With the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill, however, that is all about to change. Hemp legalization was first introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from industrial hemp-producing Kentucky. The measure, known as Section 7606, ends the Schedule I status of industrial hemp under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which categorized the plant as a potentially addictive substance with no medical uses alongside drugs like heroin and ecstasy.
This isn’t the first time McConnell or one of his colleagues has introduced such a bill. Actually, it’s the sixth -- similar bills were introduced in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2013 and most recently 2015, only to be stalled each time in congressional committees that couldn’t see the difference between hemp and marijuana (or choose not to). This bill has a real chance of finally passing because of its potential for job creation and economic growth.
It didn’t take long after U.S. consumers accepted kale as a superfood for the leafy green to take off. The same thing could easily happen to hemp seeds once more American farmers are allowed to cultivate and sell the crop. For perspective on the potential business opportunity, consider that Canadian farmers exported $45 million worth of hemp seed to the U.S. in 2016, making as much as $300 per acre, per season, farming industrial hemp. That’s five to 10 times as much as what our farmers in the Midwest are currently making for growing GMO wheat, corn and soy.
For even more assurance about a product’s quality, Boyar recommends checking the COA to see whether it says that the lab meets “ISO 17025” standards. That suggests the lab adheres to high scientific standards. Also look to see whether a company uses testing methods validated by one of three respected national standard-setting organizations: the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (AOAC), the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), or the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP).
That’s important to farmers like Meyer, and to consumers. When a plant contains 0.3 percent or less THC, the federal government considers it “industrial hemp,” and by Colorado’s and most states’ reckoning, can legally be formulated into oils, tinctures, topicals, and capsules, and widely sold to consumers. But if a plant has THC levels above 0.3 percent, the federal government considers it marijuana, and even states where it is legal sharply limit where the products can be sold.