Hemp has been illegal in the United States since 1937. But this changed on Thursday, after President Donald Trump signed the Farm Bill, legalizing industrial hemp in the U.S. once again.
The bid for hemp’s recent legalization began when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed for hemp to be freely available to all Americans as part of the 2018 Farm Bill.
The goal was to reinvigorate the plant’s farming opportunities from state pilot programs to a nationwide scale by removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and treating it like an agricultural product.
Upon signing the bill Thursday, Trump called it his “great honor to sign the 2018 Farm Bill, a very special and important piece of legislation.” He added, “It opens new markets for agriculture all over the world.”
Let’s bring you up to speed, hemp is defined in the legislation as the cannabis plant (yes, the same one that produces marijuana) with one key difference: hemp cannot contain more than 0.3 percent of THC (the compound in the plant most commonly associated with getting a person high).
Basically, hemp can’t get you high. For decades, federal law did not differentiate hemp from other cannabis plants, all of which were effectively made illegal in 1937 under the Marihuana Tax Stamp Act and formally made illegal in 1970 under the Controlled Substances Act—the latter banned cannabis of any kind.
It’s true that hemp policy in the United States has been drastically transformed by this new legislation. However, there remain some misconceptions about what, exactly, this policy change does.
Message too long. Click here to view full text.