One day following the passage of the McConnell Hemp Bill, hemp farmers are breathing a sigh of relief. Why, you ask? Quite simply because the Grassley Amendment - which could schedule CBD as a drug - was defeated.
WHAT WAS THE GRASSLEY AMENDMENT?
At first glance, the Grassley Amendment appeared to be all about helping the beginner and younger farmers to gain more of the subsidy money set aside for farming assistance. However, there was more to it than that.
The Amendment explicitly excluded "cannabinoids," "extracts", and "derivatives" from the definition of hemp. This would have meant that products derived from hemp, such as CBD oil, may have been listed as a schedule 1 drug with the DEA, lumping it with marijuana, heroin, magic mushrooms, and LSD.
Hemp only contains trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. Yet the language in this amendment would have lumped it with marijuana in requirements for additional research, thus crippling existing production of CBD-infused products already on the market.
WHAT IS THE MCCONNELL HEMP BILL?
Passage of the McConnell Hemp Bill includes hemp legalization legislation. In fact, it passed the Senate Agriculture Committee with a vote of 20-1, with Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa the only negative vote. (Here is where those opposing the Grassley Amendment share a nice fist-bump to support the other 19 voters.)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, drafted what is known as the Hemp Farming Act to be included in the 2018 Farm Bill. His amendment removes industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances under federal law, making it in direct conflict with that aspect of Senator Grassley's amendment. While that may not have been his intention, it is how it has turned out - giving us legalization of hemp when signed by President Trump.In 2014, the previous farm bill relaxed regulations surrounding hemp, allowing farmers in a few states to grow the crop as part of research studies, Kentucky included. With the new passage, farmers choosing to grow hemp will have more outlets for selling their crops as hemp is used to make everything from apparel, foods, and pharmaceuticals to body care products, car dashboards, and building materials. This could be a replacement for losses of revenue due to falling tobacco demand.
THE AGRICULTURE IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2018
The 2018 farm bill included more than 60 amendments for the Senate Agriculture Committee's consideration. A few include:
- Adding approximately $100 Billion to the dairy assistance program, calling it "Dairy Risk Coverage."
- Other funds have been set aside for water infrastructure investments and protection of forest lands.
This bill has already been voted on once (in May) by the House of Representatives and did not pass. They are expected to vote on it again this month. Once it does pass, it will pass on to President Trump's desk along with the Senate's approval.
Next, the full Senate will vote on what has been approved to date. After any debate, following approval by the majority, it will go on to the President. He may either pass it, veto it, or do nothing.
Should the President do nothing, if Congress is in session, it will become law automatically after ten days. If they are not in session, nothing will happen. For now, we rejoice that it has passed through this far and pray it will continue its journey of approval.
For the hemp industry, a deep breath of relief is being breathed today by those farmers who can now grow the crop for medicinal purposes. There is no longer the threat of "cannabinoids," "extracts", and "derivatives" being excluded from the definition of hemp. This is a powerful and outstanding day for CBD news! Join us in marking June 13, 2018 as a great leap in hemp history.