Members of Congress in both the House and Senate have voted to approve the reconciled 2018 Farm Bill, which includes the federal legalization of industrial hemp cultivation and sales. President Trump has voiced his support for the bill and is expected to sign it into law this month.
The Senate voted 87-13 on Dec 12 to approve the revised language, according to Business Insider. The House also passed the bill with overwhelming support in a vote of 369-47.
Hemp will now be classified as an agricultural crop and will no longer be mixed into the same classification as cannabis and marijuana. Hemp will be treated like any other crop, such as corn.
“The passing of the farm bill will most certainly open up the marketplace for hemp products, specifically hemp extracts that are high in CBD,” said Josh Hendrix of CV Sciences.
This also opens the doors for FDIC banks to work with hemp farmers and hemp-related companies. As well, research into hemp will be conducted on larger scales and hemp-related issues will be eligible for federal grants.
There are still questions surrounding how the DEA will handle CBD. But with hemp legalized, CBD extracted from hemp should also be legal.
Daniele Piomelli of UC Irvine’s Center for the Study of Cannabis said, “The devil is in the details, and we don’t know yet how the DEA will act to implement the law.”
Some controversy may arise in debating how to handle hemp-derived CBD. For now, according to DEA spokesperson Katherine Pfaff, if CBD items are “intended for human consumption” it’s likely to remain a Schedule I drug. But, the legalization of hemp means that the DEA will have to take another look at CBD.
Legalization “will provide a higher comfort level for retailers and consumers and will lead to more investment and opportunity in the industry as it will continue to see rapid expansion,” said Hendrix.
The only thing that hemp needs to officially be legalized in the U.S. is President Trump’s signature, which is expected this month.