Hemp, which is closely related to marijuana but has no psychoactive effect, has been classified as a controlled substance under federal law for decades. The Farm Bill removes this designation and reclassifies hemp as an agricultural product, legally distancing hemp from pot, which is still illegal to grow in most states.
Miller said that most banks and credit card companies have avoided the industry altogether because the legal status of hemp has been in flux for years. Large retailers like Wal-Mart and Target have also waited on the sidelines, interested in selling hemp products but unwilling to take the risk, he said.
State records show that most licensed hemp farmers are small hobbyists, farming only a few acres, but commercial-scale hemp farming is rising quickly, in part because the industry is recruiting struggling tobacco farmers. This year, as least seven of the state’s top 10 hemp farmers came from tobacco-growing backgrounds.
Tennesseans have been able to farm hemp for five years through a closely monitored government pilot program, and the new law doesn’t change that. William Freeman, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, said anyone who wants to grow hemp is still required to be licensed by the state, but that licensed farmers will now be allowed to take their harvest across state lines. This provides hemp farmers and processors with “new options and increased markets.”
“That would be ginormous,” said Billy Wall, who farms 70 acres of hemp in Franklin and owns a hemp processing lab in Murfreesboro. “It would finally put us on equal footing with regular farmers. It would be huge for all of us.”
It’s true that hemp policy in the United States has been drastically transformed by this new legislation. However, there remain some misconceptions about what, exactly, this policy change does.
Even CBD products produced by state-legal, medical, or adult-use cannabis programs are illegal products under federal law, both within states and across state lines. This legal reality is an important distinction for consumer protection. There are numerous myths about the legality of CBD products and their availability. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, there will be more broadly available, legal, CBD products; however, this does not mean that all CBD products are legal moving forward. Knowing your producer and whether they are legal and legitimate will be an important part of consumer research in a post-2018 Farm Bill world.
The allowed pilot programs to study hemp (often labeled “industrial hemp”) that were approved by both the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and state departments of agriculture. This allowed small-scale expansion of hemp cultivation for limited purposes. The 2018 Farm Bill is more expansive. It allows hemp cultivation broadly, not simply pilot programs for studying market interest in hemp-derived products. It explicitly allows the transfer of hemp-derived products across state lines for commercial or other purposes. It also puts no restrictions on the sale, transport, or possession of hemp-derived products, so long as those items are produced in a manner consistent with the law.
This week, Congress agreed to the final version of the 2018 Farm Bill, and President Trump is expected to sign the legislation within days. But this is not your typical farm bill. While it provides important agricultural and nutritional policy extensions for five years, the most interesting changes involve the cannabis plant. Typically, cannabis is not part of the conversation around farm subsidies, nutritional assistance, and crop insurance. Yet, this year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s strong support of and leadership on the issue of hemp has thrust the cannabis plant into the limelight.
Third, the law outlines actions that are considered violations of federal hemp law (including such activities as cultivating without a license or producing cannabis with more than 0.3 percent THC). The law details possible punishments for such violations, pathways for violators to become compliant, and even which activities qualify as felonies under the law, such as repeated offenses.
He added that the amount of capital the firm has raised for clients has increased 250%.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R) Kentucky, holds a hemp pen before the start of a signing . [+] ceremony for H.R. 2, Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 20, 2018. The Trump administration’s aid package for U.S. farmers made hemp legal in all 50 states. Zach Gibson/Bloomberg
“Up until about two years ago, our business was 100% about recreational or medical marijuana. But now there’s been a real dramatic shift,” said Vicente. “Hemp and CBD companies now make up 50% of all the calls coming into the firm.
“It’s a branded space where no one company owns more than 4% of the market in any state and companies with strong brands trade at a higher multiple.”
Hemp and marijuana are both Cannabis plants, but hemp has less than 0.3% of THC, the psychoactive chemical that gets folks high. Marijuana has between 5-35% of THC.
In that case, Steve Gormley may be the guy giving you a call. Gormley is the chief executive of International Cannabrands, a publicly traded Canadian company that is an aggregator of profitable middle-market cannabis brands. The company, which trades on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker symbol (JUJU), is best know for its JuJu Royal brand of naturally produced medicinal herbs.
Since the company is a mail order ecommerce firm, this pretty much destroyed revenue generation