The recently passed Farm Bill allows the legal production of organic hemp by exempting hemp – including any part, extract, or derivative of the Cannabis plant with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis – from the definition of marijuana. For example, a CBD product that has been prohibited as “marijuana” will no longer violate the CSA, if it meets the Farm Bill’s definition of hemp. Its legalization may result in increases within the CBD industry and create new opportunities for farming. Without varying laws state to state, there's more opportunity for growth; however, the hemp industry is still heavily regulated requiring state permits to grow and stringent testing for THC levels.
Baystate Organic Certifiers will start accepting hemp crop and handling applications immediately, but please note that certification will require compliance with state requirements for licensing. Where the Farm Bill legalizes hemp, it also sketches out a regulatory framework in new Subtitle G to the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (7 U.S.C. § 1621 et seq.). Producers should be aware that the farm bill implementation by the USDA may result in additional regulations for hemp production beyond already stated requirements for state permits and testing for THC levels. Producers interested in hemp production should contact Eric Hanson or Don Franczyk with questions about certifying hemp.
Looking ahead, the FDA said in a statement that it will heavily regulate hemp-based products and will quickly prosecute those who run afoul of the THC requirement.