Hemp with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level of 0.3% or less by dry weight is not a controlled substance in the United States.
First, as noted above, hemp cannot contain more than 0.3 percent THC, according to section 10113 of the Farm Bill. Any cannabis plant containing more than 0.3 percent THC would be considered hemp-free cannabis or marijuana under federal law and would therefore have no legal protection under this new legislation. Many advocates applaud Leader McConnell for incorporating these hemp provisions into the Farm Bill and his leadership in legislation in general.
Second, there will be significant shared state and federal regulatory power over the cultivation and production of hemp.
Third, the law describes actions that are considered violations of federal hemp law (including activities such as growing without a license or producing cannabis with more than 0.3 percent THC). More than six months after hemp was legalized in the United States, federal drug enforcement authorities updated their guidelines to remind law enforcement that hemp is no longer a controlled substance. A state's plan to license and regulate hemp can only begin once that state's plan is approved by the USDA Secretary. In addition, other hemp producing countries (such as Uruguay in South America) have defined hemp more liberally, legalizing percentages of THC in dry weight of up to 1%.
This revised definition now includes the THC content limit of 0.3% for the extract, meaning that hemp-derived extracts containing less than 0.3% THC are also out of control along with the plant itself. As mentioned earlier, the production of hemp and its extracts, as defined in the AIA, is now under the same regulatory oversight shared between Indian states, territories and tribal agencies and the USDA. Understanding these evolving issues will allow an industrial hemp business owner to remain flexible and adapt quickly to the changing legal landscape. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has offered much needed clarity on the manufacture, distribution and sale of hemp and hemp-derived products. Since those substances are no longer controlled substances, the DEA is also eliminating the requirement for import and export permits for these substances.
Several provisions of the Farm Bill include changes to current provisions of agricultural legislation to include hemp.