hemp legalization

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is laying out its plan for hemp production, 10 months after the 2018 farm bill paved the way for farmers to grow it. 

The new federal program, which will be published Thursday in the Federal Register, is an “interim final rule” open to public comment. It would require farmers to secure a license from the USDA or their state if they want to grow hemp. 

After years of government stalemate, there is finally some forward movement on cannabis legislation in the U.S. Congress. 

The lack of federal cannabis laws has affected a slew of issues from criminal justice to small businesses. The banking problem, in particular, has made it difficult for legitimate, licensed business owners. For years, big banks have refused to work with cannabis businesses because marijuana is still a Schedule 1 drug on the Controlled Substances Act, on par with heroin and LSD.

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Earlier this year, Texas passed a law legalizing hemp and hemp-derived products like CBD oil. The law changed the state’s legal definition of marijuana.

The Food and Drug Administration this week extended the public comment period on CBD oil by two weeks. The public now has until July 16 to share input as the FDA considers how to to regulate the fast-growing industry.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is an oil extracted from hemp flowers. Unlike marijuana, it contains very little THC — no more than 0.3 percent according to federal regulations — which means ingesting hemp CBD won't get you high.

Kris Taylor was accepted into medical school. But instead of becoming a doctor, the Texan moved to California to pursue something he was really passionate about. Hemp.

Joe Bisogno sees a bright future for industrial hemp in Kansas. The plant is a close relative of marijuana, but it lacks the high-producing chemical THC.

The crop can be used to make everything from textiles to health and food products.

“Industrial hemp is not pot, but it is a pot of gold for Kansas,” Bisogno said before the ribbon cutting on a new hemp training facility in De Soto.

Bisogno founded America’s Hemp Academy to train people on growing hemp, but other state officials hope Kansas can cash in on more than just growing the crop.