According to Brightfield Group research, the projections speak of mind-boggling numbers: $ 27 billion in sales by 2023 for cannabidiol (CBD) products in the United States.
First of all, a repeat round: industrial hemp means any part of the marijuana plant, including seeds and extracts, containing less than 0.3% THC. A variant is now ready to jump the last obstacle that separates it from complete legalization.
The watershed was the ratification of the Farm Bill 2018, which was in the pipeline with the signature of President Trump by the close of the current legislative session. It was a massive step for the legalization movement.
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What happened in 2018?
While there were no answers (yet) to the questions about the use of CBD as an ingredient, a fundamental step was taken to resolve the discrepancies between State and federal regulations in the US.
The subject of the rules was the production and sale of hemp in all its forms, including flowers, extracts, and oils. Once approved and effective on January 1, 2019, the Farm Bill allowed all licensed growers and producers in all 50 states to plant and grow hemp for commercial purposes legally.
Further relaxation of the regulation began with the Farm Bill of 2014, which allowed to grow hemp on a limited basis and following pilot programs created based on state research. These programs saw more than 3,500 participants.
The Bill also served to weave a specific definition for "hemp", which will permanently separate it from marijuana. While the latter will remain classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, the so-called Controlled Substances Act removed hemp, basically the black list of substances in the United States.
Hemp and CBD were therefore products suitable for import and export and individual States will not be able to interfere with the transport or shipment of industrial hemp, regardless of where it is grown or authorized for sale.
Indeed, hemp can be legally grown in one State, treated in another and sold in all fifty. In addition, the Farm Bill will allow hemp producers to access federal financial services, insurance, agricultural guarantee and similar programs.
This change of status for the product will also entail a different competent body: the hemp was no longer controlled by the United States Department of Justice, but under that of the Department of Agriculture, like any other agricultural entity in the United States.
“For the first time in nearly a hundred years, commercial hemp production will no longer be banned in the United States”; said the political director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Lands. “We got there late, but we got there”.
The Bill's final version will contain a provision inhibiting anyone with a drug background from participating in the hemp industry for ten years.
But the whole legal situation should also be seen as the "US paradox" cannabis is legal in some States, but not federally!
Cannabis in the US today
Numerous States in the United States have legalized cannabis in many of its forms for medical and recreational use. However, US federal law still classifies it as a "Schedule I drug", categorizing it as a substance with a high potential for abuse and significant safety risk.
This classification puts cannabis on the same level as heroin, at least by federal law, which by right should always prevail over the laws of individual States.
From Nixon to Trump
In 1970, President Nixon passed the Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, introducing the substance classification system still in use today. According to this system, which includes five categories where I means high risk and V low risk, cannabis has been classified as a class I drug, along with heroin and LSD, among others.
In 1986, the law against drug abuse was introduced, which establishes minimum penalties for individuals found in possession of cannabis and establishes the punishment based on the amount of cannabis in possession. The law was updated in 1988, also establishing penalties for minors discovered in possession of cannabis. The result was a dramatic increase in the prison population convicted of drug offenses.
In 2009, President Obama encouraged federal prosecutors not to penalize people who distributed cannabis for medicinal purposes according to their state law. This was further reinforced in 2013 when the United States Department of Justice issued a statement saying they would leave the task of enforcing state laws to States.
Cannabis possession is still severely punished today, with a minimum of USD 1000 and up to one year in prison if it is the first sentence. However, a second sentence instead includes at least 15 days in jail, going up to two years.
The Trump administration has taken a more ambiguous stance on cannabis laws. Opinions differ, but the old President was in favor of cannabis, at least for medical use.
The Farm Bill of 2018
The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp and its derivatives from the federally controlled list of controlled substances, giving explicit authorization for cultivation throughout the United States. The hemp must have a dry THC content of less than 0.2% to be considered legal.
However, although the cultivation of hemp is made federally legal, the production of CBD remains technically illegal and under the control of the FDA. Therefore, it is legal to extract CBD from plants but theoretically unlawful to sell it. However, the possession of CBD products has not been criminalized under applicable laws.
Many CBD-based products are present on the United States market today and you can now order the best CDB products online at the best specialized shops!