If you live in the US and worry about whether or not CBD (cannabidiol) oil is legal, worry no more.
On Thursday, December 20th, 2018, the President signed the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act. This is also known as the 2018 Farm Bill …
… And it ends the US prohibition on hemp, making it (and CBD oil) legal in the United States.
But wait, there are some conditions you need to know about …
The 2018 Farm Bill
In a nutshell, the 2018 Farm Bill legalizes the growing of hemp by licensed growers. It has been pretty much outlawed since the 1930s. Currently, most hemp providers export their hemp from overseas. Now American farmers can grow it legally on their own farms.
Why couldn’t farmers grow it before? Hemp was lumped in with drugs like heroin under the Controlled Substances Act.
But as a non-psychoactive natural plant, that hasn’t made sense for a long time. As Forbes notes, “The use of the hemp plant by humans for millennia has always been, and will always be, for purposes other than recreational drug use.”
Because of the health benefits, people have been fighting hard for a change. And that fight has finally paid off.
According to MarketWatch:
“This version of the bill places industrial hemp — which is defined as a cannabis plant with under 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — under the supervision of the Agriculture Department and removes CBD from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act, which covers marijuana.”
Don’t get too excited just yet. This isn’t a complete overthrow of current cannabis laws.
The Brookings Institution (a nonprofit public policy “think tank” based in Washington DC) explains:
“Ultimately, the Farm Bill legalizes hemp, but it doesn’t create a system in which people can grow it as freely as they can grow tomatoes or basil. This will be a highly regulated crop in the United States for both personal and industrial production.”
So, farmers can’t just start growing hemp. Hemp farmers will still have to comply with state and federal regulations. They must be licensed by their state – which can only happen once their state’s hemp regulatory program is approved by the USDA.
And, if farmers violate the law – like cultivating without a license or producing cannabis with more than 0.3% THC – there can be hefty consequences.
**Note: This makes it important to know that the producer of any CBD product you buy is getting their hemp from a licensed grower.
And What About FDA Control?
The other major impact of the 2018 Farm Bill? Now hemp and CBD oil are under the control of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
And that means the FDA has some control over what hemp and CBD oil companies can say about the products they sell. According to Bloomberg:
“Despite the farm bill changes, CBD can’t yet be used in food or drinks because it is a pharmaceutical ingredient approved for use in certain drugs, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.”
It isn’t clear yet what the FDA rules will be regarding what companies are allowed to do with CBD oil.
But there have already been some major leaps. Earlier this year the FDA approved a drug containing CBD for a rare form of epilepsy in children.
Clearly the FDA isn’t opposed to recognizing the impressive benefits of CBD, so we’re pleased to see these changes. As it stands, we’re happy to keep using CBD oil for our own dogs. We’ve seen the results ourselves, so we gladly embrace this move in the right direction!