Opportunity is on the horizon. The 2018 Farm Bill will enable the tremendous growth of the hemp industry. Think banking, interstate commerce, import / export of hemp, the “new” agricultural commodity. This year we expect a 5x of production of Hemp. This doesn’t include production from many states like California who have yet to issue Hemp growing licenses. Entrepreneurs are creating new CBD product lines daily, and big corporate america has started research and development to integrate CBD into everything from cigarettes to lotions. Prepare for the legalization of hemp derived cannabinoids, this is a game changer for our industry.
Now the bad news, the Farm Bill is stuck in a legal limbo between the House and Senate. Back in June, the House of Representatives and the Senate both passed a version of the farm bill. On June 21, the House of Representatives passed the Farm Bill 213-211. On June 28th, the Senate passed the 2018 Farm Bill 86-11. A reminder, there are disagreements in the bill. The most volatile topic surrounds work requirements for our national food stamp program, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This program makes up a majority of spending on the bill, with the 10 year cost of SNAP nearing a TRILLION dollars!
Time is short, the 2014 Farm Bill expires on September 30th
The next step for our “Hemp Legalization Bill’ is to go to conference, a joint panel where the House and Senate elect lawmakers to hash out their differences to create a new version of the Farm Bill. Procedurally, the lawmakers have to vote to go to conference. The House unanimously approved to go to conference on July 18th. On Tuesday night, July 31st, the the Senate followed suit and approved the conference.
Lawmakers seem optimistic that the timeline will be met. The next step is the announcement of the committee members – 47 members of the House and 9 members of the Senate will join the bipartisan Farm Bill conference committee.
We believe that this timeline will be met, and commerce will start to flow like never before. However, I also believe there will still be hurdles to jump. California Department of Public Health has issued new guidelines restricting the use of CBD. Expect to see other states follow suite as they adapt to this new commodity. We will keep you in the loop with updates. At this point, hold on and prepare for a once in a lifetime opportunity for growth.