If you’ve been following the news lately, you may have heard the cries of joy from hemp farmers with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. For the first time in the nation’s history, hemp has been clearly defined and legalized. Of course, like all legislation, there are plenty of stipulations.

First, the 2018 Farm Bill clearly states that hemp is different from marijuana, which is still a Schedule 1 drug. While both plants a derived naturally from the cannabis plant, hemp by definition only contains 0.3 percent of THC, the psychoactive chemical that gets you “high.” While this has always been the industry standard for hemp, the Farm Bill now spells out in law that hemp is legal. This is an important distinction for companies who have been legally producing hemp oil as an herbal remedy to support a body’s overall wellbeing.

The 2018 Farm Bill also lays out the responsibilities of both the state and federal agencies in regulating the cultivation of hemp. State departments must work with their governor and law enforcement to create a plan for hemp production in their state, which then must be approved by the secretary of the USDA. There will also be a federally run program for states that do not wish to go through the process. Growers will need to apply for licenses to be in compliance.

Also, the latest Farm Bill spells out what happens to growers who violate the law. For example, if they grow cannabis that has a higher concentration of THC, their punishment is outlined. Some activities, such as being a repeat offender, can be considered a felony. Still, overall, hemp is considered an agricultural commodity just like any other plant that is grown in the United States. This offers protection for farmers who grow both industrial hemp and hemp that is used for products such as full-spectrum hemp oil.

Finally, with the explained legalization of the hemp plant, the legislature paved a path for further research of the hemp plant. This allows scientists to study this important plant to fully identify and quantify its health benefits.

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