April and June 2018 were months of major moves toward federal legalization of cannabis. Part of that push was led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who, in April, introduced the Hemp Farming Act (HFA), which provides for the removal of industrial hemp from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA). In June 2018, the HFA was rolled into the 2018 Farm Bill, and on June 28, 2018, the Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill, which included the entire HFA. The House also passed its version of the Farm Bill, but it’s silent on hemp. Many speculate that the House version stems from confusion of hemp with marijuana that—once cleared up—would greatly increase the chances of the Senate version becoming law.
If the Senate version of the Farm Bill prevails, it would end a nearly century-long federal prohibition of hemp as an agricultural commodity. Ending this prohibition would mean all hemp-derived products—including cannabidiol (CBD)—would be legalized. It would also harmonize the CSA and 2014 Farm Bill (currently in effect) definitions of marijuana and industrialized hemp as well as severely undermine the Drug Enforcement Administration’s position on CBD.