The 2018 Farm Bill, or Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, was a monumental moment in the history of hemp legality. Contrary to what some might think, though, this Act did not make growing cannabis legal.
In fact, like most things involving the law, it’s a lot more complicated than that. It can’t be reduced into simple terms; it’s surrounded by legal jargon, provisions, regulations, and so on. Furthermore, whether or not marijuana and hemp are “legal” varies by state, so it gets very complicated fast!
Before the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, hemp production had been a major part of America’s agriculture since colonial times (Fun fact: both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew cannabis!)
In the early 1900s, though, hemp popularity began to decline for a few reasons.
The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act did not make hemp illegal for all states; rather, it imposed heavy taxes on the sale of cannabis. Most importantly, though, it created a misperception of hemp that persisted until 2018. So though the Act was meant to target the psychoactive drug, it instead banned the hemp plant altogether, including non-psychoactive varieties.
This was the finishing blow for commercial hemp production in the 20th-century United States. Under this 1970 Act, cannabis and all its derivatives, including THC, CBD, and hemp, was made entirely illegal for all purposes. This is considered a major part of the Nixon Administration’s highly controversial War on Drugs and affected hemp’s legality for decades to come.
This Act classified cannabis as a Schedule I drug, putting it under the same category as drugs such as heroin. This is the most highly restricted category of drugs in the United States, illegal for any purpose, including medicinal.
Starting in 1933 following the Great Depression, Congress has made it a point to review and/or pass a new Farm Bill every 4-5 years. Farm Bills originally started as a way to assist struggling farmers following the Great Depression. In fact, up until 2014, these bills really had nothing to do with hemp legality.
That changed when the 2014 Farm Bill introduced the idea of hemp pilot programs. This allowed researchers to begin growing industrial, non-psychoactive, low-THC cannabis and was the first step that paved the way for hemp farms to revitalize across the United States.
As we noted above, Farm Bills encompass far more than just hemp regulation. In fact, the first draft of the 2018 Farm Bill failed 198-213 in the House of Representatives, not because of its involvement with hemp, but because of clauses having to do with immigration policy, energy policy, and proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Requirement (SNAP).
It took about six months for parties to reach a consensus, but, by late December, the removal of SNAP work requirements (amongst other changes) allowed the $847 billion Farm Bill to pass with strong bipartisan support (369-47).
It’s hard to understate just how monumental the changes were to hemp legality in the United States after the 2018 Farm Bill. In one fell swoop, an 80-year-old definition of marijuana was changed, and suddenly, hemp was a lucrative crop for farmers across the country.
The 2018 Farm Bill does not simply make growing hemp legal with no oversight. In fact, the Farm Bill made hemp legality dependent on three major federal restrictions:
The regulation and enforcement of hemp (and, by extension, cannabis and CBD) under the Farm Bill varies widely by state. If you’re considering growing hemp, you should thoroughly research regulations in your state.
At EndoCoast, we sell only the best CBD products that are legally derived from organically-grown hemp plants containing less than 0.3% THC. We extract our high-quality CBD oil in a state-of-the-art process that involves CO2, so no harsh chemical solvents make their way into the final product.
The 2018 Farm Bill allowed CBD to reach the popularity it has today, but it also brought our team the opportunity to help people around the US find balance in the craziness of everyday life. If you want to learn more about CBD, check out our extensive CBD Learning Center, or contact our team for help. No matter where you’re at, EndoCoast is here to help.