The 2014 Farm Bill originally reintroduced the production of hemp in the U.S. Certain provisions under this bill restricted production and sale of hemp to only be allowed if research is being conducted. Research being either scientific; i.e. growing conditions, or market research.
More recently, the U.S. senate passed its version of a federal Farm Bill with a provision that would fully legalize the growing of hemp in the U.S. Naturally, this is causing excitement in the hemp industry but it is also exciting many supporters outside of the industry. As big tobacco struggle to attract American’s interest and are having a hard time competing with electronic cigarettes; tobacco farmers are looking for new crops to sustain their farms. “Farmers are drooling to get into the hemp business, and the only ones who are reticent are the ones who don’t know how much money you can make. You can make more money on hemp than any other product grown in the United States, including marijuana.” Reports The Business Journal.
Though the House Farm Bill did not mention hemp, industry experts note that at least nothing was included by the House members to restrict the rules allowing hemp farming under research partnerships from the 2014 bill.
As for the hemp provision in the Senate Farm Bill, that’s being largely credited to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as he views the introduction of a federal hemp industry as a way to replace agricultural jobs in tobacco.
The Senate bill passed easily, however, the house bill was more hard-fought. It’s still not clear if the Senate revision to the federal hemp regulations might be a point of contention in both houses developing and passing the final Farm Bill, nor is it clear if the president might weigh in for or against it.
And even if all that happens, the Senate provisions as they stand now give states the right to decide individually if they want to allow unobstructed hemp growing in their jurisdictions.
Needless to say, changes to the U.S. Hemp industry are expected to happen sooner than later.