Will Hemp Ever Be Legal? A Comprehensive Look at the New Era of Hemp

The debate about whether or not hemp will ever be legal has been going on for decades now but thanks to US lawmakers it has finally been legalized! Learn more about this new era of hemp here!

Will Hemp Ever Be Legal? A Comprehensive Look at the New Era of Hemp

When Andrew Graves was a boy in rural Kentucky in the 1960s, he never imagined he would become a hemp grower like his grandfather and generations of Graves men before him. Since 1937, under the Marijuana Tax Act, it was illegal to grow and process crops in the U. S. The folklore of domestic hemp cultivation followed Graves through decades of work as a tobacco producer in Clark County, Kentucky.

However, as tobacco fell into disuse at the end of the last century, Graves was not sure what would happen. If the work to get to this point was a tortuous odyssey through American politics and cultural customs, then the work needed was to create a regulated hemp market in the U. The president's firm removed hemp from the U. The measure classified “industrial hemp”, which cannot contain more than 0.3 percent THC, in a category other than its psychoactive counterpart, legally known as marijuana.

States control the regulatory structure of this new era of hemp, across the U. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) must approve the supervisory regime prescribed by each state, meaning that farmers cannot simply start growing hemp on private land. Only once a state's program has been approved at the federal level can hemp producers apply for a cultivation or processing license from their own state's agriculture department. For states that choose not to develop their own licensing systems, potential hemp producers can submit their applications directly through the USDA, which will eventually create its own federal program.

What comes next is complicated, but hemp producers have a lot to gain from the provisions of the Farm Bill, even in the short term. They can legally access banking and insurance, for example, a warning that, according to Elite Botanicals CEO David Bonvillain, will eliminate barriers to entry to starting a legitimate business in the sector. And that's just the beginning of this new era. CBD beverages and pet products are expected to generate huge surges of interest among consumers and agricultural production.

Schau adds that specialized audiences, such as athletes, will also boost demand for CBD products. Interest in hemp products will only increase among large companies, especially consumer packaged product companies, Schau says, although they may not enter the market until the FDA has developed a clear position on CBD as a supplement or food additive. As the market for hemp-derived CBD gains traction, the industry should not expect sales of CBD to take market share away from THC-based marijuana products. The two product categories are already diversifying at the regulatory level and two different markets are being formed.

CBD products are often marketed as medical in nature, and Bonvillain believes that they will eventually be limited to a regulated medical market with clinical trials and FDA approval. This is the “next race” Graves was referring to. Meanwhile, domestic farmers, who are already increasingly considering the cannabis market, will surely look closely at the possibility of incorporating a hemp crop into their portfolios. While the USDA program described in the Farm Bill aligns with current hemp cultivation pilot programs in some states, such as Colorado, farmers will take time to get licensed under the new system.

Stuart Titus, CEO of the publicly traded manufacturer of CBD products Medical Marijuana Inc., speculates about how markets will adopt an U. S.-legalized hemp industry but emphasizes that private stakeholders can now freely examine the properties of the plant is paramount. That doesn't even scratch the surface of the global hemp revival as countries around the world legalize cultivation and begin to understand its chemical composition. However, for now an American revolution awaits it.

Back at Atalo Holdings and GenCanna, the future is bright. Kentucky agriculture commissioner Ryan Quarles was the first in the country to submit to USDA its ALS plans to regulate hemp production. That same week at the end of December, congressional appropriations caused federal government shutdowns and neither USDA nor FBI had been able to process any application for marijuana. Eric Sandy is digital editor of Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary while Melissa Schiller is assistant digital editor of Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary.

The Cannabis Business Times interactive legislative map is another tool to help growers quickly navigate state cannabis laws and find news relevant to their markets. And CBD just got a big boost thanks to US lawmakers as it allows for widespread cultivation of hemp not just pilot programs to study market interest in hemp-derived products. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who promoted bill believes hemp could replace cash crops such as tobacco in his home state Kentucky. Now that cultivation and sale of hemp are legal greater access to CBD could involve uniformity which could reassure those who compare hemp to its illegal cousin at federal level and have moved away from working with hemp companies or tried banning hemp products.

State likely continue relying on federal policy Bonvillain says which could begin changing as broader federal regulations on hemp take shape. Hemp has been commonly used as material for carpets and sweaters; it is main material Baja California hoodies those textured sweaters called “anti-drug rugs” generally associated with stoner dealers.

Christy Cancio
Christy Cancio

Typical coffee fanatic. Evil bacon junkie. Proud food junkie. Wannabe zombie maven. Subtly charming travel maven.