US Farm Bill Legalizes Hemp

The Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday it will consider creating new policy regarding the marketing and sale of cannabis after President Donald Trump signed the Farm Bill, which legalized commercial production of hemp in the United States.

The FDA said in a statement that it hopes to make more efficient “pathways” for companies to introduce and market cannabis and cannabis-derived products, including cannabidiol (CBD) into interstate commerce.

“We recognize the potential opportunities that cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds could offer and acknowledge the significant interest in these possibilities,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in the statement, adding that the agency will hold a public meeting to gather input.

Hemp is a type of cannabis plant with no or extremely low concentrations of the psychoactive compound known as THC, the ingredient in marijuana associated with “high” feelings.

The Farm Bill removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, allowing for its commercial production in the United States, as long as those plants contain no more than 0.3 percent of THC.

“The significance is now you have some aspect of the cannabis world legalized on a federal basis.” CBD is routinely extracted from marijuana, another type of cannabis plant, that has high contents of THC.

The FDA in June approved CBD for human consumption for the first time when it issued approval permits for Epidiolex, a drug intended to treat epilepsy.

The market for CBD derived from hemp could reach $22 billion by 2022, according to a report issued earlier this year by the cannabis industry analysis firm the Brightfield Group, which assumed passage of the farm bill in its forecast.

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