Over the past several years, general interest in the potential of cannabis oil for pain relief has grown exponentially. The movement for the legalization of cannabis and CBD has steadily gained traction across the country, in all socioeconomic sectors.

Governments are creating the new legislative infrastructure to address the health and safety of this new field as quickly as they are able.

The rules and regulations surrounding cannabis have been changing rapidly, and the difference between state and federal laws has led to a lot of confusion. Let’s take a look at some of the more impactful CBD news headlines from 2019 that are affecting the conversation around hemp, CBD and cannabis.

Multiple States Pass Laws to Fully Legalize CBD

This is a groundbreaking headline that has made waves this year. The federal government passed the Agricultural Improvement Act in December of 2018 removing hemp from the list of controlled substances and reclassifying it as an agricultural commodity.

Since then, Kansas, Florida, and Texas have all passed state legislation legalizing hemp CBD. Let’s be clear about precisely what it means when we talk about the legalization of CBD.

CBD is a term used for cannabidiol; a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. It is extracted and used in a variety of products purporting to have health benefits. Hemp refers to a strain of cannabis that has less than 0.3% THC, the psychotropic element in marijuana cannabis strains that give people that ‘high’ feeling. The CBD extracted from hemp is a non-psychoactive chemical.

Until the 2018 Farm Bill passed, all cannabis was illegal under federal law. Now that hemp and hemp-based products are legal per the federal government, CBD producers can engage in interstate commerce. But states still get to create their own policies regarding the production, distribution, and consumption of hemp.

So it is worth taking notice that individual states are choosing to follow the government’s lead by decriminalizing hemp CBD. The more states that follow suit, the easier it will be to buy CBD oil and enjoy it without being confused as to its legality.
Undoubtedly, more states will continue to legalize CBD because consumer demand is so high.

The hemp trade is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country by far. More people are learning about CBD and its potential benefits. They are pressuring their state governments for reasonable laws based on scientific research instead of the propaganda of the past.

The 2014 Farm Bill first opened the hemp industry but to research only. Now, the states that decide to take advantage of the updated 2018 Farm Bill can move from the research stage, towards a full-fledged supply chain encompassing cultivation to consumption.

CBD has substantial economic potential for states that embrace its legalization and work to implement a comprehensive plan for the CBD commercial sector.

Kansas, Florida, and Texas are on the cutting edge of CBD legislation and economic development. The forward-thinking lawmen of those states are laying the groundwork for a much-needed total CBD legislative overhaul.

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The USDA Releases a Farm Bill Update

Every five years, the Agricultural Improvement Act, also known as the Farm Bill, is revisited and updated as necessary to provide for the betterment of the country’s agricultural economy.

The 2014 Farm Bill passed by President Barack Obama introduced the first legislation for the federal authorization of ‘industrial hemp’ production. It authorized higher education facilities and state agriculture associations to develop pilot programs for the express purpose of researching the cultivation and applications of hemp. This bill was the first to make the legal distinction between low THC hemp, or cannabidiol, and high THC hemp, or marijuana.

The 2018 Farm Bill passed by President Trump further looked to aid industrial hemp production by removing CBD from the Schedule I controlled substance list. The 2018 version also extended the 2014 Farm Bill’s provisions for industrial hemp production by twelve months. This extension allows time for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to create and implement safety guidelines for the cultivation and manufacture of hemp and hemp-based products.

In April of this year, the USDA put out an update to the 2018 Farm Bill outlining their implementation procedure and how they expect things to progress. In it, they state that the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has been working towards gathering data to complete the rulemaking process in time for the 2020 planting season.

The USDA is developing a system in which states and Native American tribes can submit a regulatory plan for the development of their hemp industries. The Farm Bill requires the issuance of a cultivation permit before planting hemp fields. If a state opts not to oversee the creation of their organizational scheme for the hemp trade, then the USDA’s rules will be the default.

This update may not seem like a significant piece of news. However, it serves to illustrate the commitment the US federal government has to the domestic production of hemp and hemp-extracts. For the CBD industry to grow and succeed in the country, support from the federal government is mandatory.

TSA Updates Their Stance on Traveling with CBD

At the end of May, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that it is now permissible to fly with some forms of CBD oil. There is a gray area, since medical marijuana and CBD with more than 0.3% THC is still illegal under federal law, despite being legal in several states.

The TSA website states that the primary concern of their security officers is the safety of passengers and flights. As such, they do not expressly look for illegal substances, but if they happen to come across it in a search, they will report it to a law enforcement officer.

TSA is one of many regulatory institutions being swept up in the sea of change surrounding CBD laws.

Before this considerable statute change, TSA did not differentiate between types of cannabis. Since many folks who buy CBD oil use it for anxiety relief, being able to carry it on a plane is fantastic news. Of course, that also means you’re less likely to see the adorable drug dogs when you travel now!

