The Legal Status of Industrial Hemp: An Expert's Perspective

Industrial hemp has been cultivated in North America for centuries, primarily for its fibers used in the manufacture of ropes and textiles. However, it was banned in the United States due to its relation to marijuana, a plant of the same species (Cannabis sativa). But with the passing of the Farm Bill, hemp policy reforms have been put into place, allowing for the transfer of hemp-derived products across state borders for commercial or other purposes. At least 47 states have enacted laws to establish hemp production programs or allow research into hemp cultivation.

The National Hemp Production Program has also been established to provide federal regulatory oversight of hemp production in the United States. This law does not impose restrictions on the sale, transportation or possession of hemp-derived products, as long as they are produced in accordance with all applicable laws. However, there are still some issues that need to be addressed. These include the development of reliable and effective tests to determine THC levels, the import of hemp seeds into the United States, and the role that banks will play in an industry with uncertain legality.

In addition, there are questions regarding the federal regulation of hemp when used in products regulated by the FDA, such as the use of cannabidiol (CBD) in foods and dietary supplements. States that already allowed industrial hemp programs have continued to consider policies related to licensing, funding, seed certification, and other issues. It is important to note that hemp does not make you get high and that the debate about the war on drugs that spread over hemp was politically motivated, rather than policy-oriented. Under the farm bill, Senator Mitch McConnell is a hemp hero.

However, he remains a staunch opponent of marijuana reform and his role in the Senate could be an obstacle to legislation passed by Democrats in the 116th Congress. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) will approve plans submitted by states and Indian tribes for domestic hemp production and establish a federal plan for producers in states or territories of indigenous tribes who choose not to administer a specific state or tribal plan, provided that the state or tribe does not prohibit hemp production.

Tamara Lutze
Tamara Lutze

General travel nerd. Incurable zombie ninja. Infuriatingly humble food fanatic. Freelance beer lover. Unapologetic travel specialist.

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