If an updated version of the Farm Bill passes the house, hemp could officially become legal to grow throughout the entire United States.
The farm bill was approved last Thursday by the Senate with a vote of 86 to 11. The bill itself covers various agriculture and food related policies, but it includes specific provisions regarding industrial hemp legislation.
“Consumers across America buy hundreds of millions in retail products every year that contain hemp,” mentioned Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) during a floor speech last Thursday. “But due to outdated federal regulations that do not sufficiently distinguish this industrial crop from its illicit cousin, American farmers have been mostly unable to meet that demand themselves. It’s left consumers with little choice but to buy imported hemp products from foreign-produced hemp.”
According to the latest research, the US CBD market is expected to reach $22 billion by 2022, if the farm bill passes.
A Brief History of the Farm Bill
The first farm bill was actually called the Agricultural Adjustment Act and it was initially passed in 1933 following economic devastation from two natural disasters, The Great Depression of 1929 and The Dust Bowl that started in 1931. Although it used to entail laws solely for the aid of farmers, other programs such as food stamps and SNAP have been included in the bill since the 1970’s.
Since the first farm bill, an updated version has been published every 5 years or so. In total, there have been 16 farm bills. Each new version takes into account the challenges faced by modern-day farmers, with industrial hemp being a topic of focus in recent years.
How It Will Benefit the Hemp Industry
Should these new changes be approved, the federal government would be required to provide a full range of business-related services such as small-business loans, financing for research, and federal crop insurance. The current version of the Farm Bill expires on September 30th. The hemp industry has been barred from receiving any services until this point because it was categorized as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.
It would do wonders for the industry if hemp was removed from the drug schedule categories. Various niches such as food, medicine, supplements, and even paper and construction would be able to flourish.