The final 2018 Farm Bill has been brought to the congressional floor after months of discussions and debates.
The U.S. Senate took to the approval of the $867-billion agriculture law on December 11 with a vote share of 87/13 which was followed by the approval of the bill by the U.S. House on December 12 with a vote ratio of 369-47.
With that done, the bill has been forwarded to the President’s desk and now awaits his signature for passing of the bill into a law; a law which includes provision allowing for legalization of hemp cultivation and fabrication within the confines of the United States.
The Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who played a pivotal role in the tasking of the bill, brings into light the falling income in agriculture practices and believes that industrial hemp could prove to be a major boon for the farming industry aiding struggling farmers.
Before the vote, he expressed his views on social media stating, “My provision in the Farm Bill will not only legalize domestic hemp, but it will also allow state departments of agriculture to be responsible for its oversight.”
The Farm Bill 2018
In other words, the passing of the Farm Bill would allow for hemp products to be taken off the federal controlled substances list. Farmers can now proceed to cultivate hemp after attaining a federal permit, and states, within their jurisdiction, can individually choose to control the industry suited to their preference.
In the current scenario, 40 states overlook ‘pilot programs’ that are meant to supervise hemp cultivation for commercial purpose. And though hemp is classified as a schedule-I substance, the manufacturing process along with their ingredients was heavily regulated and scrutinized owing to outdated law regulations.
From state regulators views, CBD products from hemp have been viewed distinguished from cannabis products. With the passing of the bill, it will be made clear if the overseeing and regulation will be within the jurisdiction of U.S. FDA or the state departments.
A Bright Future for the Industry
In accordance with a survey by the Brightfield group, which took into consideration the growing consumer demand of hemp-driven products, the CBD market is slated to reach a whopping a $22 billion by the year 2022. Without the legislative Farm Bill, the level of investment and production required to meet such a target would have been impossible to achieve.
McConnell exclaims that the passing of the bill could mean a major deal for the hemp industry as there is a broad excitement surrounding the health benefits of the product in the country.
With cannabis investors and industries anxiously awaiting Trump’s signature on the bill to be articulated into a law, there are varied hemp shareholders and advocates who are already seeing the proceedings as a major milestone. They are optimistic that this federal win can bring about major law amendments in the future making way for cannabis reforms across the country.
The Chairman of the Hemp and Cannabinoids Practice Group at Vicente, Shawn Sederberg declares the long-overdue move to be of major significance for the cannabis market in America.
From being withheld for decades by exhaustive prohibition and outdated drug laws, this legislation could indeed allow for ease of the agricultural production of hemp across the U.S., like other farming crops given that it is now rendered legal for U.S. farmers to cultivate.
The pivotal move could prove to be a potential turning point for the industry influencing both the economy and environment for years to come.