Hemp with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level of 0.3% or less by dry weight is not considered a controlled substance in the United States. The legal landscape is complex and contradictory, with many states being more lenient than the federal government. Under the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is deemed an illegal and highly dangerous drug, yet it is legal for medical use in 36 states and for recreational use in 14 states. In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) classified hemp as a Schedule I controlled substance, leading to a bleak outlook for the industry.
However, there are provisions that heavily regulate hemp production, and the legislation has made hemp a conventional crop. The plan should include procedures for maintaining records of land used in hemp production, testing THC levels in hemp, eliminating plants that violate the law, complying with enforcement provisions, conducting inspections, and submitting the license and other relevant information to the USDA. States that already allowed industrial hemp programs continued to consider policies related to licensing, financing, seed certification, and other issues. In addition, other hemp producing countries (such as Uruguay in South America) have defined hemp more generously, legalizing dry weight THC percentages of up to 1%.
This year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been a strong supporter of hemp reform and has put the cannabis plant in the spotlight. While McConnell is a champion of hemp reform, he remains an opponent of marijuana reform and his role in the Senate could be an obstacle for legislation passed by Democrats in the 116th Congress. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees hemp cultivation as the responsible federal regulatory agency. The rise of Delta 8 is an example of how cannabis entrepreneurs are separating hemp and marijuana to create new product lines with different marketing angles. In the United States, there have been significant legal changes; at the state level, cannabis is legal for some medical purposes in 47 states and legal for adult use in 11 of them.
However, thanks to the Farm Bill, hemp lost its status as a Schedule I drug. Each of these programs is illegal under federal law, with no exceptions. If a hemp producer negligently violates a hemp production plan, they will be required to comply with a corrective action plan that includes periodic compliance reports to the appropriate state or tribal authority or the USDA for at least two calendar years. While cultivation remains highly regulated, the law legalizes the production and distribution of hemp under federal law and establishes a framework of shared oversight by federal, state and Indian tribal authorities. A state's plan to license and regulate hemp can only begin once the Secretary of the USDA approves that state's plan.