In a nutshell, hemp was declared illegal due to its close association with its twin, marijuana. Despite the advances made in federal hemp policy and state marijuana laws, the federal ban on marijuana still stands. To reduce costs for companies and hemp farmers, the federal government has issued guidelines. Before the publication of the interim standard, some industry members expected flexibility in eliminating “hot” crops, or hemp crops that exceed the 0.3% THC limit.
Anyone who provides false information in their application to participate in hemp production will be banned from participating in the future. The consequences of non-compliance range from corrective action plans to a permanent ban on participation in hemp production. The distribution ranges from 0.29% to 0.37%, and since 0.3% is within that range, the sample will be considered industrial hemp. In fact, the law gives states and indigenous tribes significant flexibility to maintain or establish more stringent parameters in hemp production, as long as they do not prohibit the transportation or shipment of hemp through the Indian state or territory. While cultivation remains highly regulated, the law legalizes the production and distribution of hemp under federal law and establishes a framework of shared oversight by federal, state and indigenous tribal authorities.
While there are provisions that strongly regulate hemp, and there is concern among law enforcement, rightly or wrongly, that cannabis plants used to obtain marijuana are mixed with hemp plants, this legislation makes hemp a dominant crop. Congress continues to pressure the FDA to facilitate access to products containing hemp-derived ingredients, in particular CBD used in foods and dietary supplements. The pilot programs allowed to study hemp (often referred to as “industrial hemp”) that were approved by the United States. Second, there will be significant shared state and federal regulatory power over the cultivation and production of hemp. The standard determines that a grower does not commit a negligent offence if he produces plants that exceed the acceptable THC level of hemp, as long as he makes reasonable efforts to cultivate the plant and does not perform tests with a THC content greater than 0.5% in dry weight.
Meanwhile, the FDA distinguishes ingredients in hemp that do not contain or contain minimal levels of CBD when used in food. The Farm Bill guarantees that any cannabinoid, a set of chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant and that are derived from hemp, will be legal, only if that hemp is produced in a manner consistent with the Farm Bill, associated federal regulations, state association regulations and by a producer authorized. That said, many members of the advocacy community hope that the hemp policy reforms under the Farm Bill will serve as a first step toward broader cannabis reform.