After a lengthy compromise process, The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill) was passed on December 12, 2018 by Congress and delivered to the White House for the President to sign. The 2018 Farm Bill will replace the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2014, which expired on September 30, 2018. Distributing more than $850 billion, the 2018 Farm Bill is an enormous piece of legislation and funds programs such as crop insurance, school lunches, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Integrated into the massive omnibus Farm Bill is the bipartisan Hemp Farming Act of 2018, spearheaded by Senator Mitch McConnell. The Hemp Farming Act will legalize at the federal level the production of industrial hemp, defined as Cannabis sativa L. plants containing less than three-tenths of a percent of THC, the intoxicating chemical in marijuana. The low concentration of THC makes these plants unsuitable for marijuana production, which remains federally illegal.
First and foremost, the 2018 Farm Bill will abolish this inconsistent treatment by removing industrial hemp from the definition of “marihuana” in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). In addition, tetrahydrocannabinols contained in industrial hemp will be removed from the purview of the CSA. This amendment to the CSA will decriminalize the production and use of the Cannabis sativa L. plant and its derived products that match the definition of industrial hemp, such as hemp seed oil, CBD oil, hemp fibers and hemp paper.