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Congress Lifts Hundred-Year-Old Prohibition on Commercial Hemp


Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has consistently opposed the legalization of cannabis. But in Congress, McConnell has been nothing short of a champion of industrial hemp. “It is a different plant,” McConnell told reporters back in May. “It has an illicit cousin which I choose not to embrace.”

This year’s Farm Bill, however, goes much further, changing federal law on industrial and commercial hemp and, remarkably, introducing the first-ever changes to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The full text of the reconciled version of H.R. 2 addresses hemp in a number of key sections. Here’s a breakdown.


In the first place, the bill authorizes hemp as a supplemental and alternative crop, allowing federal agencies to assess the economic viability of its production and sale. The Farm Bill also authorizes, at the federal level, multi-faceted research into hemp production. As a federal law, the bill even permits the interstate commerce of hemp, clearing up concerns about traveling with or transporting hemp CBD products.

2018 Farm Bill Exempts Hemp from Controlled Substances Act

Perhaps the most striking element of the Farm Bill, however, is how it amends the Controlled Substances Act. Since 1970, hemp has been listed as a Schedule I controlled substance. But H.R. 2 would exempt commercial hemp from the Schedule I classification....


...so long as products meet one requirement. Hemp products must contain no more than 0.3 percent of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, aka THC, by dry weight.



Under the Farm Bill’s provisions, any part of the hemp plant, from its seeds to its extracts, acids, salts, and isomers are exempt from the Controlled Substances Act.

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