Marijuana Moment is a wire service assembled by Tom Angell, a marijuana legalization activist and journalist covering marijuana reform nationwide. The views expressed by Angell or Marijuana Moment are neither endorsed by the Globe nor do they reflect the Globe’s views on any subject area.
The final text of the 2018 Farm Bill was released on Monday, and industrial hemp legalization made the cut. Votes to send the legislation to President Trump’s desk are expected this week.
The bipartisan provision, championed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will enable US farmers to cultivate, process, and sell hemp, the market for which is now a multibillion dollar industry.
Following the announcement last month that lawmakers in the Senate and House Agriculture Committees had reconciled their respective versions of the agriculture legislation — with hemp legalization in the mix — questions remained about a controversial provision in the Senate version that would ban people with felony drug convictions from participating in the hemp industry.
But a compromise was reached, and the final version will allow such individuals to work for hemp businesses after 10 years.
“While this Farm Bill is a missed opportunity, there are some good provisions,” US Representative Earl Blumenauer said in a press release. “One of those provisions is to roll back our senseless hemp prohibition.”
“Our forefathers would be rolling in their graves if they saw us putting restraints on a versatile product that they grew themselves. We have farmers growing thousands of acres of hemp in dozens of states across the US already. You can have hemp products shipped to your doorstep. This is a mainstream, billion-dollar industry that we have made difficult for farmers. It’s past time Congress gets out of their way.”
Under the legislation, hemp would no longer be in the jurisdiction of the Justice Department. Rather, the US Department of Agriculture will lightly regulate the crop.
If the bill passes and Trump signs it, hemp legalization will go into effect on Jan. 1, according to VoteHemp.
Read the text of the final 2018 Farm Bill’s hemp provisions here, followed by explanatory statements from the conference committee. Marijuana Moment excerpted these sections dealing with hemp from the full 807-page Farm Bill.