The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), the leading hemp trade association founded in 1994 and comprised of over 1,000 hemp businesses, has issued this statement regarding President Trump’s official signing of the 2018 Farm Bill into law. The bill, which redefines hemp as an agricultural commodity, explicitly removes hemp from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act and the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Administration, thereby paving the way for a massive expansion of economic opportunities across all sectors of the hemp industry.
While this bill allows state and tribal governments to impose their own restrictions and requirements, members of the hemp industry can now work with federally regulated institutions such as banks, merchant services, credit card companies, and advertising platforms. Further, hemp farmers can finally access needed crop insurance and can fully participate in USDA programs for certification and competitive grants. In addition, interstate transport of hemp and hemp products will be legal in all 50 states. The bill specifically defines hemp, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of not more than 0.3%, including the plant’s viable seeds, extracts, and derivatives.
“Despite being able to legally participate in a 2014 Farm Bill-compliant hemp pilot program, every participating farmer took some sort of financial or otherwise substantial risk,” said Colleen Keahey Lanier Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association. “The hemp provision in the 2018 Farm Bill eliminates those risks in favor of full recognition as an agricultural commodity. We are grateful for the collaborative organization support for the updated provisions made by the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, American Herbal Products Association, National Hemp Association, Vote Hemp, Drug Policy Alliance, and NORML.”
While CBD has been the most high-profile hemp product in recent years, hemp has been cultivated for the purpose of food and body care products, paper, textiles, and building materials for hundreds of years. Hemp seeds provide the highest content of digestible protein in both the plant and animal kingdoms and a recent study from Spain’s University of Seville found that hemp seed may have “favorable nutritional implications and beneficial physiological effects on the prevention of coronary heart disease and cancer.” That said, the FDA will continue to exercise jurisdiction over the regulation of ingestible and topical hemp products.
“After decades of commitment and hard work by revolutionary pioneers and advocates, legalization of the extraordinarily versatile hemp crop as an agricultural commodity is finally upon us. From dense nutrition, body care, and wellness, to paper, textiles, building materials, bioplastics, biofuel, and nanotechnology, hemp has arrived to reinvigorate American farms. We are now experiencing the historic ushering in of true agricultural and industrial revolutions in the United States, and the HIA is poised and ready for both!” said Joy Beckerman, HIA Board President.
The United States is currently the largest importer of hemp goods in the world. The hemp market generated over $820 million in sales in the U.S. in 2017, up from $680 million in 2016, and is expected to swell to $1.9 billion by 2022. Just under 10,000 acres of hemp were cultivated in the U.S. under agricultural pilot and other programs in 2016, and that number more than doubled to just under 26,000 acres in 2017. Using available data for 2018, the Hemp Industries Association estimates there are upwards of 1,200 licensed U.S. hemp farmers operating on over 40,000 acres, along with hundreds of processors across the nation. The new Farm Bill opens the floodgates to domestic production, economic stimulus, job creation, and opportunities for international trade.
About the Hemp Industries Association
The mission of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), a 501(c)(6) membership-based non-profit trade association, is to advance the hemp economy and educate the market for the benefit of our members, the public, and the planet.
Source: Hemp Industries Association, press release, 2018-12-18.
Author: Colleen Keahey