We know what you are thinking, a company that sells cannabis writing an article about something as boring as some government bill? Well, it's not crazy talk because actually, the Farm Bill affects everyone in the United States, especially when dealing with something like cannabis and/or legalization.
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What is the Farm Bill?
The Farm Bill is an extremely important piece of government legislation that affects all of the United States, not just farmers and the agricultural sector as the name of the bill suggests. The Farm Bill is the primary agricultural and food policy tool used by the federal government and is renewed every 5 years as a comprehensive omnibus bill (a bill that combines multiple pieces of legislation into one bill) that deals with agriculture and any affairs under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Agriculture.
The three original goals of the Farm Bill were to keep food prices fair for both the farmers and consumers, establish an adequate food supply all while protecting and sustaining our country’s vital natural resources. The Bill was introduced as a direct response to both the economic and environmental crises caused by the Great Depression and Dust Bowl.
Why is the Farm Bill important?
When President Abraham Lincoln established the Department of Agriculture, he actually called it “The People’s Department” as it affects everyone's lives in so many ways, many ways they don’t even know. The Bill has never been about just the farms, but instead our food system as a whole, as its main focus is to provide the safest, most cost-effect, secure, and abundant food supply in the world.
The Farm Bill is also responsible for directing funding for much-needed trade development, investing in research and development to help better the future of the agricultural industry, and providing nutritional assistance to lower-income Americans.
Everyone has to eat, so everyone really does have a large stake in the Farmers Bill. Many states have gone on to pass similar regulation that is specifically tailored to their state. Texas passed HB 1325 in 2019 that did many of the same things that the 2018 federal farm bill did.
Who writes the Farm Bill?
The Farm Bill is a truly bipartisan piece of legislature, with political figures on both sides of the political spectrum coming together to draft a bill that benefits the United States as a whole. Members of the House Committee on Agriculture and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry hold the primary responsibility of drafting these Farm Bills, and they are later ratified by the House of Representatives after a series of compromises between Republicans and Democrats.
The Farm Bill is then funded two possible ways, through mandatory (or direct) funding directly stated through the bill or annual funding through the appropriations process.
Cannabis and the 2018 Farm Bill
Before we go into the 2018 Farm Bill and its changes made to cannabis policy in the United States, we want to explain to you the difference between Hemp and Cannabis. Where hemp is directly derived from the cannabis plant, hemp cannot contain more than .3 percent Delta 9 THC as traditional cannabis does. Delta 9 THC being the compound in the plant that is most commonly associated with getting a person high, so with under .3% Delta 9 THC, hemp cannot get you high.
The 2018 Farm Bill drastically changed the United States Hemp policy, where for decades it was under the same restrictions as cannabis. Cannabis (and by extension hemp) was made effectively illegal in 1937 under the Marihuana Tax Act and formally made illegal in 1970 under the Controlled Substance Act, an act that banned all forms of cannabis, hemp, etc. Where now, under the latest Farm Bill Hemp is legal, but with some serious restrictions.
With hemp now being legal, it authorizes distributors (like us) to sell hemp-based products like CBD, in a variety of forms ranging from CBD flower or concentrate all the way to topical pain relief. The Farm Bill made it possible to sell other cannabinoids from the hemp plant as well such as CBG, CBN, and Delta 8 THC. It also opens the door for hemp research and as scientists nationwide continue to perform research on this miracle plant, they are opening the doors for more hemp-based products like hemp rope or even durable tennis shoes made with hemp. Their research isn’t only going to develop more hemp products but it is also becoming important to the medical industry as cannabis is quickly showing great promise as an alternative to dangerous medications, like opioids.
Where the Farm Bill does legalize hemp, it does not actually create a system where people can grow the crop freely, like they can with the likes of corn or tomatoes. Any growers or sellers of the crop have to abide by a plethora of rules and regulations as it is still a highly regulated crop, whether it is for personal or industrial production.
There are a lot more details, rules, and caveats when it comes to the 2018 Farm Bill that we encourage you to read for yourself if you have any serious law questions (I mean come on, we aren’t lawyers and we for sure aren’t politicians!)