On January 1, 2019, the “Farm Bill” took effect, lifting the federal ban on the domestic, commercial production of hemp with 0.3 percent THC or less. “This law marks the first change in the federal classification of the cannabis plant since it was initially classified as a Schedule I controlled substance by Congress in 1970, and paves the way for the first federally sanctioned commercial hemp grows since World War II,” Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, was quoted as saying in the organization’s blog.
Banned or not, growing hemp is a long American tradition, as it’s been planted on land that would become the U.S. as far back as 1606. Even more uniquely American, the founding fathers wrote early drafts of the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper. All of which makes the inability to farm it for so long — as well as considering it more or less the same as heroin and LSD — rather strange and counterproductive.
So… cool. But since hemp contains an infinitesimal amount of THC and can’t get me high, what am I supposed to do with it?
Um, kinda everything. It can be used for clothing, shoes, rope, soap, automotive bodies and about 25,000 other things. Not to mention, hemp is now emerging as the next superfood, with hemp “mylk” in particular gaining popularity as one of the tastiest non-dairy alternatives.
Some entrepreneurs are even calling federally legal hemp the cash crop that America needs, presenting an exciting economic opportunity amid the country’s changing agricultural landscape. Per Forbes:
“In Northern California, farmer Ben Roberti, whose family runs a cattle ranch and grows alfalfa, has also diversified to include hemp crops into his rotations. ‘So many of the dairies are shutting down on the West Coast that we just don’t view alfalfa as a commodity for the future,’ he told ABC 10. Their hemp crops are proving to grow with less water and are more frost-resistant than other crops. For farmers working on tight margins, those positive qualities can be critical to a business’s bottom line.”
Again, cue the long history, as back in February 1938, Popular Mechanics called hemp the new “billion dollar crop.”
I can get down with that. ‘Cause, no matter what Trump tweets, it’s still super hard to be a farmer, right?
A pot farmer in particular. Wildfires have continuously ravaged Northern California, aka weed country, sending their profits up in smoke. “These growers aren’t only losing their harvest to sell, but also losing all the money they put into a whole year’s worth of work,” marijuana horticulturist Chad Gilmore told me back in 2017. “The farmers themselves aren’t able to recuperate the expenses that they’ve been putting out to prepare the soil, prepare the land and maintain the general operation. Unlike vineyards or other comparable crops, marijuana fields don’t qualify for federal insurance, so none of this was protected.”
But now, thanks to the Farm Bill, they do, granting them the same protective measures as farmers specializing in other crops.
That’s awesome. Now, with that out of the way — and not to sound insensitive or anything — but is there anyway that this bill will help me get high more easily, too?
Not at all?
Hemp is not gonna get you high, my man. Sorry.
Seriously. That said, a lot of CBD products are hemp-derived.
What does that mean exactly?
Most of all, that your CBD products are likely going to eventually be a lot more regulated. Up until now, most of these purported CBD cure-alls have been basically left alone by the government. “With CBD, patients receive the promise of being in control of their own ailments, and no longer feeling at the mercy of their treating physicians,” researcher Arno Hazekamp writes in the journal Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids. “This has turned out to be a particularly powerful message. Many patients use CBD oils freely for ailments both confirmed and self-diagnosed, and the rapid innovations with CBD products have actually been quite impressive. But while new CBD products keep entering the market virtually unchecked, effective regulatory control of these products has stayed far behind.”
The Farm Bill is bound to change that, though. “For years, many of the producers of these products have navigated in a grey area of the law — manufacturing products of variable and sometimes questionable quality and safety,” Justin Strekal, NORML’s political director, recently told the NORML blog. “Now it’s time for lawmakers to craft consistent benchmark safety and quality standards for hemp-derived CBD in order to increase consumer satisfaction and confidence as this nascent industry transitions into a legal marketplace.”
Which is good thing, correct?
If done correctly, it very well could be.
Still not gonna get me high, though?
Still not gonna get you high.