The Farm Bill paved the way for the influx of hemp, CBD, and CBG products that society’s now enjoying. Even though its title may sound unassuming, 2018’s Federal Farm Bill effectively ushered in a new era of American hemp farming. Here’s a closer look.
What is the Farm Bill?
First and foremost, there’s something you should know: there’s more than one farm bill. The US government passes a farm bill every 5 years; this bill serves as the nation’s guidelines for agricultural and food policies during that time. Federal Farm Bills have been around since at least 1933.
But it wasn’t until 2014 that a Federal Farm Bill made any allowances for hemp. 2014’s Bill legalized state-run “pilot programs” in which universities could freely grow hemp for research purposes. It did not, however, fully legalize retail CBD.
2018’s Federal Farm Bill, however, was different. It descheduled certain cannabis products (including hemp, hemp seeds, and hemp-derived cannabinoids) from the Controlled Substances Act, or CSA.
Since this bill’s passing, the hemp and CBD industries have been able to really take off.
So...when people talk about the Farm Bill...they’re more than likely talking about this one.
What else did the Farm Bill accomplish?
- Welcomed hemp farmers into federal crop insurance programs
- Provided a strict definition (i.e, maximum THC level) for hemp
- Entrusted regulatory oversight of hemp farming to the USDA
- Legalized interstate commerce of hemp and its derivatives
- Provided a regulated licensing system for hemp farmers
- Authorized increased food distribution on reservations
- Authorized funding for veteran/minority farmers
- Authorized funding for farmer’s markets
- Authorized funding for farming research
- Increased SNAP (food stamp) funding
As you can see, the subjects covered in a single Farm Bill are extraordinarily broad. 2018’s Farm Bill, however, will likely go down in history as the #HempFarmBill pioneered by a certain Kentuckian politician. And rightfully so — it restored the public’s perception of hemp as a highly useful, highly valuable, and highly profitable crop.