The 2018 Farm Bill, All But Passed, Will Legalize Hemp

The 2018 Farm Bill, All But Passed, Will Legalize Hemp

The provision involving industrial hemp-defined by law as cannabis plants containing no more than 0.3% THC by weight-allows U.S. farmers to grow, process, and sell the plant and its products.

He led the Senate in approving the farm bill 87-13 Tuesday.

"Kansans have benefitted from Representative Marshall's leadership on the House Agriculture Committee during the consideration of this Farm Bill", Roberts said.

The Farm Bill comes after months of bipartisan discussions to draft a final version of the legislation.

"The deal comes after almost a yearlong standoff between the House and the Senate over member liability and other issues in the bill", reports NPR. Congressional aides said late Monday night that they were still awaiting a final score from the CBO.

The bill is now on its way to the White House, and Trump is expected to sign it without the theatrics which have marred the past few days in the capital as the government nears the deadline for a partial shutdown.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is vowing to pass additional reforms next year.

For instance, Thune said he heard complaints from farmers about the way Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) payments are calculated; under the provisions of the new bill, payments would be determined by farmland's physical location, rather than the current administrative, county-determined method.

Under the farm bill, hemp would be removed from the federal list of controlled substances and hemp farmers will be able to apply for crop insurance.

Numerous provisions worked on by Thune have to do with conservation, and more specifically the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which pays farmers to not use environmentally-sensitive land for agricultural production. Most of the money goes to keep people from going hungry (think food stamps), another huge chunk of change subsidizes farmers, and then there's a big grab bag of conservation, research, and environmental improvement programs.

Hunters make vegan environmentalists cringe, but many hunting organizations are deeply invested in conservation efforts - and the rod and rifle crowd had nothing but praise for the farm bill. It enhances assistance to farm producers who have a revenue or market value shortfalls, with increased flexibility for tracking and filing claims. This year's farm bill extends that support to the dairy industry, which has been struggling with low milk prices, and to second-tier crops, such as barley, which can be used to feed livestock or as a cover crop during the winter - a nod to growing concerns about soil degradation from traditional farming.

One thing that the bill addresses is the legalization of industrial hemp. Unlike its biological cousin marijuana, hemp has industrial uses and doesn't produce a "high" if ingested. But funding for the program will be cut so that by 2023 the program will get $800 million a year less than what it got in the last year of the previous farm program.

"Unfortunately this bill has become about more than supporting our farmers", Sen.

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