Hemp CBD Federally Legalized in 2018
Cannabidiol (CBD) from Industrial Hemp
In short, the 2018 US Farm Bill signed by President Trump in December finally differentiates the Hemp Cannabis strain from the Marijuana Cannabis strain, and removes Hemp and its derivatives like CBD oil from the list of controlled substances. The bill further states that Hemp and Hemp derivatives are free from interstate commerce restrictions and can legally be shipped to, or through any state. It has moved regulation for Hemp to the Agricultural Department from the FDA but allows states to make their own individual laws for it as well. The 2018 Farm Bill defines Hemp as Cannabis with .3% THC or less. It allows states for the present to regulate Hemp as they decide.
Congress agreed to the final version of the 2018 Farm Bill and President Trump signed it into law in December 2018. While it provides important agricultural and nutritional policy extensions for five years, the most interesting changes involve the cannabis plant. Typically, cannabis is not part of the conversation around farm subsidies, nutritional assistance, and crop insurance. Yet, this year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s strong support of and leadership on the issue of hemp has thrust the cannabis plant into the limelight.
For a little bit of background, hemp is defined in the legislation as the cannabis strain (yes, the same cannabis species that includes marijuana as a strain) with one key difference: hemp cannot contain more than 0.3 percent of THC (the compound in the plant most commonly associated with getting a person high). In short, hemp doesn't have enough THC for a psycho-active effect. For decades, federal law did not differentiate hemp from other cannabis plants, all of which were effectively made illegal in 1937 under the Marihuana Tax Act and formally made illegal in 1970 under the Controlled Substances Act—the latter banned cannabis of any kind.
In the 2014 US Farm Bill, Cannabis strain Hemp was made legal to grow and study in restricted scientific environments. The 2018 Farm Bill allows hemp cultivation broadly, not simply pilot programs for studying market interest in hemp-derived products. It explicitly allows the transfer of hemp-derived products across state lines for commercial or other purposes. It also puts no restrictions on the sale, transport, or possession of hemp-derived products, so long as those items are produced in a manner consistent with the law.
It is true that section 12619 of the 2018 Farm Bill removes hemp-derived products from its Schedule I status under the Controlled Substances Act, but also set up a more complex relationship between the FDA, the Farm Bill, and individual states.
While Marijuana remains a controlled substance - but is not being enforced federally where states have legalized it - Hemp remains less of a law enforcement target, effectively permitting the exponential growth of the CBD industry. Both federal and many state law-makers have signaled that Hemp will be completely legalized, but regulated by the individual states. Utah law-makers, for example, have set up regulatory agencies but have made statements that they intend not to interrupt the Hemp-derivative market in the meanwhile, effectively giving the CBD market the green light for now.
Utah CBD Statement: “Cannabadiol (CBD) products are currently being sold around the state of Utah. The Department does not intend to interrupt the market: however…. The purpose of the law is to make sure the product being sold is free from harmful contaminants and matches the label requirements. The Department has established rules for the sale and purchase of CBD oil in the state. CBD oil registered with the Department, meeting all testing, labeling and other requirements as established by rule, may be purchased in the state of Utah.” (See https://ag.utah.gov/cannabis-information.html)
CBD from Marijuana is a different story:
Cannabidiol (CBD) & Medical Marijuana
The first form of Cannabidiol is extracted from medical marijuana plants. These plants are grown to be high in CBD but have varying amounts of the psychoactive compound THC. They are sold to licensed dispensaries and prescribed by doctors for particular conditions in places where marijuana is regulated — like the US.
While medical marijuana is grown to be high in CBD for the treatment of specific ailments, the THC content can vary dramatically, sometimes getting as high as the CBD content. For an excellent example of the types of marijuana you may find in a licensed dispensary, see this Strain Book. It shows you the types of plants, the percentages of CBD and THC, and even the taste and effects of the stain.
The problem with medical marijuana (besides the possibility of getting a strain that is high in THC) is that it’s not currently legal everywhere. In the United States, you must be living in certain states and obtain a prescription from a doctor to receive medical marijuana.
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