America has very quickly developed a burgeoning industry of products made from hemp and hemp extracts due to a massive push of brand marketing in recent years. Companies peddling hemp goods espouse taking cannabis oil for pain or giving your pet CBD treats to ease anxiety. Unfortunately, with the conflicting federal and state laws, there is not much information available to substantiate such claims.
To better protect the safety and health of its inhabitants, the New York Legislature has created a new body of laws to govern the state’s developing hemp industry. If signed into effect by Governor Cuomo, these regulations will become the most comprehensive regulatory infrastructure for hemp and hemp extracts of any state to date.
Hemp-derived cannabinoids, referred to as CBD, is a non-psychoactive chemical found in an ever-growing variety of products including beverages, skin cream, and oil for vaping. Only recently has hemp been removed from the federal government’s list of controlled substances and re-classified as an agricultural product. This change is meant to be economically beneficial but has led to a lot of confusion regarding federal and state laws.
Federal Laws Regarding Hemp and CBD
Since the federal government no longer classifies hemp as a controlled substance, the plant is no longer under the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Administration. This means hemp and hemp-based products can now trade across state lines. Interstate commerce opens up the hemp industry to investment and financial support by federally regulated institutions such as banks, credit card companies, advertising platforms, and e-commerce sites.
However, the Food and Drug Administration still has purview over the compounds that added to food, beverages, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. The FDA still classifies CBD as a prohibited additive. This categorization puts CBD-infused edibles and topical applications in a somewhat gray area.
Fortunately, the 2018 Farm Bill has opened up the field of research into hemp and hemp-extracts by including the plant under the Critical Agricultural Materials Act. This provision recognizes the potential economic importance of hemp and CBD. But it also acknowledges that much more research is needed to understand the safety, toxicity, and potentiality for abuse.
New York Legislation
There is a growing interest from farmers to diversify their crops by adding hemp fields. And the increasing demand from consumers for goods derived from hemp foreshadows a healthy growth for the industry. But guidelines are needed to protect the safety of the complete supply chain.
The new bill provides a framework for regulations for every aspect of the hemp industry in New York state. It authorizes the issuance of permits for the distribution, retail, and wholesale of hemp-based products. It addresses licensing for the cultivation of hemp and extraction of CBD. The law also provides for packaging requirements with proper labeling, including any necessary negative health impact warnings.
On the financial side, the bill seeks to increase investment in hemp farms and hemp-based products manufactured in the state. The agricultural classification status now means farmers can participate in USDA programs for grants and certifications related to growing standards. They should also be able to access crop insurance for hemp as they would any other produce.
The growing trend of states to create state-legal cannabis programs is opening up new avenues of growth and diversification for farmers across the country. All of the rules and regulations may seem stifling to some. But it is essential to take the time to understand the socio-economical impact the large-scale introduction of a new crop can have on the status quo. New York’s progressive new bill will help pave the way for other states to adopt their versions of pro-hemp statutes for the benefit of all.