The United States House of Representatives approved the 2018 Farm Bill with a narrow 213-211 vote this week that has passed legislation to legalize the growth of hemp throughout the country’s farmland. This is the the second vote on the new Farm Bill that has taken place over the of the past few months, the first of which was turned down due to the House’s indecision on immigration policy.
Most importantly for the sector, the United States has now just passed industrial hemp legislation that will allow farmers to cultivate the plant, to process the raw materials produced from the plant, and manufactures to process those materials into finished goods that can be sold to the public. Since the new year the new Farm Bill has gained support across both isles of the political spectrum.
The passing of this legislation will now distinguish industrial hemp and exclude it from the definition of cannabis which is still a schedule 1 drug (high potential for abuse and zero medicinal value) according to the DEA. Now farmers will be allowed to utilize the multi-faceted plant for a number of different environmentally friendly applications.
Fibers from the hemp plant can be utilizes to create textiles such as clothes, shoes, rope, bed sheets, pillows, backpacks, paper, and can be used to create carbon neutral eco-friendly building materials. Industrial hemp fibers can also be used to manufacture bio-composites which can shift the worlds dependence on plastics to biodegradable goods that won’t impact our oceans and environments.
Seeds that can be harvested from a hemp crop are extremely beneficial to ones health. They are rich in all of the essential amino acids, vitamin E and B, extremely high in protein and fiber content, and the consumption of these seeds has been found to promote good health heart, muscle and joint relief, and have a positive effect on ones immune system.
Cannabinoids, such as Cannabidiol (CBD), can be extracted from hemp and are found in very high concentrations in certain varieties. The use of CBD for its medicinal benefits has gained attention in the mainstream media. CBD is non-psychoactive and has been found to be used as an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-depressant, and has also been used to suppress seizer activity in conditions such as Epilepsy.
With a wide spectrum of applications, the United States industrial hemp industry is expected to flourish and provide the country’s farming community a profitable alternative to growing traditional crops.