General Market CBD Will Be a $20 Billion Industry by 2024

Yes, you read that right. $20 billion, with-a-B. Last year, sales in the burgeoning CBD industry totaled roughly $500 million, equivalent to just half of $1 billion. Numerous analytical firms are predicting what amounts to an annual growth rate each year of 49%.

This forecast may seem challenging to achieve, but when you take into account the vast array of goods incorporating CBD, it doesn’t seem that far-fetched. Almost every segment of manufacturing in this country, from food and beverage to clothing to pet products, has expressed interest in incorporating CBD.

The massive uptick in the general populace’s interest in the benefits of CBD has become too loud for the government to ignore. All of the recent regulation adjustments for CBD at the federal and state levels are pure economics.

The CBD industry is growing at a rapid pace, consumer demand far outdistancing supply. Part of this newfound attraction to CBD hemp oil for pain is due to the deterioration of the healthcare system and the astronomical increases in standard medication prices. The average American is looking to alternatives, and CBD oil has been presented by many as a viable option.

A study conducted by BDS Analytics found that 66% of CBD consumers support the full legalization of all cannabis strains, with 90% believing that marijuana has medical benefits.

It is too early to tell if the federal government will ever allow for the legalization of all types of cannabis. But it is easy to see that opposing the meteoric rise of CBD consumption would be a big mistake, economically speaking.

Once considered a small subcategory of cannabis, CBD has developed into a full-blown industry. CBD-infused products can be found not only at dispensaries and in some pharmaceuticals but also in general retail stores, including smoke shops, cafes and grocery stores.

With growing access to CBD, it’s no wonder that sales have skyrocketed. No longer considered a subset of cannabis, analytical minds predict that CBD will overtake the legal marijuana industry in less than a decade.

The FDA Holds A Public CBD Hearing

The 2018 Farm Bill removed a lot of restrictions from hemp and hemp-extracts. But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still in charge of regulating the largest categories of CBD-infused products: edibles and cosmetics.

Under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the FDA holds authority over regulations for any additives to those items, regardless of the revisions brought about by the Farm Bill.

Currently, the FDA maintains the stance that CBD is an impermissible additive to food and beverages. This perspective creates a broad zone of uncertainty when it comes to the legality of products for public consumption.

As it stands, thirty-three states and Washington DC have legalized the use of marijuana under state law, for medicinal use. Fourteen additional states have legalized CBD for therapeutic use. Ten states and the District of Columbia have fully legalized marijuana for recreational use, and thirteen other states have decriminalized marijuana possession for recreational use.

Smoking CBD is the only way around the conflict of state and federal law. Until the FDA approves the use of CBD in beverages, food, and dietary supplements those products are illegal at the federal level.

Fortunately, the FDA, like many other federal associations, is rethinking its policies regarding CBD. In May of this year, the organization held a public hearing to gather information and scientific data on the cultivation, production, marketing, labeling, and distribution of cannabis and cannabis-derived goods. A direct result of that hearing was to open a public docket to allow for further comments regarding the experiences, challenges, and concerns of stakeholders within the cannabis trade.

The FDA’s primary concern is for the health and safety of the American public. Their goal is to create safe directions for the cannabis industry to protect the chain of distribution. The FDA has been cracking down on unwarrantable declarations by companies that promote alleged benefits of CBD without the clinical trials and data to support the claims.

There were over fifty speakers, from all aspects of the socioeconomic spectrum affected by the cannabis industry, that gave testimony to the FDA at the public hearing. It will take the FDA some time to sort through all of the information presented thoroughly.

Right now, there is only one CBD-derived drug product that has been approved by the FDA. Epidiolex has been determined to be safe and effective for patients ages two and up for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome.

Final Thoughts

It is safe to say that the cannabis industry is having a revolution. 2019 isn’t over, but already the significant headlines we have seen across the country have portrayed monumental reform in the world of cannabis as a viable US commodity.

There is also still plenty of time for more policy changes before the end of the year as well.

The seldom talked about 2014 Farm Bill paved the way for research into the uses of hemp. This move by the federal government has snowballed into the creation of a multi-billion-dollar industry that shows no signs of slowing down.

The far-reaching economic and social impact of CBD and cannabis have yet to be determined, but the overwhelming majority of American people are in favor of fully legalizing CBD. It is sometimes a polarizing issue since cannabis has been stigmatized for almost 100 years now. But you can expect it to be a hot topic in the upcoming 2020 elections across the country.

For the federal government to responsibly do their due diligence on the benefits, applications, and possible detriments of CBD and cannabis, there is a need for more medical studies. I have a feeling there won’t be a shortage of volunteer subjects.