On December 12, 2018, the U.S. Congress passed the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, otherwise known as the Farm Bill. The bill legalizes the production and transportation of hemp and hemp products, among other things. The Farm Bill has been sent to President Trump, who is expected to sign off on it before the end of the year. Marketers of health and beauty products containing Cannabidiol (CBD), which can be sourced from hemp, have anxiously awaited passage of the Farm Bill in the hopes that it will expand the U.S. market for consumer CBD products. However, this market is still burgeoning, and uncertainty about the legality of marketing CBD products nationwide continues to perplex marketers and retailers.
The Farm Bill defines “hemp” as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of the plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.” While the definition of hemp will include any part of the Cannabis sativa L. plant, it retains prior regulatory limits used to define industrial hemp by limiting permissible levels of THC concentrations to no more than 0.3%. Hemp and hemp products that meet this definition will be exempt from the definition of “marihuana” (or marijuana) under the Federal Controlled Substances Act, thereby removing it from the list of prohibited Schedule I drugs.