The Farm Bill of 2018 is getting its final touches to reconcile the versions approved by Congress and Senate. The bill will allow the cultivation of hemp, a plant that has for long been a controlled substance alongside cannabis. Marijuana advocates see the legalization of hemp as a precursor of what will inevitably happen with regard to cannabis since both plants belong to the same family.
Hemp contains just trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and is rich in CBD (cannabidiol) while cannabis has a high CBD and THC content.
Hemp has often been called “industrial hemp” because of its numerous industrial applications, such as its use in the production of biofuel and in the construction industry. Hemp is also used in the skincare industry as well as having medicinal uses from CBD oil.
Previously, hemp could only be grown if permission was granted in order to get a supply for pre-approved research projects. The new bill will classify hemp as an agricultural product, so one will no longer need a permit to cultivate it.
This decision may look simple at the surface, but it signals a major shift of policy since the new classification would remove the legal stigma of treating hemp as a dangerous plant/substance. It is this undertone that cannabis advocates are counting on for the rescheduling of marijuana since cannabis is closely related to hemp.
It is hoped that cannabis will soon be regarded as an intoxicant that isn’t so dangerous that it deserves the “pariah” status that has been slapped on it for decades.
Economic reasons played a major role in shifting attitudes towards hemp. The diverse uses to which hemp can be placed offer numerous avenues through which local, state and federal authorities can earn tax revenues.
The same prospects exist in the cannabis industry, so there is no reason to think that economic reasons will not come into play as the voices for cannabis legalization get louder across the country and in Congress or Senate.
Descheduling cannabis appears to be taking the same path as same-sex marriages. Society is awakening and questioning whether there is any justification to continue criminalizing cannabis, and the players in the political class are adjusting their positions in light of the shift at the grassroots. Cannabis is no longer the outlier topic it once was.
You can bet that the developments around hemp are of keen interest to companies like Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX.V: RIV) and Chemistree Technology Inc. (CSE: CHM) (OTCQB: CHMJF) because of the medicinal applications to which CBD can be put.
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