In 2014, President Obama signed into law the 2013 Farm Bill. Those interested in federal policy with regard to industrial hemp (the primary raw material used to produce CBD oil) were most excited about section 7606 of this act. It authorized the cultivation of hemp under certain conditions.
In order to legally cultivate hemp under this provision, “the farmer must be certified by and registered with the State department of agriculture AND conducting research or a pilot program approved by the State department of agriculture.”
While this program did provide the first legal means to domestically produce hemp it was restrictive in two major ways:
- First, it allowed states to determine the legality of growing hemp.
- Second, it forced farmers to work within the confines of research and pilot programs.
However, the bill did open the door for the legalization of hemp in many states. As of 2018, 40 states now have the required pilot programs and have legalized the production of industrial hemp at the state level.
2018 Farm Bill
The Farm Bill is a collection of policies designed to regulate food and agriculture. It is usually passed every 5 years and it dictates spending and policy related to agriculture.
It can include provisions concerning a wide range of issues including food and nutrition programs (such as food stamps), development in rural areas, environmental conservation measures, research programs in agriculture, as well as farm and crop subsidies.
With the 2013 Farm Bill set to expire, congress is under pressure to pass the 2018 Farm Bill soon.
Hemp Farming Act of 2018
As Senator Mitch McConnel rightly points out, the questionable legal status of hemp across state lines, as well as questions about law enforcement at the federal level, has forced the importation of this material that is already used in hundreds of goods sold in the United States.
The 2013 provisions were a step in the right direction, but they failed to fully address the root of the problem: Industrial hemp is a non-psychoactive plant that has a wide variety of industrial and health applications. It’s association with the illegal drug marijuana is unwarranted.
A new bill may soon replace the hemp provisions of the 2013 Farm Bill, significantly reducing federal restrictions on the domestic cultivation of this important crop.
On June 28, 2018, the 2018 Farm Bill passed in the Senate by an overwhelming majority vote of 86-11.
Unfortunately, there are other amendments attached to the House version of the 2018 Farm Bill, including a provision that forces parents living in poverty with kids older than 6 to work 20 hours a week in order to maintain access to food stamps to feed their children.
Democrats in the House, largely in response to this amendment which drastically cuts vital services for as many as 1 in 5 children born into poverty and food insecurity in the United States, rejected the bill in the House.
Their votes along with 30 republicans (mostly concerned about leveraging for a tougher stance on immigration), defeated the bill 213 to 198 on May 18, 2018.
However, the House did manage to pass the Farm Bill by a narrow margin (213-211) on June 21, 2018.
The Senate version of the bill does not include the new restrictions on SNAP program.
What This Means for CBD Oil
In order for the 2018 Farm Bill to become law along with the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, the House and the Senate will need to resolve the two different versions of the bill and get it signed by President Trump.
If the bill is signed with the Hemp Farming Act intact, it will make the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp, the main ingredient in CBD oil, much easier. This will likely improve the quality controls over the crop.
In addition, it will make it easier to introduce legislation to regulate the CBD oil industry, potentially ensuring a higher quality CBD oil market for those consumers who are excited about the potential health benefits of this natural food supplement.