Farm Bill makes it through Congress, only needs Trump’s sig

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The legislation is one signature away from being law

Hemp is now just one signature away from being legal in the U.S. The Senate approved the latest iteration of the Farm Bill this past Tuesday and the House gave it the green light yesterday. This means that only President Trump could stop the legislation from being enacted into law, but the odds of that happening are slim. Once he signs the bill, hemp will officially be legal in the U.S. 

The House passed the bill yesterday by an overwhelming margin, 369-47. The 2018 Farm Bill will set the stage for a reversal of hemp’s status as an illegal substance, first introduced decades ago when the government launched a crackdown on illicit drugs.

Once approved by Trump, farmers across the country will be able to grow, process and sell hemp. The Justice Department will relinquish its oversight over the plant, turning it over to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The latter is not expected to get involved to any great extent; rather, it will just assist in moderating the industry.

The 2018 Farm Bill has taken months to reach this far. There has been a great deal of debate over its language that has caused it to stall several times. One of the final hurdles it needed to overcome was related to hemp and individuals with felony drug convictions. However, politicians were able to compromise on the subject, introducing language into the bill that would allow those individuals to participate in the industry no sooner than ten years after their most recent offense.

Once signed by Trump, the legislation is expected to become effective as of January 1, 2019.