The 2018 Farm Bill is now set to legalize hemp through reclassification as an agricultural commodity that can legally be cultivated and harvested after the bill passes through a few more levels of government. The bill has yet to be passed by the House, the Senate, and by the president with his signature that effectively signs it into law, and it is reported by National Public Radio that the required approvals “could come as early as this week”.
A longtime advocate in favor of the Farm Bill, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, said: “With today’s signature, my provision to legalize industrial hemp is one step closer to reality.”
The cannabidiol (CBD) industry is now positioned to benefit greatly since extracts of CBD can occur with hemp plants as well as cannabis plants. It is currently estimated by Bethany Gomez, director of cannabis research at Brightfield Group, that fully legalized CBD sales will hit $22 billion by the year 2022. This estimation of $22 billion puts the CBD industry above the cannabis industry in the United States.
Risk of Prosecution for Marijuana-Related Companies. If you are considering investing in a company that is connected to the marijuana industry, be aware that marijuana-related companies may be at risk of federal, and perhaps state, criminal prosecution. The Department of Treasury recently issued guidance noting: “[T]he Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) makes it illegal under federal law to manufacture, distribute, or dispense marijuana. Many states impose and enforce similar prohibitions. Notwithstanding the federal ban, as of the date of this guidance, 20 states and the District of Columbia have legalized certain marijuana-related activity.”