Understanding the 2014 Farm Bill

The history of cannabis regulation in the United States stretches back to the early 1900s, but the most recent activity began with the 2014 Farm Bill. 

Congress passes a Farm Bill every four or five years and it contains a multitude of updates to laws surrounding all aspects of agriculture, from rural development to nutrition programs to marketing. Updates to cannabis regulation will be included in each successive Farm Bill.

Importantly, the 2014 Farm Bill distinguished “hemp” from “marijuana,” based on the amount of THC, allowed the government to test the waters of growing and cultivating hemp and opened growing hemp to state agriculture department – pilot programs and university research facilities.

The 2014 Farm Bill defines cannabis plants with less than 0.3% THC as “hemp,” and cannabis plants with over 0.3% THC as “marijuana.” THC and CBD are chemical compounds that are both found in cannabis plants. THC is psychoactive, which is what the government seeks to regulate. CBD is not psychoactive.

Different cannabis plants contain different proportions of CBD and THC. Typically, male cannabis plants are CBD-dominant, while female cannabis plants are THC-dominant.

The 2018 Farm Bill assessed the potential of a U.S. hemp market. It required the Secretary of Agriculture to review state pilot programs and give states a framework to regulate hemp production. The 2018 Farm Bill took steps to recognize hemp farmers as no different than other farmers by including hemp as a commodity covered by crop insurance, recognizing the diversity of the plant, and removing hemp as a controlled substance.

A provision within the 2018 Farm Bill, called the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, removed hemp as a Schedule I substance — that is, a drug with little medicinal value and high potential for abuse. 

Learn More About CBD and Cannabis: 

Pubmed.gov – Free public access to medical research and published articles on a wide range of CBD and other medical subjects.

Norml.org – Founded in 1970 by attorney Keith Stroup, NORML focuses on nation-wide legalization and decriminalization of marijuana by keeping the public informed on the topic. Join a chapter or tune in for their regular blog posts.

Hempsupporter.com – The U.S. Hemp Roundtable is a Washington-based, non-profit advocacy organization committed to promoting policies and legislation that lead the way forward for hemp and CBD. Good stuff!

Flahempassociation.com – The Florida Hemp Association encourages trace and discourse among hemp professionals. Bliss intends to grow hemps future in the State of Florida. 

Weedmaps.com – A comprehensive source for basic cannabis information, including a thorough dictionary of cannabis-related terms and topics.
Leafly.com – A directory for finding hemp and CBD products near you. Leafly also provides information about the social impact of CBD and marijuana.