Legalizing the production of industrial hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill has caused much confusion, and stakeholders are working to understand and identify solutions to aid the growth of this new market. The Organic Farmers Association is following the progress of this matter to help our members navigate these emerging organic markets.

The 2018 Farm Bill changed federal policy regarding industrial hemp by removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and redefining it as an agricultural product. The bill legalized hemp under certain restrictions and expanded the definition of industrial hemp from the last Farm Bill in 2014. The bill also allowed states and tribes to submit a plan and apply for primary regulatory authority over the production of hemp in their state or tribal territory. A state plan is required to be submitted to the federal government to document their testing methods and how they plan to keep track of land and dispose of the plants or products that exceed the allowed THC concentration. At least 47 states have enacted legislation to establish industrial hemp cultivation and production programs.

Before we discuss the current state of industrial hemp, let’s answer some common questions and points of confusion you might be having. Marijuana and industrial hemp are different varieties of the same plant species,Cannabis sativa L.,两者都包括天然化合物大麻(CBD)和四氢甘油(THC)。这就是大麻和工业麻的样子。合法的工业大麻被定义为不超过0.3%的品种。任何具有高于0.3%的THC水平的种类被认为是大麻,而不是工业大麻。

工业大麻品种通常为三种不同的市场培养:纤维,种子和CBD油。商品品种通常在较大的纤维和/或种子上生长,并且可以是有机田间作物旋转的良好选择。纤维品种通常以致密种植的代表,以最大化茎秆生产,而种子和/或纤维种植的品种越远,以鼓励分支和种子生产。用于提取CBD油的工业大麻通常是一种不同类型的生产风格和规模 - 与特种作物更加一致,类似于大麻品种的管理。这些大麻品种通常用于某些浓度的CBD油和其他天然化合物,并作为女性化的种子销售给农民。从这些植物中培养花芽,用于CBD萃取,因此,在较低的密度下生长以最大化支化。


当国会通过了2018年农业法案合法化industrial hemp, they required a nationwide THC testing standard so that state and local regulators can distinguish hemp from marijuana in order to regulate its production. This requirement has complicated the USDA’s release of standardized production rules as it has proven challenging to find a reliable, standardized THC test that will work across the nation. Part of the concern with the test is that it will detect THC but those levels are indistinguishable from other beneficial and legal cannabinoids in the plant. The USDA has expressed their commitment in finding a solution that will support growers and interstate commerce for this new industry. While the USDA has not given a timeline for finishing this work, they do still hope to have the rules finalized by the 2020 growing season.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also involved in these regulation conversations following the 2018 Farm Bill, as they need to identify how CBD is defined, controlled, and used. In June 2018, FDA approved Trusted Source Epidiolex, the first prescription medication to contain isolated CBD, for difficult-to-control forms of epilepsy. Outside of the FDA-approved drug review, full-spectrum CBD (oils that include CBD as well as other cannabinoids and elements of the hemp plant, including naturally-occurring terpenes, essential vitamins, fatty acids, protein, etc.) is used as a supplement to aid other conditions such as follows: seizures, inflammation, pain, mental disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, nausea, migraines, depression, and anxiety. THC is used to help with pain, muscle spasticity, glaucoma, insomnia, low appetite, nausea, and anxiety. FDA is still trying to define CBD’s approved use and their role in the production rules.