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The Legal History of Hemp and CBD – A Journey Through the Farm Bills

Written by: AtoZ Botanicals Staff



Time to read 6 min

From ancient fabrics to modern wellness, hemp has always been a part of our lives. But how did it turn into today’s booming industry? Hemp, a type of Cannabis sativa, is grown for various uses, while CBD, a non-intoxicating compound in hemp, is prized for its health benefits. From textiles to wellness products, hemp and CBD have a lot to offer. Understanding the role of the endocannabinoid system helps explain why CBD and other cannabinoids have significant effects on the body. Early 20th-century laws pushed hemp aside, but the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills brought it back, boosting market growth and access.

At A to Z Botanicals, we’re proud to set the standard for CBD. We offer high-quality, broad-spectrum CBD formulations with 0% THC. Our dedication to safety, quality and compliance sets us apart, making us a trusted and reliable leader in the market.

Now, let’s take a journey through the key milestones that have shaped the hemp and CBD industry over the years.

Timeline of Hemp and CBD Legislation

Pre-1930s: Early CBD & Hemp Use and Initial Legal Prohibition

Early 20th-Century Shift Toward Prohibition

  • Industrialization and Synthetic Alternatives :  The rise of synthetic materials like nylon and the cotton industry cut down the demand for hemp products in the United States.

  • Reefer Madness Era  : In the 1920s and 1930s, a campaign against cannabis use, fueled by racial and political motives, began to blur the lines between hemp and marijuana.

1937: The Marihuana Tax Act

  • Legislative Background : Introduced by Rep. Robert L. Doughton and passed by Congress in 1937.

  • Purpose : Aimed to tax and regulate marijuana and hemp due to concerns about their psychoactive properties.

  •  Political Climate : Influenced by anti-cannabis propaganda and lobbying from competing industries like timber, paper, and synthetic fibers.

industrial hemp

Impact on Hemp and CBD Production

  • Taxation and Regulation : Imposed prohibitive taxes on hemp growers, processors, and sellers, making production economically unfeasible.

  • Licensing Requirements : Required producers and sellers to obtain federal licenses, adding bureaucratic hurdles.

  • Criminalization : Non-compliance resulted in severe penalties, including heavy fines and imprisonment.

  • Decline in Production : Stringent regulations and high costs led to a dramatic decline in hemp cultivation.

  • CBD Impact : Stifled cannabis research and development of CBD products, as the Act did not distinguish between different forms of cannabis.

1970:  Controlled Substances Act

  • Classification : Hemp and marijuana were classified as Schedule I substances, equating them with highly addictive drugs with no accepted medical use. This classification impacted perceptions of drug abuse.

  • Effect on Research and Industry : This classification severely restricted research and halted industrial hemp production, including its use in health products and medical cannabis. Despite mounting evidence of medical marijuana's benefits, this law prevented its legal use and research.

2014:  The Agricultural Act (2014 Farm Bill)

  • Hemp Pilot Programs : Introduced test projects for hemp research and cultivation in the U.S.

  • Beginning of Modern Hemp Industry : Marked the beginning of renewed interest and legal cultivation of hemp.

2018:  The Agricultural Improvement Act (2018 Farm Bill)

  •  Legalization : Legalized hemp and differentiated it from marijuana.

  •  CBD Market Explosion : Led to a surge in the CBD market.

  •  THC Limit : Introduced the 0.3 percent THC limit, defining legal hemp.

CBD Laws

2023:  Extension of the 2018 Farm Bill

  • Temporary Extension : Allowed continued cultivation and sale of hemp, extending the 2018 regulations.

  • Continued Growth : Enabled ongoing industry growth under existing guidelines.

2024: Proposed Amendments in 2024 

  •  Summary of Changes : Proposed changes include Rep. Mary Miller’s amendment, which would redefine hemp to exclude intoxicating cannabinoids.

