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Dec-30-2020 02:54printcomments

USA Hemp Pilot Programs Extended to 2022

The Controlled Substances Act was amended to exclude hemp from the statutory definition of marijuana.

hemp crop
Classic photo of hemp harvesting in Texas over 70 years ago.

(SALEM, Ore.) - The 2014 Farm Bill has been extended through January 1, 2022 (Sec. 782) with the Dec. 27th signing of the federal Omnibus Spending Bill (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021).

The bill includes protections for the transportation, processing, sale, and use of hemp grown in compliance with the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills (Ag Sec. 744; CJS Sec. 530).

The 2014 omnibus Farm Bill authorizes states to sponsor industrial hemp research through agricultural pilot programs, notwithstanding prohibitions under the Controlled Substances Act.

This change in law allowed licensed U.S. farmers to legally grow hemp for the first time since World War II.

After four years of research, the 2018 omnibus Farm Bill has fully descheduled commercial hemp production in the United States, removing “hemp” and “tetrahydrocannabinols in hemp” from the Controlled Substances Act.

States and Tribal governments can now apply to have their commercial industrial hemp programs approved by the USDA and cultivators would require a permit.

The Hemp Production Program is regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture. The Agriculture explanatory statement outlines some of the Farm Bill's key directives:

  • USDA to ensure that any final rule is based on science, is in accordance with underlying law, and will ensure a fair and reasonable regulatory framework for commercial hemp production
  • Agricultural Research Service and the Land-Grant Universities partnering with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to utilize current research to guide the hemp sampling and testing protocols
  • Hemp is defined in U.S. federal law as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta- 9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
  • USDA shall develop regulations that protect the transportation, processing, sale, or use of hemp and in-process hemp extract, that may temporarily exceed a delta-9 THC concentration of 0.3%, including in-process hemp extract
  • Secretary to study the usage and impacts of energy and water in hemp cultivation and controlled environment agriculture and to make recommendations on best practices and standards
  • Farm Credit Administration (FCA) to work with the institutions under its jurisdiction to provide access to guaranteed loans for hemp producers and businesses.

Commerce, Justice, Science (Division B): The DEA has developed field testing kits that can distinguish between hemp and marijuana on-the-spot. The DEA is directed to continue to work to ensure State and local law enforcement have access to this field test technology so they can more efficiently conduct their drug interdiction efforts at the local level.

"These are welcome developments for the national industry that will provide hope for a successful 2021 production season," noted EARTH LAW, LLC, of Portland.

Among new programs and initiatives, the 2018 farm bill establishes new competitive research and extension grants for hemp research and indoor and urban agriculture.

The 2018 farm bill authorizes establishing a regulatory framework for the cultivation of hemp (as defined in statute) and creates a new regulatory program for hemp production under USDA’s oversight.

Related provisions expand the statutory definition of hemp and expand eligibility to produce hemp to a broader set of producers and groups, including tribes and territories.

Provisions in other titles further expand support for hemp, including making hemp eligible for federal crop insurance and certain USDA research programs.

It amends the Controlled Substances Act to exclude hemp (as defined in statute) from the statutory definition of marijuana.

The USDA is directed to restore certain exemptions for inspection and weighing services that were included in the United States Grain Standards Act but were rescinded by USDA when the act was reauthorized in 2015. The enacted law also establishes the Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach program by combining and expanding existing programs for beginning, limited resource, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

It further extends outreach and technical assistance programs for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and adds military veteran farmers and ranchers as a qualifying group.

What makes Hemp different than Cannabis?

First of all, hemp is Cannabis - just the non-psychoactive variety. Like other types of plants grown on farms or in the wild, there are several varieties of Cannabis.

And just to be clear- Cannabis and Marijuana are different names for the SAME thing. They are both what we call "pot"; used medicinally for thousands of years.

Hemp cannot get a person stoned, regardless of how much they smoke or otherwise ingest.

Hemp is a hearty crop grown by farmers throughout the world for agricultural and industrial purposes for centuries and only was stopped as a consequence of the prohibition of Cannabis by the United States in 1937 (see: the Marihuana Tax Act). With time, the nonsensical prohibition spread throughout the globe.

Hemp is one of nature’s strongest and most versatile agricultural crops and has many commercial uses. Various parts of the plant are used for making paper, textiles, cosmetics, paints, clothing, foodstuffs, insulation, and animal feed.

It produces a much higher yield per acre than substitutes such as wood pulp and cotton and requires virtually no pesticides.

Farmers in over 30 countries-including Canada, France, England, Germany, Japan, and Australia-commercially grow hemp for industrial purposes. The omnibus Farm Bill is a plus for farmers around the world.

Sources: EARTH LAW, LLC; NORML; US Congress

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