On December 20th, the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law. The Farm Bill originally began in 1933 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Agricultural Adjustment Act to provide support to farmers during the Great Depression. Since 1965, Farm Bills have been passed every four to five years, and is now an $867 billion bill that sets America’s farm and food policy.
While there are several parts to the Farm Bill, there are three main components:
- Provide support to farmers via subsidies and crop insurance
- Help feed the hungry
- Water conservation, wildlife, and air quality control
In addition, this year’s Farm Bill introduces legislation to reclassify hemp by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act, meaning it will no longer be an illegal substance under federal law. However, there are still obstacles to overcome.
On the day the bill was signed, the FDA issued a press release stating that under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, products containing CBD still fall under the FDA’s regulatory authority. They go on to state that there are pathways available for those who seek to lawfully introduce their products and that the agency will continue to work on making the process more efficient. (U.S. Food & Drug Administration, 2018) The full press release can be found here.
Despite this, the market for hemp products is promising. According to an article from Capital Press, US CBD sales grew nearly 40% in 2017, reaching $367 million. The total retail value of all hemp products reached $820 million–all before the signing of the bill. (Capital Press, 2018) The Farm Bill not only legalizes hemp, it also expands research into commercial uses. It’s an encouraging sign that once regulations and processes have been settled, the market for CBD and hemp products will have the opportunity to grow exponentially.