How The 2023 Farm Bill May Reshape the Hemp Industry

How The 2023 Farm Bill May Reshape the Hemp Industry

Since former U.S. President Donald J. Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp at the federal level, the hemp industry seems to have flourished above expectations. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated that the total value of hemp production is worth $824 million in 2021.

The demand for CBD-based products has driven the industry's production and sales to exhilarating heights. And the 2018 Farm Bill triggered the production and sales of minor cannabinoids with intoxicatingly psychoactive effects, including Delta 8 THC, Delta-9 THC, and THC-O-acetate.

Recently, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research held a congressional panel "to explore opportunities to improve the current rules on hemp production."

Will the 2023 Farm Bill Reshape the Hemp Industry?

Lawmakers, stakeholders, and witnesses highlighted reforms to include in the 2023 Farm Bill to restructure and expand the hemp industry.

What is the Farm Bill? The Farm Bill is a package of legislation passed once every five years that covers a wide range of agricultural topics, sets the stage for food and farm systems, and effectively impacts farming livelihoods.

Ryan Quarles, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner, highlighted on July 28 that hemp production has been declining since 2019 as it outpaced demand due to the lack of a clear direction from the FDA regarding CBD.

The indecision of the FDA's position on CBD led big retailers to be unable to carry the products, and many companies are reluctant to move forward with developing and manufacturing CBD-related products. Now, one of the main investigations of the hemp industry is the FDA's position on CBD, a non-intoxicating compound of cannabis.

"The recent decline in acreage is largely due to the 2019 surplus production that has not yet been depleted. Other factors include the economic disruptions caused by COVID-19, additional states producing hemp post2018 Farm Bill, and the fact that infrastructure for food and fiber production from hemp has largely not been developed," Kate Greenberg, Commissioner of the Colorado Department of Agriculture, stated.

A Regulatory Pathway of CBD

A clear regulatory pathway for CBD would not only relieve the economic pressure that is leading to this product shift, but it would also help ensure products do not contain intoxicating hemp ingredients. According to the panelists, raising the allowable THC threshold in the hemp plant and its products is another crucial issue that needs to be considered to improve the industry.

Currently set at 0.3 percent, hemp industry players aim to raise it to 1 percent. This move would improve the quality of hemp-based products and positively affect the industry.

Some suggest that the new threshold should include Delta-9 THC (commonly known as THC) and every other intoxicating isomer, such as Delta-8, Delta10, and HHC, to better reflect the material's true intoxicating potential.

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