Question of the Day — Is Hemp Legal?
The simple answer is that at different times in our history, it has been illegal. However, during World War II it was legalized for manufacturing purposes. Post World War II it was illegal again because it was still though to be the same as marijuana. With the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp was legalized because law makers realized that hemp is cannabis but not marijuana.
It contains a provision legalizing it because it is cannabis but not psychoactive. This is not the typical farm bill but it provides important agricultural and nutritional policy extensions regarding cannabis.
Hemp is defined in the legislation as the cannabis plant, but it cannot contain more than 0.3) of THC. THC, the cannabinoid that is up to 30% in marijuana, is naturally low in hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill finally differentiated between the two types of cannabis plants. They were both classified as illegal in 1937 under the Marihuana Tax Act and formally made illegal in 1970.
Hemp is Legal with Restrictions
The 2018 Farm Bill is more expansive to allow hemp cultivation broadly across all states on a federal level. There are however, four to six states who restrict the growth and sale of it to the point of total exclusion.
Number 1 — The 2018 Farm Bill has a clause that specifically refers to transportation of hemp across state lines when the law in that state excludes the growth. It explicitly allows the transfer of these products across state lines for commercial or other purposes. There are no restrictions on the sale, transport, or possession of hemp-derived products if the products are produced with less than 0.3% THC.
If a hemp plant or crop contains more than 0.3% THC, it is considered non-hemp cannabis, so becomes a marijuana crop and federal law provides no protection from prosecution in that case.
Number 2 — There are significant, shared state-federal regulatory powers over cultivation and production through the Secretary of USDA. A state’s plan to license and regulate hemp can start when the Secretary of USDA approves the state’s plan. If a state does not have a regulatory program, the USDA will construct a specific regulatory program. This program gives guidelines to those cultivators to apply for licenses and comply with a federally-run program.
Number 3 — The law outlines actions considered violations of federal hemp law. Violation #1 is cultivating without a license. Violation #2 is producing cannabis with more than 0.3% THC. These violations have punishments or fines along with a pathway for compliance.
My “Legal” Last Words
Is Hemp legal? It is now and no doubt always will be even with some qualifications farmers understand. Hemp is rising to the forefront not only in holistic communities, but its importance is recognized along with diversity. All these possibilities will provide medical professionals with much needed options. Medicinal knowledge about the plant is in its infancy in the medical arena. This product remains stable, but growth in knowledge and use is imminent.