Hemp is stuck in a peculiar position, from a legal point of view. The crop had been outlawed for decades before the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation and sale of industrial hemp and its extracts. While the legislation made hemp legal, it wasn’t comprehensive enough to regulate the industry that quickly grew around hemp.
For a couple of months, the eager beavers who joined the hemp bandwagon as soon as it left the station were operating in an industry stuck in legal uncertainty. In October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) finally released its interim final rule on hemp. The rules seek to regulate the industry more tightly, but there have been complaints that they are too stringent.
Several states have already started large scale production of hemp, but the picture in Hawaii is quite different, where farmers are limited to small test plots of hemp under a 2016 pilot program. However, this might soon change as this week, Hawaii legislators on the House Agriculture Committee will consider several bills that would allow the commercial production of hemp and legalize the sale of hemp-derived products.
Hemp itself is insanely versatile with a ton of applications, but most of the demand for hemp is driven by cannabidiol (CBD), a hemp extract that’s been said to be a potent natural medicine.
One issue legislators have to work out is THC testing. According to the 2018 Farm Bill, legal hemp has to have less than 0.3% THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol). It is the chemical responsible for marijuana’s infamous high, and federal regulations require farmers to test their crops for THC levels before harvesting.
Hopefully, the bills will bring some semblance of order to the Hawaii CBD sector. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t allow the sale of CBD-infused products, and Hawaii’s law reflects that, the state is flush with CBD products. The FDA has in the past sent warning letters to companies accused of doing so.
A number of states have legalized some form of CBD, and the Hawaii State Department suspects most of the cannabidiol products on Hawaii shelves are from these states. According to a health department official, the rapid proliferation of unapproved CBD products has overwhelmed the state food safety inspector’s ability to respond to the CBD craze effectively.
The consensus among regulators is that since these products are easily available, some form of consumer protection is needed, with the health department supporting state laws to regulate the manufacture and sale of CBD in the state.
Lawmakers in the House of Agriculture will discuss the matter on today and we will keep you posted on what transpires as and when that information becomes available.
Experts say it is highly likely that CBD industry players like ChineseInvestors.com (OTCQB: CIIX) and Dama Financial would like federal regulators to also take a proactive approach to the CBD industry.
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