2018 Farm Bill Makes Hemp Production Legal; But State Still Needs to Act to Take Advantage of Change

Close-ups of the industrial hemp research plots at the Spindletop research farm. Image by University of Kentucky

The article is not a substitute for legal advice.

I recently contributed an article to Maryland Bar Bulletin on changes to hemp restrictions in the 2018 Farm Bill and what needs to happen before farmers can grow the crop legally. The Maryland Bar Bulletin recently published the article online.

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Wait for hemp production plans before you begin planting

The hemp research plot at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food & Environment Spindletop Research Farm was harvested Tuesday monring in Lexington, Ky.

The article is not a substitute for legal advice.

I recently contributed an article to American Agriculturalist magazine on changes to hemp restrictions in the 2018 Farm Bill and what needs to happen before farmers can grow the crop legally. American Agriculturalist recently published the article online.

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Pilot Industrial Hemp Program Now Final and Allows For Research Growing of Hemp in Maryland

Image of first UK Industrial Hemp Field Day at Spindletop Research Farm. Image by University of Kentucky.

This post is not legal advice.

In 2016, the Maryland General Assembly first passed legislation allowing for the development of an Industrial Hemp Pilot Program in the state.  That program was recently updated in 2018 by House Bill (HB) 698 to allow farmers contracting with the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) or Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) in Maryland to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. Production of hemp under the program must further either agricultural or academic research. HB 698 became effective on July 1, 2018, MDA has recently issued final regulations to implement this pilot program effective on January 28, 2019, and can be found here

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2018 Farm Bill Makes Hemp Production Legal Only In Certain Situations

The article is not a substitute for legal advice. 

Image of hemp research plots with University of Kentucky. Image by University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

            Farmers across the country are looking to begin producing hemp.  The 2014 Farm Bill allowed states to develop hemp research programs, but the 2018 Farm Bill significantly changes the classification of hemp and allows states to begin developing regulations for legal hemp production.  The 2018 Farm Bill removes hemp from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act and allows states and tribal governments to begin developing hemp production plans.  Hemp produced under these plans will potentially be eligible for federal crop insurance.  Although the 2018 Farm Bill has made changes to hemp, it is still currently not legal to grow hemp in Maryland until the state develops and has an approved hemp production plan in place.

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Industrial Hemp Still Illegal To Cultivate In Maryland

 

industrialhemp

Photo from Wikicommons

This post is not legal advice

 

The passage of the 2014 Farm Bill allows for the cultivating industrial hemp only in states that have developed a pilot program for a college, university, or another state department of agriculture to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes (§ 5940). Since the 2014 Farm Bill’s passage, many states have jumped on board and begun to develop pilot programs to study industrial hemp production (NCSL, 2016). The country has not had industrial hemp production since the 1950s, and information is needed before changing federal and state laws to allow industrial hemp production. Continue reading