On 20 December 2018, the President of the United States Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law. This farm bill, among a host of other provisions sought to legalize the cultivation, buying and selling of hemp. Having been put in effect since January 1, 2019, this farm bill means an awful lot, not only to the hemp industry but also for businesses involved in the buying and selling of CBD.

The evolution of federal law on hemp and CBD
Even long before the Farm Bill was signed, the hemp plant and CBD did have amazing amounts potential for business growth in the U.S. For a long time, hemp was being cultivated to produce food and other textile products.

It should be noted here that hemp is vastly different from marijuana even though they both come from the cannabis plant, albeit different varieties. Whilst hemp is rich in CBD and low in THC, the chemical compound responsible for the psychoactive effects in users, marijuana contains significant amounts of THC and low amounts of CBD. It is because of THC that marijuana is considered illegal.

Now, as has been mentioned earlier, although the hemp plant has a very limited amount of CBD in THC (0.3% or less), until 20 December 2018, it had been categorized as a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that hemp was regarded as illegal under federal criminal law and put in the same bracket as narcotics such as heroin. Then, at the federal level, it had been illegal to cultivate or do business with the hemp plant. In addition to this, the Drug Enforcement Agency (D.E.A), the agency in charge of enforcing federal criminal drug regulations, barred products produced for human consumption from having in them any content from the cannabis plant solidifying the illegality of cannabis and hemp-derived CBD at the federal level.

The 2018 Farm Bill
Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill which was signed by President Trump. Included in the provisions of the bill were;
• The 2018 Farm Bill defines hemp as the plant Cannabis sativa L and any other part of the plant with a delta-9 THC concentration of not more than 0.3 percent by dry weight. This definition is consistent with the definition of “industrial hemp’ in the 2014 version of the bill, which created a limited agricultural pilot program regarding research into industrial hemp.
• The 2018 Farm Bill removes hemp from the Controlled Substances Act paving the way for the wholly legal cultivation, possession, sale and distribution of the hemp plant.
• The 2018 Farm Bill delegates to states and Indian tribes the broad authority to regulate and limit the production and sale of hemp and hemp products within their borders. States and Indian tribes cannot however, limit the transportation or shipment of hemp and hemp products through their respective jurisdictions.

The 2018 Farm Bill comes as good news to those doing business with hemp and hemp-cultivated CBD. What this means that people can go about growing and dealing in the trading and commercialization of hemp and hemp produced CBD without having to watch their back every single time or worry about getting prosecuted for engaging in illegal activities.

With the door wide open now, producers of CBD will be more motivated than ever to use the hemp plant rather than marijuana as their main source of producing CBD. It is estimated that by 2020, the hemp and CBD industry will be generating sales in the region of $1 billion.