By: Amber Blacharski

Hemp cultivation's legal status has flipped from illegal to legal. The legalization of industrial hemp on a federal level has a multitude of benefits for farmers and some benefits for recreational cannabis too.

What Is Hemp?

Cultivated by humans for over 10,000 years, hemp is a strain of the Cannabis plant species with a very low THC content (0.3% or less), a typically high percentage of CBD, and a variety ofpractical applications.

Hemp is Useful and Nutritious

Incredibly versatile,hemp has historically been used to make everything fromtissue paper, copy paper, and cardboard to clothing and textiles. It can even be used to make plastic substitutes and biofuel. Hemp's oil can produce oil-based paint and ink and can be included as a moisturizing agent in soaps and lotions. Plus, there are exceptionalnutritional benefits of hemp seedsand many ways to integrate them into cooking.

A History of Hemp in North America

1600-- The law required farmers to grow hemp.

1765-- George Washington noted in his diary about farming hemp crops.

1900-- Henry Ford introduced the Model T, a car manufactured and fueled by hemp.

1937-- The Marijuana Tax Act makes it illegal to produce any type of plant in the Cannabis family.

2014-- U.S. Farm Bill, Section 7606 allows industrial hemp research by state agriculture departments and universities.

April 2018--Legislation for federally legal hemp is introducedby Mitch McConnel, U.S. Senator from Kentucky and co-sponsored by Oregon senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.

December 2018--The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 is approved and made law.

Hemp Farming Act of 2018

This bill removes hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and allows states to enact legislation to establish industrial hemp cultivation and production programs. Unsurprisingly, 47 of the 50 states have enacted legislation thus far.

October 2019--The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) releases Industrial Hemp Regulations.

USDA Industrial Hemp Regulations Summary

Farmers must be licensed through the state. Crops must yield plants with less than 0.3% THC and must be tested 15 days before the anticipated harvest.

Will Federal Hemp Legalization Affect the Cannabis Industry?

Hemp has been on a legal rollercoaster over the last 400 plus years. From being mandatory by law to cultivate in 1600, to its illegal status as a result of Marijuana prohibition in 1937, and finally to federally legal industrial hemp in 2018. So,what does this mean for the cannabis industry? Well...

Industrial hemp crops yield plants with extremely high amounts of CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid counterpart to THC. And, industrial hemp, like medical cannabis, produces about 115 different cannabinoids and about 300 different terpenes. The legalization of hemp on a federal level opens the doors for research and exploration of cannabinoids (including CBD, CBG, and CBN) and the effects terpenes have on the body. This research will further educate the public, help to validate medicinal claims made about the plants, and possibly aid the federal legalization of marijuana too.

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Quick Fact

Curing Cannabis Plants- This very gradual drying process involves moderate humidity and mild temperatures, preserving the dimensionality of cannabis plants and the consumption experience. The better and more gradual the curing process, the more sophisticated a grower's yields become, including preserved aromas, flavors, and potency.