The Farm Bill Act 2018

The Farm Bill Act 2018: How Does It Affect the Hemp and CBD Industry?

The introduction of hemp into the US 2018 Farm Bill has encouraged people within and outside the agricultural division to think of the product’s potential target market.

As a result, the advocates of hemp are getting more vocal and optimistic every year, believing that hemp has the power to change the agricultural sector in the US significantly.

For that reason, the people, policymakers, and farmers are now showing an increased interest in hemp.

History of the US Farm Bill

Early in the 20th century, the prices of crops increased significantly because, in 1910, the first World War harmed European agriculture. As a result, the demand for these products from America rose.

However, at the end of the war, the demand for crops dropped, and the prices crashed rapidly. Many American farmers struggled during those times while the remainder of the world prospered.

Because of this, from 1924 to 1928, the US Congress kept submitting legislation to manage crop prices. However, President Coolidge also consistently rejected farm relief.

As a result, things became worse during 1929, prompting the beginning of the “Great Depression.” Due to its effects on the country, President Franklin D. Roosevelt accepted the very first farm bill in 1933.

The said program was to increase prices while limiting farmers to produce. Then, in 1938, the US Congress instituted the program as permanent, undergoing continuous renewal.

Hemp vs. Marijuana

Generally, hemp refers to cannabis containing 0.3% or below THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), while marijuana usually speaks of cannabis with over 0.3% TCH.

Thanks to new legislation, CBD (Cannabidiol) was successfully removed as part of the illegal drugs list. The clarification stated that products with 0.3% THC and below should not be listed as illegal drugs, permitting tremendous production and distribution of CBD-infused health products.

With that said, cannabinoids are natural chemical compounds in a hemp plant. Among all the other cannabinoids, THC and CBD gained the most popularity. Products with THC and CBD cause people to feel more focused and relaxed.

However, CBD produces non-psychoactive benefits naturally and healthily. In contrast, THC has euphoric or psychoactive health benefits. Nevertheless, both offer health benefits in different ways. However, their legality differs from one state to another.

With the Farm Bill,  industrial hemp, including CBD products with 0.3% or below THC, became legal. Now, you will see CBD products in creams, tinctures, capsules, and more available online and in stores.

What Exactly Is the Farm Bill?

Initially, the Farm Bill was designed to help farmers during the “Great Depression.” However, it constantly underwent revisions, starting with the “Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008.” Yet, it was only in 2018 that it permitted the use of cannabis products.

The 2014 Farm Bill

The US hemp industry received good news with the 2014 Bill, which allowed state departments of agriculture and higher education institutions to plant hemp under the watch of state law.

Moreover, the farm bill defined industrial hemp, thereby establishing the allowable THC levels in the United States at only 0.3% according to its dry weight.

During that year, all cannabis variations were regarded as controlled substances. Though the Bill permitted institutions to grow hemp, some aspects of manufacturing were under the watchful eye of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration).

The 2018 Farm Bill

In December 2018, the US Congress submitted the 2018 Farm Bill, which President Trump signed the week after the 12th.

In this case, the 2018 Bill considers Cannabis Sativa L. as hemp and any plant part with THC (delta-9) concentration less than 0.3% according to dry weight. It’s a definition that’s in line with “industrial hemp” found in the previous Bill.

Moreover, the 2018 Bill removed hemp from the list of banned substances in the CSA (Controlled Substances Act), permitting its legal cultivation, sale, distribution, and possession in numerous states.

Furthermore, this Bill entrusts Indian tribes and states the authority to control and restrict the distribution and selling of hemp products. However, Indian tribes and states cannot restrict the shipment or transportation of hemp products according to their unique jurisdictions.The Farm Bill

Consequences of the 2018 Farm Bill on the Hemp and CBD Industries

In 2017, retail sales of hemp products in the US, including beverages, food, supplements, household products, personal care items, reached over 800 million dollars.

This resulted in the federal regularization allowing hemp distributors and companies to continue with their businesses without worrying about the federal authorities.

However, following the submission and acceptance of the Bill, CBD manufacturers have more incentive to utilize hemp as a leading source of CBD. Nevertheless, it’s still vital that companies who are part of the industry strictly follow federal and state regulations concerning legalized hemp.

Aside from this, it also ensured that businesses selling beverages and foods with CBD do not involve themselves in extreme health-related marketing, which attracted the attention of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).

Evolving FDA Regulation

The FDA Statement records that the US Congress has maintained the authority of FDA over products with cannabis in the latest Farm Bill. Therefore, all cannabis or products containing cannabis are subject to FDA rules, just like other regulated products.

In addition to this, the FDA recommends that products claiming therapeutic effects be approved before introducing them to interstate commerce. The Statement also explains that the administration has no power to regulate authority when distinguishing the source of CBD.

In this case, the agency’s primary concern is to detect misleading marketing practices and establish that the sale of unapproved products is outside the law.

Furthermore, the FDA prohibits CBD products from being introduced as dietary supplements, regardless of where they are derived. That is because it’s illegal according to the Federal, Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Aside from this, according to the Statement of the FDA, they pledge to take action against people involved in selling cannabis products with therapeutic claims.

In fact, there’s already some history that the FDA sent letters of warning to businesses illegally distributing CBD-infused products claiming to treat and prevent diseases. Furthermore, the FDA keeps a close watch on CBD food products for sale, which are considered supplements because it violates the FD&C Act.

Nevertheless, the FDA opened up more opportunities to introduce products derived from cannabis to interstate commerce.

In fact, the agency has already approved drugs infused with CBD before. One example is the FDA’s approval of Epidiolex in 2018, a CBD medication designed to help with seizures.

Additionally, the FDA also recognized three hemp derivatives as lawful in the Statement: hemp seed oil, protein, and seeds. Therefore, these can be legally marketed as long as the products are not sold as with therapeutic claims.

Moreover, even if the FDA prohibits introducing cannabis products to dietary supplements and food stocks, they will still consider issuing regulations related to the utilization of CBD as a pharmaceutical substance without neglecting the requirements of the FD&C Act.

So, although the Statement tackles the federal section, stakeholders need to be mindful of different state requirements and laws regarding CBD. In this case, state legislation orbits around two choices: prohibition and legalization, with a few restrictions.

One example is when Indiana legalized selling CBD oil, provided that it contains below 0.3% of THC and follows the labeling requirements.

However, months after that, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy presented a FAQ announcing hemp-derived CBD oil is illegal. Therefore, companies can only sell it through the state’s medical marijuana project alone.


Overall, the US Farm Bill has undergone considerable changes over the years since the time Franklin Roosevelt was the president.

In this case, the latest version of the Bill has legalized hemp and CBD products, but the regulations may differ from state to state.

Therefore, it’s crucial to be aware of federal, state, and FDA regulations to use CBD products safely.

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