What the Farm Bill means for hemp

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The US 2018 Farm Bill is set to bring huge changes to the hemp industry in the US and globally. While the previous bill expired more than two months ago, the current Bill is expected to pass in the next 2 weeks. This is an exciting time for the cannabis industry in the US and the Farm Bill isn’t the only reason…
In conjunction with the update of the Farm Bill which will federally legalize industrial hemp, an announcement from the US Drug Enforcement Agency is eagerly awaited which will change CBD from a Schedule 1 drug to a Schedule 5. This puts hemp and CBD products in the same class as codeine, instead of its current schedule among addictive substances such as heroin and ecstacy. This shift will drastically change the landscape of the CBD market, both in the figurative sense and as acreages begin to pop up and expand across the US.

The previous Farm Bill, which passed in 2014, initiated a pilot program that allowed legal cannabis states to establish and develop an industrial hemp industry as well as pursue research initiatives. Despite limited provisions for the hemp industry under the program, at a state level it still allowed for a substantial increase in cultivation. 2017 saw a rise of 163% in the acreage of hemp farms across 19 states. Our friends at New Frontier Data predict the value of the hemp derived CBD market tol grow to $646 million by 2022.
“The U.S. CBD market is primed for expansive growth across its three primary sectors, hemp-derived CBD, marijuana-derived CBD and pharmaceutical CBD… We project that by 2022, each of these three sectors will account for approximately one-third of the $1.9 billion total market,” – CEO of New Frontier Data, Giadha Aguirre de Carcer.

The Farm Bill, which has existed since 1933, initially to provide subsidies to farmers in the midst of the Great Depression, has subsequently provided most federal policies relevant to agriculture. It is revised every 5 years or so and it’s not uncommon for there to be delays in its progress from the Senate to the House. On this occasion, as it has been in previous years, the hold up seems to be partly due to budgetary decisions and distribution of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (otherwise known as the food stamp program).

The Hemp Farming Act section of the Farm Bill calls for a removal of roadblocks that hemp farmers, producers and distributors encounter. This includes restrictions surrounding banking access and water rights, as well as research funding and eligibility for crop insurance. In the case of industrial hemp changes, there has actually been bipartisan support

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