The 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law on December 20th, 2018 and went into effect on January 1st, 2019.
Here are the highlights on how Farm Bill 2018 will impact Texans:
The 2018 Farm Bill amends the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970 so that hemp plants containing 0.3 percent THC or less are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance under federal law.
The CSA acknowledges two types of cannabis, hemp and marijuana. Hemp is an agricultural commodity. Marijuana is a controlled substance.
To date, various commercial products – such as some CBD oils – are advertised as being derived from hemp, although some experts in the field dispute the notion that such plants are an efficient source for cannabinoids.
The 2018 Farm Bill maintains the agriculture pilot programs created from 2014 Farm Bill for an additional year.
The 2018 Farm Bill removes hemp from the jurisdiction of the Justice Department. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will lightly regulate the crop.
The 2018 Farm Bill permits those US states that wish to possess “primary regulatory authority over the production of hemp” to submit a plan to the US Secretary of Agriculture.
The USDA has 60 days to approve, disapprove, or amend the plan.
Plans must track the land where hemp is cultivated, procedures for testing hemp and disposing of non-compliant hemp, and indicate how the state will enforce against violations of the 2018 Farm Bill.
In instances where a state-proposed plan is not approved, “it shall be unlawful to produce hemp in that state … without a license.”
The Act does not federally recognize non-licensed, non-commercial hemp cultivation activities.
Specifically allows all tribe lands to grow hemp with or without a state sanctioned program.
The 2018 Farm Bill extends federal crop insurance coverage to industrial hemp. Hemp producers can apply for USDA certification and grants, as with other agricultural commodities.
TRANSPORTATION OF HEMP AND HEMP PRODUCTS. — No State or Indian Tribe shall prohibit the transportation or shipment of hemp or hemp products produced in accordance with subtitle G of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (as added by section 10113) [the provisions on industrial hemp] through the State or the territory of the Indian Tribe, as applicable.
States that don’t adopt an industrial hemp program cannot interfere with the transportation or shipment of industrial hemp. Though this may not go so far as to require each state to allow the sale of industrial hemp or hemp products, including Hemp-CBD, it does prevent states from interfering with the distribution of industrial hemp.
The 2018 Farm Bill covers penalties for violations of approved state or tribal plans and breaks them into the following categories:
Negligent Violations occur when a hemp producer unintentionally violates a state or tribal plan for hemp cultivation by failing to provide
A legal description of the land where hemp will be cultivated.
Failing to obtain the required license or authorization from the state or tribe, or produces cannabis with more than 0.3% THC.
Producers who commit a negligent violation shall enter into and comply with a plan established by a state or tribe to correct the violation. The corrective action plan must include a date by which the producer corrects the violation and require that the producer periodically report to the state or tribe on compliance for no less than two years.
Will not be subject to criminal or civil enforcement action beyond agreeing to submit to a corrective action plan.
Other violations occur when a hemp producer acts with a “culpable mental state greater than negligence.” Other violations could cover things like
Intentionally growing THC-rich marijuana under the guise of industrial hemp.
Disregarding the industrial hemp rules.
Other violations will be referred to the Department of Justice or the “chief law enforcement officer of the State” where the industrial hemp is grown.
The 2018 Farm Bill prohibits “any person convicted of a felony relating to a controlled substance” under state or federal law before, on, or after the date when the Farm Bill passes to produce hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill or participate in a state or tribal hemp program for a period of 10 years following the date of conviction.
Will not apply to any person lawfully growing hemp with a license, registration, or authorization under a 2014 Farm Bill agricultural pilot program prior to the 2018 Farm Bill enactment.
Anyone who makes a false statement on an industrial hemp application will also be banned from the industry.
The FDA immediately issued a statement saying, "We treat products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds as we do any other FDA-regulated products -- meaning they're subject to the same authorities and requirements as FDA-regulated products containing any other substance." The FDA went on to state, "It's unlawful under the FD&C Act to introduce food containing added CBD or THC into interstate commerce, or to market CBD or THC products as, or in, dietary supplements, regardless of whether the substances are hemp-derived. This is because both CBD and THC are active ingredients in FDA-approved drugs and were the subject of substantial clinical investigations before they were marketed as foods or dietary supplements."
“This law marks the first change in the federal classification of the cannabis plant since it was initially classified as a Schedule I controlled substance by Congress in 1970, and paves the way for the first federally-sanctioned commercial hemp grows since World War II.” – Paul Armentano, NORML.
But what will this mean for Texans? Well, that can depend.
This can play out a few ways in Texas.
If the Texas Agricultural Commissioner (Sid Miller) and the Texas Department of Agriculture create a plan and submit it to the USDA, it will move through the approval process above. Sid Miller recently said that he supports industrial hemp and the economic opportunities it will provide Texas Farmers. If the Texas State Legislature decided to enact legislation regarding hemp, then those statues would guide the program. If Texas decides not to move forward with either of the above avenues, it appears that Texas farmers would be ineligible to grow hemp.
We will keep you updated on the progress of hemp being grown in our state.