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Have no fear, legalization is here! Great news for all CBD users and hemp farmers. The 2018 Farm Bill passed by Congress on Wednesday, Dec. 12 legalizes hemp farming and therefore, CBD-derived from hemp for sale and purchase throughout the United States. Each state will decide if it wants to allow the legal growth and sale of hemp and hemp-derived products within its borders.
Currently, 47 states allow the sale of hemp and hemp-derived products, more specifically CBD products. Prior to Wednesday, a black cloud hung over the CBD industry, projected to be worth $22 billion by 2020. That little black cloud was illegality at the federal level of the growth and sale of hemp-derived products. Previous to the 2018 Farm Bill, the hemp plant, which is a variant of the Cannabis sativa plant, was defined as a “Schedule 1” controlled substance under the 1972 Controlled Substances Act, meaning the federal government contended it had no known medical value and risked being highly addictive.
But the times are a-changin’! Many in both the public and medical community feel CBD could be extremely helpful for various medical conditions. For example, CBD helps reduce the number of seizures in people who suffer from two types of epilepsy. Just earlier this year, in fact, the FDA approved the CBD-based drug Epidiolex earlier this year.
Not to mention the anti-inflammatory properties CBD appears to have, in addition to its positive effects on brain chemistry. Not only does CBD reportedly help with arthritis and some forms of chronic pain, but could also ease anxiety and depression, among a variety of other ailments. Some consumers had hesitations still: was it illegal to buy and use these products?
However, users fears are assuaged with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. The full bill is a package of various agricultural programs estimated to cost around $876 billion over the next 10 years. It affects almost every aspect of farming, food and food production in the United States. The legalization of hemp use and growth is one small facet of the bill, but one with major potential for farmers.
The Senate passed the bill on Tuesday, with the House passing it on Wednesday with an overwhelming majority: 369-47. Now the bill just waits to be signed by President Donald Trump, which is expected to happen.
Legalizing hemp in the U.S. has major implications for the future of the industry – it could mean doubling or tripling domestic growth in the next year. By removing hemp from the controlled substances list, companies are able to transport it across state lines, which allows for interstate commerce. With legalization and more opportunities comes a greater variety of products, which will benefit a greater number of people. Plus, consumers can feel much more secure buying hemp-derived CBD products, knowing it is now legal on a federal level.
Last month, a Consumer Reports nationally representative survey showed 15% of adult American tried CBD and 83% of them said it helped ease the symptoms they were treating, to some extent.
Although the 2018 Farm Bill paves the way for hemp farmers, CBD still faces some legal hurdles. Since 2015, the FDA has cracked down on on dozens of online CBD companies for unsupported health claims. In letters to these companies, the agency noted CBD can’t be sold as a supplement. This is due to its introduction into clinical trials as an investigative new drug. While the 2018 Farm Bill will undoubtedly affect the way the FDA handles CBD products and retailers in the future, the fate for these companies remains in the gray. Many huge retailers, such as CVS, are watching the market, gearing up to stock CBD products on shelves.
Many CBD companies are hopeful the 2018 Farm Bill will allow them to grow and flourish, stocking store shelves with their products in the coming year.
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