While the rest of the world slips into economic decay, hemp is experiencing a Golden Age. Over two decades after the passage of the National Hemp Farming Act, hemp is once again restored to its rightful position as a genuine agricultural commodity. This time, however, hemp farmers will have to work a little harder than usual to ensure their “product” is taken seriously by all. As President Trump sets forth a bold agenda to revitalize the American economy, he is also signaling his intent to renew America’s stance on drugs.
The Farm Bill for agriculture is one of many pieces of legislation that make up President Trump’s Make-Your farmland America plan. One of the key elements of the Farm Bill is the food and drug administration (FDA). The FDA regulates many facets of modern agriculture, including food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, genetics, pesticides, veterinary medicine and more. The FDA has also held hemp in high regard, because of its potential for increasing crop production, reducing fertilizer use, reducing water pollution, reducing fuel emissions, and even improving the soil in both urban and rural areas. Hemp is a perfect crop for controlling erosion, soil erosion and soil salinity in rural areas.
When President Obama signed into law the Hemp Farming Act of 2021, many were hopeful that the spirit of the original hemp legislation would live on. However, that was not the end of the story. In January of this year, the House and Senate passed the Farm Bill for agriculture, which includes a $1.6 billion loan program and several other measures. Much of the hype surrounding the Farm Bill comes from the fact that it will help farmers who grow industrial hemp. The hemp production in the United States is still in the very early stages, but experts expect this industry to grow significantly, with annual production expected to surpass $10 billion.
So how does the new legislation to change the landscape of hemp in the United States? The first major change is that all products containing trace amounts of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, will now be considered illegal for consumption by anyone. Currently, there are no federal laws preventing anyone from growing, harvesting, or selling any products containing these compounds, so long as they don’t contain more than 0.3%THC. This includes drinking any product containing hemp seeds, leaves, or oil, or even testing for trace amounts of the substance with a routine drug test. The new law makes no mention of eating hemp seeds, oils, or cooking with hemp products, but advocates anticipate that this will spur consumers to seek out more hemp-based food and cookware.
Another piece of legislation that has been pushed strongly is the inclusion of hemp leaves and stalks in any diet. For years, farmers have grown hemp plants, stripped the leaves off of them, cooked them, and consumed the resulting fiber. Many believe that eating raw, hemp leaves and stalks contain a strong amount of powerful antioxidants that can help support a healthy nervous system and ward off diseases like Alzheimer’s. Although there has not been enough research to definitively prove the effectiveness of this approach, those who support it strongly believe in its curative powers.
Fiber is another area where the versatile plant has proven useful. In the early days of cultivating hemp plants, it was used for both cooking and fiber. Early civilizations such as the Aztecs and the Egyptians included hemp in their diets, and it was even used by some tribes in America as their primary source of nourishment. Native American tribes today also cultivate the plant for fiber, although the culinary fibers do not make up a large part of their diet. In addition to being a beneficial source of fiber, hemp can also be used for a variety of other purposes.
Medical science has taken a new look at hemp plants, and in recent years it has been studied extensively for its ability to treat everything from depression and arthritis to cancer and Parkinson’s disease. Some studies have indicated that hemp plants contain significant amounts of fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins that can prevent or treat serious diseases. For example, in a study published in the prestigious Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers revealed that strains of hemp plants were able to significantly reduce blood glucose levels in a number of diabetic patients. Because diabetes is known to be one of the leading causes of blindness, the potential for reducing the negative effects of diabetes on vision was very promising. In 2021, the House committee on agriculture is expected to introduce legislation that will allow further testing of hemp plants and the potential for their use in various medical conditions.
Today, hemp can be seen cultivated virtually throughout the world. In North America, most marijuana is grown in states such as Colorado and Minnesota, which permit medical marijuana clinics to prescribe and sell small amounts of the plant to registered individuals. In fact, hemp has become so popular that in several states, laws are currently being passed that will reduce penalties for anyone caught carrying less than one ounce of cannabis. Many farmers growing hemp crops for this purpose are concerned about having to enforce these kinds of laws, as they fear that future legal challenges might make it difficult for them to continue cultivation. However, as hemp gains more popularity among American consumers and as more countries begin to legalize its production, hemp cultivation may find a new lease on life in the near future. If you’re interested in investing in hemp or in growing your own garden, there are several options available to help you get started.