Cannabidiol (CBD), raking in a projected $23 billion in 2025, is a big boom by any standard to players in the hemp industry in the U.S. in particular and the world at large. This was made feasible by President Trump’s assent to the 2018 Farm Bill last December.
The unbridled excitement generated by CBD can only be compared to the rave for the Bitcoin. But while Bitcoin and the sister Cryptos were shrouded in the mystery of the Blockchain, CBD is a whole new ball game altogether.
A big case is made for the American farmers who have been stressed up as well as operators in other industries that produce over 25,000 hemp-based products which include construction materials, cosmetics, automotive parts, food and beverages, textile materials, and furniture. All of these people will heave a resounding sigh of relief.
The U.S. has always depended heavily on China and Canada for the importation of hemp. Though the Federation of American Scientists reported that the number is decreasing as seen in $67.3 million imports in 2017 compared to $78.1 million in 2015.
On the other hand, Vote Hemp touted as the number one hemp advocacy group in the U.S. also found out as reported in their 2017 U.S. Hemp Crop Report that a total of 23,343 acres of hemp were farmed across the nation in 2017. This number was said to have more than doubled in 2018, to 77,000 acres from over 3,500 participants.
It’s evident from the report that more farmers are getting engaged, reducing the rate of unemployment and the associated stress. With this new Farm Bill law and the excitement it has generated among American farmers, it’s expected that the rural economic development will experience an exponential turn around.
Things are looking pretty good for the American farmer with the Farm Bill law. They can expect new protections such as crop insurance, interstate transportation of their products, and basic banking facilities that were only extended to the typical and traditional farmers.
But the problem is that there are still some knots to untie before we can absolutely enjoy the boom initiated by the Farm Bill.
According to section 1013 of the new Farm Bill, the hemp that qualifies and can be protected by the law must not contain more than 0.3 percent THC. While this is good because THC is the active ingredient and the high-inducing aspect of the hemp, it puts farmers in a tight corner.
Farmers must seek and ensure that they grow research hemp and must be licensed too before embarking on the project. All these are knotty areas that can be unfortunately and unintentionally infringed upon and need to be worked upon for ease of access to the research hemp.
The bill funny enough does not change the requirements of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act so producers are still at the mercy of the FDA. In order to make this fact sink in, the FDA in an FAQ currently insists that CBD may not be sold as a dietary supplement but didn’t say that whole plant hemp extracts are covered.
The FDA (the Food and Drug Administration who oversees drug trials), DEA (the Drug Enforcement Administration), and NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) must put their acts together to ensure that farmers and operators in the CBD project have smooth sailing.
The Farm Bill was not eloquent on the status of the 33 states who have legalized cannabis for medical purposes, as well as the 10 states that have legalized cannabis for adult use. Under federal law, every one of those programs is illegal. The Farm Bill should have redressed that situation but unfortunately, it didn’t.
There must be a harmonization of the federal and states laws on the CBD products for consumers’ protection. At the present situation, even CBD products produced by state-legal, medical, or adult-use cannabis programs are illegal products under federal law, both within states and across state lines.
The report that the state of Idaho seized hemp shipments and charged the drivers for state law marijuana crimes in spite of the Farm Bill is rather worrisome. This is in spite of “the express protection in the final language prohibiting interference with interstate transport, regardless of what kind of plan states choose to adopt,” the Forbes reports.
Once all these knotty angles are tidied up, farmers, corporate bodies as well as the government will have a clear playing ground to operate the CBD multi-billion dollar project. The impact would be felt in all spheres of the economy especially as regards unemployment, crime rate, less stressed up conditions, and a less hazardous environment.