U.S. President Donald J. Trump just legalized industrial hemp nationwide by signing the new Farm Bill into law December 20, 2018. After nearly 50 years of prohibition, industrial hemp will be legal to grow across America beginning January 1, 2019. Hemp legalization, a provision of the 2018 Farm Bill, received bipartisan support.
Hemp is explicitly removed from the list of federally banned drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. CBD and other cannabinoids are essentially “de-scheduled” from the Schedule I Controlled Substance list, but only if they are produced in accordance with the Farm Bill stipulations, meaning growers must comply with state and federal regulations. The USDA will reportedly regulate hemp production now, and States that wish to exert more restrictive state controls must coordinate their plans with the USDA.
Although hemp will no longer be in the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice, prospective growers will have to submit cultivation plans to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), either through the state government or the USDA itself. Hemp legalization is now set to technically take effect on January 1, however it will take additional time to submit regulatory plans to the USDA before farmers can legally cultivate the crop.
On December 20, 2018 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a Statement saying it will take steps to identify pathways for the lawful marketing of hemp-derived cannabis products, since “Congress explicitly preserved the agency’s current authority to regulate products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds”.