April 23, 2020 Articles

Hemp and the 2018 Farm Bill—Part 1: A Legislative Overview

It is not hyperbolic to state that the legal landscape for hemp changed overnight.

By C. Adam Foster
The 2018 Farm Bill defines hemp as a statutorily distinct—and legal—category of cannabis.

The 2018 Farm Bill defines hemp as a statutorily distinct—and legal—category of cannabis.

iStock.com/Tinnakorn Jorruang

On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) into law. H.R. 2 115th Congress (2017–2018). The 2018 Farm Bill paved the way for the legal production of hemp and the sale of hemp products in interstate commerce throughout the United States.

It is not hyperbolic to state that the legal landscape for hemp changed overnight as legal gray areas were replaced by a business-friendly regulatory regime. The hemp industry has since entered a period of rapid expansion and innovation as new states and Indian tribes pass state and tribal-level hemp bills and as larger companies and investors who were waiting on the sidelines rush to enter the game.

This article is the first in a two-part series and summarizes key hemp provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill. The second part will examine recent developments as federal agencies, states, and tribes work on implementing this landmark piece of hemp legislation.

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