“That would be ginormous,” said Billy Wall, who farms 70 acres of hemp in Franklin and owns a hemp processing lab in Murfreesboro. “It would finally put us on equal footing with regular farmers. It would be huge for all of us.”
Hemp can either be grown as fiber, generally used to make clothing, rope and building materials, or to be harvested for its cannabidiol, or CBD, which is advertised as having broad but often unverified health benefits. Tennessee’s CBD market has exploded in recent years, and CBD oils, lotions and food can now be found for sale in dispensary-like stores throughout the state.
“We expect this change in federal regulation will offer additional opportunities for Tennessee farmers,” Freeman said in an email. “Additionally, Tennessee’s universities will have fewer restrictions and be able to do more research on this plant as an agricultural commodity.”
State records show that most licensed hemp farmers are small hobbyists, farming only a few acres, but commercial-scale hemp farming is rising quickly, in part because the industry is recruiting struggling tobacco farmers. This year, as least seven of the state’s top 10 hemp farmers came from tobacco-growing backgrounds.
“I’ll probably have to deny that someday, but I won’t do that because you worked really, really hard,” Trump said.
Even CBD products produced by state-legal, medical, or adult-use cannabis programs are illegal products under federal law, both within states and across state lines. This legal reality is an important distinction for consumer protection. There are numerous myths about the legality of CBD products and their availability. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, there will be more broadly available, legal, CBD products; however, this does not mean that all CBD products are legal moving forward. Knowing your producer and whether they are legal and legitimate will be an important part of consumer research in a post-2018 Farm Bill world.
It’s true that hemp policy in the United States has been drastically transformed by this new legislation. However, there remain some misconceptions about what, exactly, this policy change does.
One of the goals of the 2014 Farm Bill was to generate and protect research into hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill continues this effort. Section 7605 re-extends the protections for hemp research and the conditions under which such research can and should be conducted. Further, section 7501 of the Farm Bill extends hemp research by including hemp under the Critical Agricultural Materials Act. This provision recognizes the importance, diversity, and opportunity of the plant and the products that can be derived from it, but also recognizes an important point: there is a still a lot to learn about hemp and its products from commercial and market perspectives. Yes, farmers—legal and illegal—already know a lot about this plant, but more can and should be done to make sure that hemp as an agricultural commodity remains stable.
Ultimately, the Farm Bill legalizes hemp, but it doesn’t create a system in which people can grow it as freely as they can grow tomatoes or basil. This will be a highly regulated crop in the United States for both personal and industrial production.
Second, there will be significant, shared state-federal regulatory power over hemp cultivation and production. Under section 10113 of the Farm Bill, state departments of agriculture must consult with the state’s governor and chief law enforcement officer to devise a plan that must be submitted to the Secretary of USDA. A state’s plan to license and regulate hemp can only commence once the Secretary of USDA approves that state’s plan. In states opting not to devise a hemp regulatory program, USDA will construct a regulatory program under which hemp cultivators in those states must apply for licenses and comply with a federally-run program. This system of shared regulatory programming is similar to options states had in other policy areas such as health insurance marketplaces under ACA, or workplace safety plans under OSHA—both of which had federally-run systems for states opting not to set up their own systems.
This week, Congress agreed to the final version of the 2018 Farm Bill, and President Trump is expected to sign the legislation within days. But this is not your typical farm bill. 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.
Hemp is legal in the United States—with serious restrictions
For a child to be eligible under the House Bill 1220, they had to prove resistant to other epilepsy and neurological drugs. They also had to have a written letter from a neurosurgeon and become a participant in a pilot study for the effectiveness of CBD extracts. The last stipulation for the pilot study was subsequently removed, but children still have to go through the proper diagnosis procedure in order to receive CBD prescriptions.
Every state has the right to regulate trade and manufacture of hemp-derived products, including CBD oil. Some state-level laws prohibit the distribution of CBD if it contains more than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the “feel-good” substance that is found in marijuana. And if a certain state is marijuana-friendly, both hemp- and marijuana-derived CBD oils are totally legal. Below we’ve listed the states that welcome CBD, as well as those who have restrictions in place and those that are sitting on the fence.
It’s ok to purchase CBD oil in Idaho if it has no THC whatsoever. This makes full-spectrum products against the law. Nebraska residents are able to buy hemp-derived products (including THC ones) as long as they meet state regulations concerning the manufacturing process and quality. Currently, only South Dakota bans every type of CBD in its entirety.
What is NC’s Stance?
In the following states, you can buy hemp-derived CBD oil — however, if you’d prefer CBD-extracted from marijuana, you’ll have to have a medical exemption or a marijuana card:
States that allow for the selling and purchasing of marijuana-extracted CBD products include:
Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill signed by President Donald Trump, hemp was removed from the federal list of controlled substances. This means that products made of CBD are now legal. So you may be asking yourself, “ Did Trump legalize CBD oil in all 50 states ?” Not exactly.
The marijuana plant has less CBD than hemp but contains more THC. As a result, CBD extracted from marijuana and not hemp will have a level of THC that will exceed 0.3%.