After 50 years, Congress Can Finally Tell The Difference Between Hemp From The Devil’s Lettuce.
Hemp up until this point has been compared with heroin, LSD, and Ecstasy, but the 2018 Senate Farm bill could soon make the crop legal for farmers still struggling from the fall of tobacco production and sales.
For starters, let’s get the difference between Hemp and Marijuana out the way; the defining factor of Marijuana is it’s cannabinoid Tetrahydrocannabinol, or more commonly known as THC. As you could guess, Hemp doesn’t have THC and this has been a subject of controversy in Congress. It was originally on the Federal controlled substances list because, like marijuana, it’s a form of the cannabis plant. That was until the 2018 Senate farm bill, that would then officially classify hemp an agricultural accommody.
The History of Hemp and How it Affects The Agricultural Market
History lesson time! Some of the founding fathers of America grew hemp! Like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to use it for cloth, ropes, sails, and nets. And during that time, the Agriculture Department encouraged “patriotic farmers” to plant it during World War II for use in naval tow lines, parachute webbing and other products. However, after those times Hemp wasn’t needed as much. Then, came the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, making Hemp illegal, along with Marijuana because they both strain from the Cannabis family.
Hemp has been seen to be a successful source of income averaging per acre 21,000 from seeds, and 12,500 from stalks, roughly 688 million in the US. This is most notable for Kentucky, who is dealing with a failing agriculture market. They believe the hemp craze will help their economy. And it can’t help but grow with more people finding out the always increasing benefits, and the supply chains growing. Though there is a concern about the industry growing too quickly and forcing the prices of hemp down before the demand can catch up to it.
“There’s no question that industrial hemp is economically viable,” said Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), an architect of the legalization plan. “I get a call from a farmer every other day. More and more farmers want to grow it.”
If you don’t know the full effect of what Hemp can do; luckily I can give you the low down. Hemp is mainly sought for it’s healing benefits, like decreasing inflammation, pain relief, anti-aging, aiding in depression and anxiety, and much more. As I mentioned earlier, THC is a cannabinoid, but the compound make up of hemp is also made up of cannabinoids, like the second most commonly known, Cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD is most commonly tagged for the healing benefits in Hemp and Marijuana. And because of the wide variety of benefits, many people can turn it, making for a very profitable investment.
Congressmen are also realizing the benefits, hoorah!
“I think over the last five years there’s been enough discussion about cannabis that people now understand there is a difference,” said Geoff Whaling, the chairman of the board of directors at the National Hemp Association, an industry group. “I see it in Congress. When I first started going, I did not get a great reception. But today if I go in to talk with the Senate Ag Committee, they want to know how quickly we can build a hemp industry to start helping local farmers.”
Let’s talk about some of the Farm Bills in Congress right now
About the 2018 Senate Farm Bill
The most prominent is the one I mentioned earlier, about hemp becoming a legal agricultural product. “Hemp farming should be fully legalized as it is a versatile crop that can be used in many kinds of products and giving the nation’s agricultural communities another commodity to produce would yield economic growth.” That quote is from countable.us, a website that informs us about bills, and it gives us a general idea of what it is about. Our forefathers were are of what Hemp could do, besides the health benefits; It has practical uses. Hemp fiber can be used to make many kinds of products including food, paper, cardboard, carpets, clothes, rope, and more.
About the CARERS Act of 2017
The next bill I want to touch on is what is known as the CARERS Act of 2017. This would allow people to use medical marijuana without fear of federal prosecution. Though it will not make it legal on a federal level, it’ll respect the 29 states that do use medical marijuana.
Hopefully, this will be the push that allows all states to use it for medical use, given that Congress supports it. Marijuana would also be classified as a Schedule II drug instead of a schedule I, meaning it would be respected as a medical treatment option. In case you didn’t know, even in states where medical marijuana is legal, it still isn’t seen as a proper treatment though it could be beneficial if given the chance. In this bill, it would also adjust the definition of Cannabidiol, or CBD, a compound found within cannabis to make synthetic marijuana. The lead co-sponsor of this bill, Senator Rand Paul said, “For far too long, the federal government has enforced unnecessary laws that have restricted the medical community's ability to determine marijuana's medicinal value and have prohibited Americans from receiving essential care that would alleviate their chronic pain and suffering. Our bill respects the will of the people, and will have a positive impact on the lives of our veterans and children.” We are making progress to help the people who need it most.
About the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017
The third most prominent bill in Congress right now is the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017. This is probably one of the most discussed topics of anyone in the cannabis industry, when will the government will finally just legalize marijuana?
This would remove all penalties against people who import, export, manufacture, distribute, or possess marijuana with intent to distribute marijuana. It would also remove marijuana from being a schedule I drug, which is purely recreational and doesn’t give marijuana it’s proper credit for medical usage. Between 2001 and 2010, 8.2 million people were arrested and taken into custody for just POSSESSION of marijuana. And in 2016, nearly 600,000 were arrested for marijuana possession, and make up 21% of prisoners in America. That’s wasted tax money that could be used elsewhere on nonviolent people who don’t belong in jail.
We are on the path to making leaps and bounds to bettering the USA, starting with Congress.