Hemp Farming Act 2018

Washington, D.C: Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell submits to Congress the Hemp Farming Act which aims to remove non-psychoactive cannabis varieties from legislation.

This bill is to empower American farmers and the economy, while simultaneously removing non-psychoactive varieties from the Controlled Substances Act.

Currently, with the exception of the farm bill, any product, hemp or marijuana, from the plant cannabis sativa is illegal; there are over 100 cannabinoids in the plant material, yet the only cannabinoid that is psychoactive is THC. Federal law prohibits human consumption and possession of schedule 1 controlled substances.

McConnell comments harken back to early American days, comparing hemp to the history of tobacco in Kentucky. Although McConnell is Republican, this legislation is presented by a group of bipartisan cosponsors; the group comprises over 10 people so far including Senator Schumer and Senator Jeff Merkely, both Democrat.

Under the Controlled Substances Act, it is illegal to grow hemp as it is classified under the same definition as marijuana. However, it is legal in some states, under a pilot program, to grow and process industrial hemp.  Hemp products themselves are legal to possess and sell in roughly 47 states. It should be legal for the farmers in every state to be able to grow their own hemp as a crop. That way, the state can directly benefit.

The Hemp Farming Bill also seeks to remove restrictions on banking and water restrictions. Currently, companies have trouble with federal banks and turn to state banks for their banking needs. Under this outline, hemp would be eligible for crop insurance, just like rice or corn.

Regulation would be through the U.S Department of Agriculture, as well as oversight of all plans for growth.

This is not the first time that McConnell advocates for hemp; in 2014, he was a part of the Farm Bill that regulates states ability to grow medical marijuana. Specifically, he inserted language that would shelter research programs from the federal government. The Farm bill also has a larger effect of regulating all agriculture and food policy in the United States.

This issue is so important to America, that minority whip Democrat Schumer, who rarely agrees on issues with McConnell, is reaching across the aisle to pass this legislation. At the end of April, he signed on as a cosponsor of the bill.

Sen. Schumer called the current laws prohibiting the cultivation of hemp “a crock,” Forbes reports. “It makes no sense that the DEA is the primary regulator, and that they stop farmers and investors from growing hemp,” Schumer continued. “Why are we buying hemp from other countries, when we have hundreds of acres that could be grown right here in our backyard?”

In fact, Schumer aims to remove marijuana completely from the Controlled Substances Act, although McConnell does not agree with this sentiment. Schumer introduced this bill on 4/20 of this year.

 “The federal government made a mistake when they labeled hemp as a controlled substance, putting it on par with dangerous substances like heroin. In reality, industrial hemp is an oyster with a pearl of opportunities that could mean millions in economic revenue while also helping to support new local jobs in Sullivan, Orange and Ulster counties,” said Senator Schumer. “Industrial Hemp can be used to make everything from paper, to clothing, to plastics which is why it so important we fix this outdated law as soon as possible so farms, businesses, and partnerships, like the one fostered between The Center For Discovery and SUNY Sullivan can continue to grow, expand, and research benefits of hemp without the onerous and outdated restrictions from the federal government.”

Hemp has the ability to bolster the American agricultural economy, which has been struggling since the 1970s.

Currently, the DEA has run into some trouble over their overregulation of non-psychoactive cannabinoids, when seizing legal hemp products. Supplies and shipments in legal head shops have been seized illegally; stopping revenue of a crop that does not cause psycho-active effects and buying hemp from other countries makes no sense.

Georgia Medical MarijuanaAtlanta, Georgia: A bill now signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal allows Georgians medical marijuana to be used by those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or ‘intractable pain’; this are additions to a list of qualifying conditions already legally approved for cannabis oil treatments in Georgia.

The bill, known as House Bill 65, adds to a list of already approved list of conditions that allow residents living in Georgia permanently to access low THC oil; this is done through a medical marijuana registration card from a physician to treat their conditions. The newly added conditions of post-traumatic stress disorder & ‘intolerable pain’ widen the scope of treatment available for those who have ailments where low THC cannabis oil may be helping in treatment.

Marijuana in Georgia

In the past few years, Georgia has become more relaxed over certain weed penalties; for example, in Atlanta, a referendum passed to decriminalize marijuana. Residents of Atlanta cannot be put in jail for possession of marijuana, and the maximum fine is $75. The decriminalization of marijuana does not make it officially legal in the state of Georgia; rather it addresses the disparity of punishment.

As early as 2015, Georgia introduces a medical marijuana bill to aid many illnesses such as seizures, sclerosis, and late-stage cancer. This allows through a physician’s prescription for a patient to have a prescription and legally possess cannabis.

Last year, state legislation made additions of conditions such as Tourette’s, Alzheimer’s, and autism to the growing number of ailments that qualify.

Medical Marijuana Laws Changing

In House Bill 65, people who have PTSD from ‘direct exposure to or the witnessing of a trauma’ and are above the age of 18 are now eligible to qualify for a prescription. In the same document, the definition of ‘intractable pain’ is ‘pain that has a cause that cannot be removed’. Other qualifying aspects of intractable pain include ‘…the full range of pain management modalities appropriate for the patient has been used for a period of at least six months without adequate results or with intolerable side effects.’

To be clear, this is permission for physicians to prescribe low THC cannabis oil, not medical marijuana.

Marijuana Laws Not Changing

It is important to note that it is still illegal in Georgia to grow, buy, or transport marijuana. House Bill 645, sponsored by Representative Peak, was rejected; it proposes legalizing harvesting, and distribution of cannabis oil instate. Although paradoxically, medical marijuana is legal to consume through a physician’s approval, it is not legal to buy. Georgia is in a similar position to Washington D.C. with recreational weed; lawmakers need to find a way to get people to access to a substance they have made legal.

Future of Medical Marijuana in Georgia

Since House Bill 65 is now a law, a 15-member study commission will examine in-state access to cannabis oil; they will consider all aspects of security, manufacturing, product labeling, testing, and dispensing.

For the state of Georgia, there are about 4,000 people on the medical marijuana registry for the state.

Of course, it is legal to purchase CBD products, like Green Lotus Hemp’s capsules, tinctures, lotions, and gummies. This is because CBD is a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid and therefore complies with federal regulations.