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article imageU.S. Congress passes legislation legalizing growing of hemp

By Ken Hanly     Dec 14, 2018 in Business
Washington D.c. - Yesterday, the U.S. Congress passed the U.S. Farm Bill which includes the legalization of growing of hemp. Hemp has been used as material for such items as carpets and sweaters but derivatives are used for many other purposes such as food and medicine.
The legislation was earlier agreed upon as reported in a recent Digital Journal article.
Hemp had been illegal to grow in the U.S.
Hemp has in the past been illegal to grow in the U.S. except for small plots which were made legal to grow marijuana for research purposes. However, the use of marijuana for some medical purposes is legal in many states but with varying often complex regulations.
HOMEGROWN: Oregon decriminalization advocate Paul Stanford stands in the marijuana garden maintained...
HOMEGROWN: Oregon decriminalization advocate Paul Stanford stands in the marijuana garden maintained by his organization, The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, in Portland in 2013.
Paul Stanford / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Wikipedia notes:
"In the United States, the use of cannabis for medical purposes is legal in 33 states, plus the territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands, and the District of Columbia, as of November 2018.[1] Fourteen other states have more restrictive laws limiting THC content, for the purpose of allowing access to products that are rich in cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of cannabis.[1] There is considerable variation in medical cannabis laws from state to state, including how it is produced and distributed, how it can be consumed, and what medical conditions it can be used for.[2]"
At the federal level cannabis remains a prohibited substance through the Controlled Substances Act(CSA) of 1970. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lists cannabis as a Schedule I drug, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. The Justice Department has used criminal prosecution, civil asset forfeiture, and even para-military type raids that have targeted medical cannabis providers. It has used these and various threats even against individuals involved in state-legal medical cannabis activities including even doctors and state officials. However, the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment to the CSA in December of 2014 prohibits the Justice Department from spending funds to interfere with the implementation of state cannabis laws.
CBD a popular medical ingredient
Hemp is very low in the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana plants TCH. It has less than 0.3 percent. However, it is high in the non-psychoactive component CBD. CBD is becoming a popular medical ingredient with proponents claiming it can soothe anxiety, relieve stress and pain, and also help insomnia. It does not get people high in the process.
A recent article notes: "With hemp’s legalization, CBD is bound to become even more visible. Its legal status remains unclear — the Drug Enforcement Administration classifies CBD as illegal, although it doesn’t go after anyone using or possessing it, and it hasn’t said if it will reclassify CBD now that hemp is legal. But regardless, the passage of the farm bill has big implications for the burgeoning CBD industry. " With legalization of growing hemp the CBD industry will receive a big boost. It would seem though that further legislation may be needed to make it clear that using the derived products are not illegal.
Move could be a boon for farmers
The hemp plant is said to detoxify the soil and prevent soil erosion. It also requires much less water than many crops and does not need pesticides compared to traditional crops. Supporters of the bill such as Mitch McConnell think that hemp could take the place of present cash crops such as tobacco in his home state of Kentucky.
Bill should help CBD industry thrive as well
The DEA has not strictly enforced restrictions on the use of CBD as they have on marijuana products with high TCH content. However, legalizing hemp growing is likely to spur the growth of the industry from sales of about $350 million last year to about $1 billion by 2020. However, there needs to be much more research done to confirm all the medical benefits claimed for CBD.
Eric Baron of the Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute claims: "There is a huge void of research in terms of confirming most effective dosing for various symptoms, so most of this is done by trial and error and self-titration. Unfortunately we are nowhere near close to having any definitive trials on effectiveness for most symptoms claimed to benefit from CBD with trials that are scientifically relevant, such as prospective randomized placebo-controlled trials.” However, the new legislation could make for more substantial tests of CBD derivatives for medical use.
More about Hemp, hemp growing in US, US Farm Bill
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