**Potential Impact : Could significantly impact the hemp and CBD industry by restricting products containing certain cannabinoids.

2024 Farming Law Negotiations

Redefining Hemp

Rep. Mary Miller has introduced a controversial amendment, aiming to redefine hemp. This new definition excludes cannabinoids like THC that are "synthesized or manufactured outside the plant." In practice, this means most consumable hemp products, including the notoriously dangerous Delta-8 THC  and CBD products with any detectable THC, could be banned.

Industry Reactions

The industry is buzzing with mixed reactions:

  • Hemp Industry : Many in the hemp industry see this amendment as a potential disaster, predicting it could shut down 90-95% of the market and devastate many hemp farmers' investments. 

  • Marijuana Businesses : On the flip side, some marijuana businesses support the amendment, viewing unregulated hemp products as a competitive threat.

"The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

Albert Einstein

Legal Uncertainty

  •  "Synthesized" Definition : The term’s ambiguity creates confusion about whether it applies to natural extraction processes, further complicating the issue.

The legal status of CBD and medical marijuana varies from state to state. While CBD derived from hemp is federally legal, medical marijuana laws depend on state legislation. Some states have comprehensive medical cannabis programs, while others have restrictive policies. It's essential to stay informed about the legal status in your specific location. The final outcome will depend on whether the amendment passes and the potential legal challenges it might face, highlighting the ongoing need for clearer CBD regulations under both federal and state law.

The Future of CBD: A-to-Z Botanicals Stays Ahead of the Curve

At A-to-Z Botanicals, we're not worried about the proposed regulation changes. Why? Because we've always been committed to providing the highest quality,  legally compliant CBD products , free from THC.

Here's what sets us apart:

  • Unwavering Commitment to 0% THC:  We specialize in broad-spectrum CBD oil, meaning our products contain zero percent THC . This ensures you get the potential benefits of CBD without any psychoactive effects.Unlike full-spectrum products that contain up to 0.3 percent THC, our products ensure you stay compliant and avoid any issues with drug tests.

  • Regulatory Compliance is Key:  We prioritize following all legal guidelines, adhering to FDA regulations on cannabis and CBD products . Our products undergo rigorous testing by third-party labs to verify their CBD content and complete absence of THC. This transparency and commitment to compliance put us ahead of the curve, especially compared to companies offering full-spectrum products that new regulations might impact.

The Road Ahead: Our Predictions

This industry is still evolving, and regulations are bound to follow suit. We anticipate continued discussions around safety standards and clear labeling on THC content. This is actually a positive step towards long-term industry growth.

Here's our expert opinion: companies that prioritize quality, transparency, and compliance will thrive. We believe the future of CBD is bright for those who prioritize consumer safety and legal standards.\

Innovation and Growth: A Thriving Industry

Even with potential regulations, the CBD industry is brimming with innovation. Researchers are exploring the potential of CBD for treating conditions like epilepsy, PTSD, and even certain cancers. From topicals and CBD gummies to tinctures and CBD capsules, we're confident there's a perfect, legal CBD option for everyone.

At A-to-Z Botanicals, we're excited about the future of CBD. We'll continue providing you with the best possible broad-spectrum CBD products while staying compliant and at the forefront of this ever-growing industry. Stay tuned for exciting developments—we're here to guide you on your CBD journey!

Why A-to-Z Botanicals is Your Best Choice for Quality CBD

In summary, the journey of hemp and CBD from ancient times to modern-day wellness products has been marked by significant legal milestones. Despite historical challenges and evolving legislation, the CBD continues to thrive. At AtoZ Botanicals, our unwavering commitment to quality, transparency, and compliance sets us apart as market leaders. We invite you to choose A-to-Z Botanicals for your CBD needs, ensuring you receive the highest quality, legally compliant products. Join us on this exciting journey and experience the benefits of A to Z Botanical’s CBD today.

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"The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress."

- Charles Kettering

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