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June 13, 2018

Growing Hemp is about to become legal for the first time in almost 100 years

Growing Hemp used for CBD products will no longer be a disputed area.
A recent agreement has been reached by Congress that could make it legal to grow hemp in the US for the first time in almost 100 years. The agreement that has been reached on a proposed legislation means that growing hemp will be legalised for the first time in almost 100 years.

Although Hemp itself is derived from the Marijuana plant, it contains a negligible amount of the substance THC, which is the substance associated with the ‘high' that users get from Marijuana. Hemp is currently used for a variety of things, in particular, the extraction of CBD, which is known to offer a wide range of health and wellbeing benefits.

Despite being a part of the cannabis plant, Hemp contains less than 0.3% of the substance THC, which is the ingredient that makes cannabis psychoactive. The non-psychoactive derivative CBD is an increasingly popular natural remedy, used for the relief of a number of symptoms from anxiety and insomnia to pain relief. Although the absence of THC in CBD is widely acknowledged, the legality of the substance has been disputed due to uncertainty around the legal status of Hemp. The new legislation confirms the difference between CBD and Marijuana.

Hemp and other Cannabis derivatives were banned in the US by the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. There is also legislation that categorizes Marijuana as dangerous, along with other substances including LSD and Ecstasy. In 2014 however, a number of small pilot plans for growing Hemp were approved by Congress. Farmers wanting to participate in these pilot programs were allowed to put in a request approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration. Despite this change, there was still a lot of debate as to whether derivatives of Marijuana - substances like CBD - were excluded from the Controlled Substances Act or not.

Shawn Hauser, a senior associate at Cannabis Law firm Vicente Sederberg recently clarified the bill, stating that "The 2018 bill actually goes in and amends the Controlled Substances Act to make very clear that CBD derived from Hemp would not be considered a controlled substance."

John Hudak, who is the author of Marijuana: A Short History and is also a senior fellow at Brookings Institution, called this new legislation ‘a pretty important step forwards in terms of the federal government's recognition of what CBD oil is and what its lack of potential harm or risk it."

The new legislation means that farmers growing Hemp will no longer need DEA approval, but it doesn't mean that anyone and everyone will be able to grow Hemp. There will still be federal and state restrictions on Hemp and hemp products and growers are required to obtain a licence or fulfil other requirements specified by the US Department of Agriculture.

The new legislation is welcome news to those who have long fought for the legalization of Hemp. The pro-legalize camp praised the agreement, pointing out that the new legislation will provide more job opportunities and improve economic growth. Justin Strekal, political director of NORML, the pro-marijuana group, says its now time for lawmakers to introduce more benchmarks for safety and quality standards for CBD, in order to increase consumer satisfaction.

The new legislation is now subject to a vote from the House and the Senate, which is expected before the end of 2018.

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