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Industrial Hemp Looks Secure in 2018 Farm Bill

Language in the 2018 Farm Bill that would establish a national, comprehensive industrial hemp marketplace appears to be safe and untouched as lawmakers work to reconcile small differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill, Benzinga reports.

The hemp legalization language was added to the annual mega-bill and has been consistently championed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).

“It’s time to remove the federal hurdles and give [farmers] the opportunity to seize its full potential and once again become the national leader for hemp production. That is why I strongly advocated for this measure to be included in the Farm Bill.” — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), in June

Specifically, the bill removes hemp from the federal definition of “marihuana” in the Controlled Substances Act. Under the new rules, hemp would be defined as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that 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 concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

The 2017 Farm Bill expires on September 30, which gives lawmakers just two weeks for further deliberation to establish the next Farm Bill. If they do not reconcile the 2018 Farm Bill in time, experts expect that lawmakers would instead pass a continuing resolution, which would postpone a government shutdown and give Congress an extra month for deliberations.

“I suspect that it may happen before midterms, but we are confident about the hemp provisions,” said Garrett Graf of Denver-based Hoban Law Group in an interview with Benzinga. “Our understanding and optimism are that the Senate provisions will remain intact. We are not hearing any suggestions to the contrary.”

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