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The Farm Act of 2018 Legalized Hemp

The Controlled Substance Act (May 1971) defined marihuana as every part of the Cannabis Sativa L plant except for mature stalks, ungerminated seeds, and products made from these portions of the plant.  Every other portion of the plant and the products that are produced from them are considered a Schedule I drug. This Act then considered hemp to be a Schedule I drug. Hemp, of course, is classified as having less than .3% THC, so that the use of it would not provide any sort of feeling of euphoria.  But, because the THC cannot be completely removed from hemp any product made with hemp was then seen as illegal

Before the Farm Bill was passed last year, the laws and regulations surrounding industrial hemp were made up of a bunch of different statutes, regulations and court decisions which led to confusion and the opportunity to allow some hemp products to be imported while leaving others out.  Additionally, the cultivation of industrial hemp was prohibited, which was a far cry from when Thomas Jefferson said the colonists must set aside an acre of the best ground to grow hemp.

The 2018 Farm Bill, signed into law December 20 legalized hemp at the Federal level, by removing industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana is the Controlled Substances Act.  Even though hemp is now legal, that does not mean that anyone is free to produce the crops.

Individual states are left with the authority to create their own regulation which must include plans to document land use, procedures need to be put into place to allow for testing and then disposing of the non-compliant product, and finally, there must be ways to enforce these regulations.

The Department of Agriculture is the overarching authority when it comes to hemp as hemp is now considered an agricultural product. The Department of Agriculture will have the authority to maintain programs which will help with production, transportation, and marketing. Hemp will now be able to be treated as any other agricultural product is.

Last year was a big deal to the cannabis industry as more states legalized both medical and recreational marijuana, the AG Jeff Sessions resigned, and people are becoming more accepting of cannabis use.

With all of the activity surrounding marijuana, why are marijuana proponents happy to see this portion of the Farm Bill passed?  The legalization of hemp has created fissures in a very rigid and outdated system of regulation. Justin Strekal of NORMAL said, “The significance in the shift cannot be understated, given that it is the first change in classification of the legal standing of the cannabis plant since the enactment of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.”

Hemp is a magnificent plant that can be used in many ways including canvas and textiles, paper, twine, fishnets, and as a food product.  Because of the versatility and the ease with which it is grown in many different climates, expect to see hemp products begin to dominate the shelves of your stores.

Hemp seeds are technically nuts and are high in fats and proteins.  Hemp hearts, as they are also known as, can be eaten raw, cooked roasted or turned into an oil.  Hemp seeds may protect you from heart disease as well as being beneficial to help combat other medical issues.

The oils that hemp produces can be used to make body lotions and essential oils as it has tremendous moisturizing properties.  The oils can also be used for candles and can be used as a substitute for some oil based products including paint. A hemp oil based paint would be non-toxic and not harmful to the environment.

Hemp fibers can be used to make clothing from rugged jeans to delicate lingerie.  Additional use of hemp is the production of paper. Using hemp instead of trees could eliminate deforestation, protect wildlife habitats and the environment.

CBD has been the biggest buzzword in health, beauty and wellness circles the past several years, even though the cannabis plant has been cultivated for thousands of years.  The medical benefits of CBD have been studied since 1533 but were left behind as medical and pharmacological advances were made. With the passage of the Farm Bill, we are finally again able to start researching the medical benefits of CBD and to relearn what our ancestors already knew.

CBD had been made illegal in all states in the 1950s. It was not until the 1960s that the CBD compound was isolated and confirmed to have no psychoactive properties, and then in the 1970s the British Pharmacopoeia suggested CBD tinctures for medical use supporting the use of CBD medically, showing there was indeed medical value to this plant.

CBD works so well and for so many different ailments because of our endocannabinoid system.  Naturally occurring ‘cannabinoids and their receptors are found not just in the brain but also in many organs as well as connective tissue, skin, glands, and immune cells.  The list of CBD oil benefits and health concerns treatable by CBD is so long because these receptors are integral to so many bodily systems’

CBD works better than many created pharmaceuticals because it is a naturally occurring substance in our bodies.  As hemp has been legalized there are more opportunities available for research. This is a list of the benefits of studies already done.  Imagine a world where cannabis and CBD effectively treat the following: 1. Reduced risk of diabetes and obesity 2. Better cholesterol profiles and lowered risk of cardiovascular disease  3. Reduced risk of cancer 4. Helps maintain brain health and create resilience to trauma and degeneration 5. Protects against bone disease and broken bones 6. Protects and heals the skin  7. Anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD 8. Anxiety and stress 9. Depression and mood disorders 10. Pain 11. Sleep disorders.

Connie Maxim-Sparrow