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The Current State of Industrial Hemp

As expected, the 2014 Farm Act expired on September 30, 2018 without passage of the 2018 Farm Bill to replace it. What does this mean for industrial hemp? Fortunately, for a number of reasons, industrial hemp remains lawful even without the 2018 Farm Bill. The industrial hemp provisions of the 2014 Farm Act did not terminate with its expiration; they will remain in effect until the law changes, so current industrial hemp pilot programs remain valid.

Further, an appropriations bill was enacted on September 28, 2018 that continues certain appropriations bills until December 7th, including the FY18 Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Rural Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. This means that, at least for now, the DOJ (and its sub-agency DEA) cannot utilize federal funds to prohibit hemp activities permitted by the 2014 Farm Act. An important point though, is that these restrictions on the DEA are limited to the industrial hemp research programs made available by the 2014 Farm Act, and the state laws in which such programs are available.

At least for now, the state of hemp is at least as secure as it has been for the past few years. However, the 2018 Farm Bill includes provisions removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and phasing out the pilot programs. Hopefully, Congress will pass this bill as-is, or at least some reasonable version of it, by years end.


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