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Hemp and the 2018 Farm Bill

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) changed the federal policy regarding hemp by removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and denoting hemp an agricultural product. Additionally, States and Indian tribes may not prohibit the interstate transportation or shipment of lawfully produced hemp.

The 2018 Farm Bill established a regulatory framework for the commercial production of hemp. Thus, the only lawful ways grow hemp are (1) with a valid USDA-issued license; (2) under a USDA-approved tribal or state plan; or (3) under the 2014 Farm Bill industrial hemp pilot authority. The USDA has not yet issued a national licensing system for its new hemp licensing program.

Navigate to your state's page to see how to obtain a hemp license. In this rapidly evolving sector, every hemp business could benefit from counsel and legal services. The attorneys at Leaf Legal, P.C. provide clients with the knowledge, network, and tools needed to establish and operate compliant hemp businesses. 


What is the Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana?

Marijuana and hemp both come from the same species of plant, Cannabis sativa L., but from different varieties or cultivars. There are different varieties of Cannabis, just as German Shepards and Poodles are different breeds of Canis lupus.

What is Industrial Hemp?

Industrial hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa L. that contains less than 0.3% THC. It can be used to produce a wide variety of consumer and industrial products, including fibers, paper, textiles, construction materials, food, beverages, animal feed, and cosmetic products. 

Is It Legal to Grow Hemp?

Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill authorized hemp research and pilot programs by state departments of agriculture and institutions of higher education. Some states began licensing farmers to conduct pilot programs and research on hemp. In 2017, there were 19 states that allowed hemp to be grown. On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law including language that removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and authorized production of hemp under licensing by states, tribes or USDA.

Is Hemp a Controlled Substance?

No. The 2018 Farm Bill removed industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.

Are Hemp Foods Legal to Import, Buy, and Consume in the United States?

Yes. Processed hemp seed and oil has always been legal. The case HIA v. DEA established that hemp foods are exempt from control in the Controlled Substances Act and that they remain fully legal. An excellent overview of the case can be found on the DEA Hemp Food Rules page. Learn more by reading the 9th Circuit opinion invalidating DEA's hemp food rules.

Are Hemp Derived Extracts that Contain Cannabidiol (CBD) Legal?

The 2018 Farm Bill defined hemp as distinct from marijuana and removed it from the Controlled Substances Act. The definition of hemp covers all parts of the plant including cannabinoids. So hemp grown under the 2018 Farm Bill or the 2014 Farm Bill including hemp extracts are no longer classified as Controlled Substances. However, hemp products sold as dietary supplements or foods are still subject to regulation by the FDA under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) and must meet existing federal regulations. Some states have also passed laws regulating CBD so it is important to check your state to determine if hemp derived CBD is legal under state law.

Select a State to Learn More about Obtaining a Hemp License

New York

New Jersey




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The Truth About the Risks

Know for sure whether your business is in compliance with state and local cannabis regulations.