Industrial Hemp: Legalized Marijuana’s More Lucrative Sibling

 

Steven Schain

Derived from the identical plants, much easier to cultivate, and profoundly more profitable, industrial hemp lacks legalized marijuana’s glamour and intrigue.

However, industrial hemp’s staggering growth and application has eclipsed that of marijuana and the recent Hemp Industry of America v. U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Case No. 17-70162 (9th Circuit, April 30, 2018) ruling establishes that the Agricultural Act of 2014, 7 U.S. Code Section 5940 (Farm Bill)—and not the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, 21 U.S.C. Sections 801, Et. Seq (1970) (Controlled Substance Act)—industrial hemp definition  prevails.

Industrial Hemp Overview

Hemp-derived products rising acceptance, combined with easing state regulations, caused the United States’ hemp production to explode in 2017.

A versatile plant used for thousands of years as a food and fiber source, industrial hemp was grown commercially in the United States until both its and marijuana’s cultivation was prohibited after World War II.

In Section 7606 of the Farm Bill, the federal government opened the door to legal industrial hemp cultivation in conjunction with state agricultural research pilot programs. As defined by Section 7606 of the Farm Bill, industrial hemp is a variety of cannabis sativa L. containing less than 0.3 percent plant chemical delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound typically associated with “marihuana.” The Farm Bill legalizes industrial hemp including, but not limited to, cultivation, transport, processing, sale and use. See Pub. L. 113-79, Section 7606; Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (Pub. L. No. 114-441 (Sec. 537, 729).

Different varieties of the same plant species, cannabis sativa, marijuana is cultivated to yield psychoactive THC and industrial hemp is cultivated for more than 25,000 oil and fibrous products.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an example of an oil based hemp-derived product, has broad health and wellness uses, and, according to cannabis research firm Brightfield Group, the domestic CBD market reached $291 million in 2017 and will hit $1.65 billion by 2021.

“Animal Feed” is an example of a fibrous hemp-derived product, which, before being sold or distributed, must be deemed “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Agency (FDA) or listed as a “recognized feed ingredient” by the American Association of…

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