed on the Controlled Substances Act. CBD, however, remains controversial. It’s still in a bit of a gray area because the FDA has not issued guidelines for its production, extraction, manufacturing or distribution yet. So far, the FDA has really only said that CBD can’t be included in food products to the masses and may not be marketed as a supplement.
Hemp Cultivation Begins
What this means is that the U.S. will now be able to grow enough hemp to satisfy the demand for hemp-based products in the U.S. without having to import hemp paper, hemp fabric and other products from elsewhere in the world. Several states have already been participating in a pilot program allowing hemp cultivation with special permits.
Each state must determine its own regulations for hemp cultivation. In some states, hemp farmers will be able to plant seeds by this summer.
Increased Revenue for American Farmers
Hemp grows well in most climates. It’s also said that it requires less water to grow than some other crops, like cotton. In the end of the growing process, hemp plants require less water. Adding a versatile crop to crop rotations provides American farmers with an additional source of income. Since hemp can literally be used in over 20,000 different applications, hemp farmers have multiple options when it comes to selling their crops for processing into tangible or usable goods.
Farmers have a hard time making ends meet in the United States. Crops aren’t worth what they used to be and the cost of growing these crops rises. Small American farmers typically sell their products locally, which brings in a little bit of revenue, but it’s not enough to sustain their families year-round. Many farmers grow crops to sell but also enough to supply their families with fresh vegetables and fruit for the year. Farmers are still bartering with other farmers for products they need too – meat, dairy, grains and so on.
The CBD industry is still waiting for the FDA to issue standards and guidelines for CBD products. This is why CBD remains in legal limbo. The FDA has hinted that it could be years before regulations for CBD are set in stone, but the industry is hoping that it will be sooner rather than later. Without regulation, this leaves consumers to “buy at their own risk” when it comes to CBD products. While companies like Living Matrix work hard to provide clean, safe CBD products – others are just out there to make a buck by selling misrepresented, mislabeled and fake CBD products.