Hemp with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level of 0.3% or less by dry weight is not considered a controlled substance in the United States. The legal status of hemp is, at best, contradictory. While many states are more lenient than the federal government, which under the Controlled Substances Act considers marijuana to be an illegal and highly dangerous drug, marijuana is only legal for medical use in 36 states and for recreational use in 14 states. Article 7501 of the Farm Bill expands research on hemp to include hemp under the Critical Agricultural Materials Act.
Hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant with a negligible amount of the high-producing THC found in marijuana. This has led to hemp becoming a popular choice among those seeking a legal loophole surrounding marijuana laws. Under the new law, state governments, not the federal government, would primarily regulate hemp products. The rule re-emphasizes an earlier USDA ruling that interstate transportation is legal, even if the shipment goes through a state that does not allow hemp cultivation.
It is important to note that hemp does not produce any psychoactive effects and that the debate about its illegality was politically motivated rather than policy-oriented. Joe Salome, owner of Georgia Hemp Company, began selling Delta 8 locally and shipping about 25 orders a day domestically in October. While some states such as Idaho completely ban hemp, Delta 8 entrepreneurs are finding a responsive market in other states. Many advocates applaud Leader McConnell for incorporating these hemp provisions into the Farm Bill and his leadership in legislation in general.
However, even CBD products produced by state cannabis programs for legal, medical, or adult use are illegal products under federal law, both in states and across state lines. Farmers already have some knowledge about this plant but more can and should be done to ensure that hemp as an agricultural product remains stable. In addition, critical issues persist regarding the federal regulation of hemp when used in products regulated by the FDA, such as the use of cannabidiol (CBD) in foods and dietary supplements. Leader McConnell is praised for his efforts to include hemp provisions into the Farm Bill but he remains an opponent of marijuana reform and his role in the Senate could be an obstacle to legislation passed by Democrats in the 116th Congress.