Vapouround magazine ISSUE 21 - Page 114

FEATURE US: Green acres for legalised hemp. What does this mean for CBD? Hemp farmers can now import and export raw materials across state lines without the threat of DEA intervention. By Gordon Stribling “Green acres is the place to be. Farm living is the life for me.” That famous clip from the 2006 Emmy Awards, during which Donald Trump and Will and Grace actress Megan Mullaly sang Green Acres on stage, marked the legalisation of hemp in all 50 US states. Hemp farmers can now import and export raw materials across state lines without the threat of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) intervention. However, CBD derived from marijuana remains a Schedule I substance. This means it sits in the same drugs category classified by the FDA as heroin and meth. At the signing ceremony for the bill on December 20, the US president said: “Through fires, floods and freezing weather, we will always stand with the American farmers. It opens new markets for American agriculture all over the world.” While the provisions set out in the Farm Bill have been well-received by the farming and hemp communities, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb warned that foods and supplements containing CBD would continue to be regulated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Dr Gottlieb wrote in a statement: “Selling unapproved products with unsubstantiated therapeutic claims is not only a violation of the law, but also can put patients at risk, as these products have not been proven to be safe or effective.” The FDA approved UK-made CBD drug Epidiolex last year. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell had pushed for the legalisation of industrial hemp after seeing its potential to revitalise the agricultural industry in Kentucky, where farmers were seeking an alternative crop to tobacco, demand for which continues to decline. Senator McConnell said: “I used my very own hemp pen to sign the conference report, clearing the way for the House and Senate to pass legislation and send it to the president’s desk. “I’m proud that the bill includes my provision to legalise the production of industrial hemp. It’s a victory for farmers and consumers throughout our country.” The new bill also makes hemp farmers eligible to access federal crop insurance and participate in USDA programs for certification and competitive grants. Banking barriers lifted CBD product manufacturers and retailers who sell hemp-based CBD will now be able to work with banks and credit card processing companies such as PayPal, who had previously barred all CBD sales due to former Schedule I classification. While hemp is legal at the federal level, patchwork regulations apply state-by-state. For example, New York state allows CBD in dietary supplements but California does not, despite CBD- containing marijuana being legal in the state. Tribal governments can impose their own restrictions and requirements, but they must not interfere with the interstate transportation of hemp or hemp products. Blake Butler is executive director of the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Association. He said: “This is a great day for our farmers, ranchers, foresters and producers. Hemp gives people hope, and that’s what gives me goosebumps.” The final draft of the bill bars people with drug felony convictions from working in the hemp industry for 10 years after the date of their conviction. The long-awaited 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law by the US president on December 20 and it became law on January 1. “This is a great day for our farmers, ranchers, foresters and producers. Hemp gives people hope and that’s what gives me goosebumps.” 114 | VM21