It looks like Santa came early this holiday season. On Tuesday, December 11th, 2018, the U.S. Senate passed an act called the “Farm Bill.” Then, at breakneck speed, the House of Representatives passed it the very next day. Before you fall asleep, don’t let the name lead you to write it off as just another boring piece of legislation. This new bill doesn’t just affect Old McDonald and Farmer Brown. It also affects you, too—especially those of you scratching your heads trying to figure out how to ship marijuana, hemp, or CBD products.
The Farm Bill: A Quick Overview
Passed in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Farm Bill is an $867 billion legislative act that will subsidize farmers’ incomes, bolster farmers markets across the country, and reject Republicans’ efforts to impose stricter limits on food stamps. Oh…and it also officially legalizes hemp and CBD nationwide.
What?! Hemp and CBD are Legal Now?!
Technically, they’re on their way! High fives all around. Don’t go popping bottles just yet, though. The Farm Bill still needs to be signed into effect by President Trump. However, the Donald has expressed his favor for the bill and expects it to be signed into an official act pretty swiftly.
Before we go on, we still need to talk about Cannabis and whether or not it’s considered a controlled substance. This area is all still a bit hazy. See what we did there?
Clearing Up the “Cannabis” Name
The word Cannabis has gotten a bad rap over the years. Cannabis technically includes two components: THC (the stuff in marijuana that gets you high) and CBD (the stuff that industrial hemp is made of). However, when most people think of cannabis, they automatically associate it with THC and marijuana. Lawmakers are no different. Therefore, ALL cannabis products, including CBD, have been labeled as controlled substances.
Here’s where the Farm Bill comes into play. For the first time, this legislation places a definition of what marijuana is—and what it isn’t. Thanks to this bill, industrial hemp is officially defined to not have more than a 0.3% THC concentration on a dry weight basis, sourced from ANY part of the plant. Previously, the Farm Bill was ambiguous, allowing Federal Agencies like the DEA to fill in the blank. For example, the DEA stated that the Farm Bill only applied to the stem and stalk of the plant, and anything sourced from leaves and flowers was still considered “marijuana.” This changes that, making 0.3% THC the standard for any part of the Cannabis plant.
For those of you who aren’t exactly mathematicians, 0.3% is next to nothing. That means hemp is not classified as marijuana…and therefore not classified as a controlled substance.
So…Is It Totally Legal to Ship Hemp and CBD Products Now?
Well…not exactly. Not yet, at least. However, the Farm Bill officially legalizing hemp and CBD is a huge step in that direction. The Farm Bill officially implies that hemp and CBD can no longer be considered controlled substances. Since USPS prohibits the shipment of controlled substances, logic would lead us to believe that individuals and businesses should be able to ship hemp and CBD products with the USPS once the Farm Bill is officially signed into law. All of this is just conjecture at this point, though. USPS has yet to weigh in on the discussion. Maybe they will make an official announcement at the 2019 National Postal Forum. Until then, we’ll just have to wait and see.