Things are happening, and we aren’t just referring to states legalizing cannabis one at a time. No, the latest news is at the federal level, and it’s big. As early as mid-December – that’s right about now – hemp and hemp-derived CBD could become legal federally, which would mean hemp production for any use would have the green light in all 50 states. And make no mistake – that would absolutely set the stage for the legalization of cannabis as a whole. It’s all thanks to the Farm Bill.
Poised to Explode
Among many, many programs and subsidies – including those affecting crops, export markets, forestry provisions, and food stamp recipients – the newly revised Farm Bill is explicit about hemp and CBD derived from hemp. The language makes specific exceptions to the Schedule I status of CBD, which is the lowest level on the controlled substances list. The wording is clear – if and only if hemp is produced in a manner consistent with the bill and associated federal and state regulations, as well as by a licensed grower, then it will be legal. All other cannabinoids remain a Schedule I substance, which means they’re still illegal, with the exception of pharmaceutical-grade CBD products already approved by the FDA, and that’s a group of one at this point. But this is still a step in the right direction, and it means CBD is poised to absolutely blow up. The Brightfield Group, a cannabis research firm, predicts that by 2022, CBD sales could increase 40 times over the close to $600 million made in 2018.
From one perspective, this legal change makes sense. In late June of this year, the Food and Drug Administration approved an oral solution derived from cannabidiol, or CBD, to treat seizures related to severe forms of epilepsy. Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome was one of them, and that’s a disease with which we’re unfortunately familiar. This approval was a history-defining moment – the very first FDA-approved drug containing CBD. The next step? Clearing CBD at the federal level. And we’re on the precipice.
This is a wide-reaching change, affecting current restrictions on advertising, banking, financial services, and trading on a public stock exchange. That’s a major change for CBD companies, who are currently restricted from operating on American stock exchanges and doing business in Canada instead.
At the Mercy of the FDA
As it’s written, the bill would mean FDA jurisdiction when it comes to CBD in edibles and drinks. According to the Brightfield Group, the CBD categories with the most growth will be non-edible – beauty products, skincare, and topicals.
The bill has cleared the Senate and the House – by a whopping 369-47 – and is expected to land on the President Trump’s desk next week. This is history in the making! With that signature, Trump himself could be bringing about the beginning of the end of cannabis prohibition.