Beginning with the slowly trickling legalization of marijuana in 2012, the United States legislative branches have created less restrictive laws for cultivation. While marijuana remains a federally controlled substance, the cannabis plant itself isn’t so harshly restricted–under certain circumstances.
The 2018 Farm Bill was a massive victory for farmers and cultivators across the United States. To put it into short terms for Discount Pharms readers, the 2018 Farm Bill allowed for the legalization of industrial hemp cultivation. This gave farmers from Texas to Wyoming and even Pennsylvania a chance to grow this rapidly growing and highly demanded crop. This spelled a huge opportunity for profits and farmer livelihoods. But what does it actually mean in practice?
First and foremost, it is important to understand what hemp is in the eyes of the law. Before the 2018 Farm Bill, the hemp plant was lumped in with all of the other varieties of the cannabis plant. This, of course, included marijuana–both medicinal and recreational. What is the real difference, you ask?
Well, the primary distinguishing factor is the THC cannabinoid. THC is a compound that exists within many strains of cannabis and is the primary compound behind the high sensation that user get when they ingest or smoke it. Hemp in its base industrial form does not contain this compound. Or at least it doesn’t contain more than 0.3% of it.
The Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of cannabis crops that contain less than, and no more than, 0.3% THC. This is hemp that is strictly used for medicinal, industrial, and food-grade purposes. This is the primary restriction placed on cannabis cultivation on the federal level.
The bill Itself also places restrictions on who and where these crops can be grown. Each cultivator must consult with their local law enforcement and governing bodies before cultivation is to begin. This ensures that the crops meet federal guidelines and adhere to local USDA and OSHA standards of growth and safety. So, in short, hemp is still a pretty controlled crop as far as crops themselves go.
Ultimately the 2018 Farm Bill was a huge step forward for cannabis cultivators. However, it is not exactly “free to grow” in your herb garden. There are still local and state restrictions that ensure that the hemp being grown remains under the maximum allowed THC content of 0.3%. This is crucial to remember for those who have been considering growing hemp for their own personal uses, whatever they may be.
Today hemp is used for various solutions and products, from fibers for clothing to CBD extracts used in medicinal treatments. Hemp is an incredibly eco-friendly and useful crop that many of us can use in our daily lives. It can replace much more harmful crops and help to alleviate financial strains placed on farming communities.
That is one of the major reasons why the 2018 Farm Bill was so well received. However, it remains important to remember that hemp is still regulated to some degree. It is not advised to start growing it yourself without first consulting local governing bodies for these sorts of things.