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Hemp and the 2018 Farm Act

Friday, April 20, 2018


According to Nutritional Outlook, a new bipartisan Hemp Farming Bill of 2018 officially debuted on the Senate floor on April 12. If passed, industrial hemp will be regulated as an agricultural crop and will finally be removed from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act.

This is great news. The hemp plant (first classified as cannabis in Greek and then Latin etymology) includes a compound called cannabidiol (CBD) with significant endocannabinoid system health benefits, but, without the psychoactivity of the cannabis tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) compound found in marijuana.

The last Farm Act, signed into law in 2014 by President Obama, legalized the growing of hemp for research purposes only, mostly by state departments or universities.

The newly proposed bipartisan part of this Farm Bill, introduced last week by Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell and supported by Oregon Senator Democrat Ron Wyden classifies hemp ingredients (with THC levels under the 0.3 percent threshold) as an agricultural commodity and removes federal roadblocks to the growth of industrial hemp across the US.

The hemp phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) would also be considered an agricultural commodity.

Items included in the bill:

Removing hemp—specifically the parts of the Cannabis sativa L. plant with THC concentrations less than 0.3 percent, from the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that these hemp parts would no longer be considered US Schedule 1 drugs.

The bill specifically unschedules all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, and seeds of hemp, as long as those portions of the plant remain below the THC threshold. This assures hemp-derived CBD will be considered an agricultural commodity, not a controlled substances.”

States will be able to oversee hemp growth and cultivation, expanding growth beyond what was allowed under the 2014 Farm Bill’s pilot programs. The bill also legalizes hemp growing in tribal lands, reservations, and US territories—areas previously excluded by the 2014 Farm Bill.

As an agricultural crop, hemp would fall under the regulatory jurisdiction of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Not only that, hemp would be eligible for USDA research funding. In addition, the bill proposes that hemp farmers be eligible for crop insurance.

State departments of agriculture would be required to provide the FDA with details about their hemp program plans. “The states would submit a regulatory plan to USDA.


The bill also clarifies that nothing in this Bill authorizes interference with the interstate transportation or commerce of hemp or hemp products—an important statement to protect hemp farmers and businesses from misguided regulatory overreach.


Mitch McConnell said this from the Senate floor, “Today, with my colleagues, I am proud to introduce the bipartisan Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which will build upon the success of the hemp pilot programs and spur innovation and growth within the industry. By legalizing hemp and empowering states to conduct their own oversight plans, we can give the hemp industry the tools necessary to create jobs and new opportunities for farmers and manufacturers around the country.”


We find this news exciting for a number of science-based reasons: 


The first being the emotional community-health benefits of seeing our elected officials cross the aisle and actually work together again for the greater good of the people they represent.


The second being the growing numbers of international studies that support the use of cannabis cannabidiols to improve health.


The third being that leading groups like the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union are calling for passage of the bipartisan House and Senate bills that remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, empower state agriculture programs, and unleash an exciting new industry.


An obvious question: Who has actually been best served by keeping hemp-based products, including CBD, out of the hands of the public?


Ellen Troyer, with Spencer Thornton, MD, David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff


PEARL

We strongly support the 2018 Hemp Farming Act, as well as government-supported cannabis cannabidiol (CBD) clinical studies on health maintenance and disease therapies given the runaway cost of sick care. US CBD clinical data will continue to be limited until more research is performed. But until then, more and more people around the world are depending on International clinical studies and reducing and frequently replacing harmful prescription drugs with CBD. It seems to be proving to change many people’s lives for the better.


FYI: The hemp plant fiber is also used to manufacture a wide range of textiles including canvas, boat sails, clothes, paper, twine, fish nets, body lotions, as well as oil-based products including bio-degradable plastic and bio-fuels.





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