Since the writing of this note, the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (the "Farm Bill") was signed into law by President Trump on December 20, 2018. Thus, the note below does not account for the passage of the Farm Bill and resulting change in federal law. What follows is a brief summary of sections of the Farm Bill and its relation to hemp: The Farm Bill legalizes hemp by defining it as an agricultural commodity under federal law. Removed from this new definition of hemp, are the parts of the cannabis plant that make it illegal under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. As a result, hemp is effectively treated like any other agricultural product under federal law. Once the Farm Bill is in effect, hemp farmers can legally import and export hemp throughout the United States and participate in U.S. Department of Agriculture programs such as low-cost crop insurance. This will empower the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create restrictions on hemp cultivation. States could enact hemp regulations so long as these newly enacted regulations comply with federal law and do not prohibit the transportation or shipment of hemp within the United States. However, States are not limited in the level of punishment that can be imposed on hemp producers, even in the case of negligent violations.
Marc Adesso, Pirjin Laser & Alex Mills,
An Overview of Industrial Hemp Law in the United States,
U.D.C. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.udc.edu/udclr/vol22/iss1/7