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2018 Farm Bill Will Legalize Industrial Hemp

With many states legalizing the use of cannabis products for medical use, and a smaller subset legalizing these items for adult recreational use, it is sometimes tempting for high-level media coverage to lose sight of industrial hemp. However, if your company participates in any part of the hemp supply chain, you know how vibrant and far-reaching the industry is. With the latest iteration of the Farm Bill set to legalize industrial hemp for cultivation - albeit under heavily controlled circumstances - progress in production and sale of related projects could move even more quickly in the near future.

What Are the Legal Changes?

According to the Los Angeles Times, the 2018 Farm Bill completely reclassifies hemp plants, changing them from illegal drugs to agricultural products. This designation applies only to crops with fractionally small amounts of THC in them. Considering the potential for new farming opportunities to appear in the wake of legalization, the bill had bipartisan support in Congress.

The Times added that the main effect enacted by this bill is a change in the path of the hemp supply chain. Allowing U.S. farmers to cultivate and refine these plants will add new sources of products that have thus far been imported from companies such as China and Canada. These hemp-based items are a slice of the retail market worth over $800 million annually in the U.S.

What Does the CBD Market Look Like?

The products that can be grown under the Farm Bill won't become part of the emerging cannabis market based on THC-rich items, but the new legislation may represent a change in the cannabidiol (CBD) space. CBD goods are still not universally legalized at the federal level. The Brookings Institute noted that the general view that all CBD goods are now legalized is a myth, and it's important for companies to ensure their CBD supply chains are legal, rather than mistakenly believing all sources are allowed.

The Farm Bill hemp rules are very strict about the ways in which derivatives are produced. Providers that follow the dictates of the law, getting in line with the Farm Bill and rules at the state and federal levels, are allowed to extract cannabinoids. Other companies still cannot do so.

What Should Businesses Keep Track Of?

The cannabis market is always evolving, from the THC-infused items that are expanding to more states to the industrial hemp derivatives that can now be farmed widely than ever before. Each year, gradual changes come to the industry at large, and your brand must keep up with the pace of progress. That means verifying supply chain partners, ensuring permits are always current and updating labels whenever necessary are inescapable realities in the cannabis sector.

When you're working on labels for your items, whether they are non-hallucinogenic CBD goods, medically licensed products or recreational offerings, it pays to partner with a company that has long experience in the industry. Lightning Labels has acted as an indispensable source of compliant and compelling cannabis product labels since the earliest days of the medical marijuana movement, and can deliver the packaging your company needs to please regulators and customers.

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