There is still a lot of uncertainty regarding what is legal and what isn’t
Canada reportedly has really good hemp seed – better than what farmers in the US have at their disposal. With a growing number of farmers wanting to get in on hemp cultivation before competition becomes too fierce, there have been concerns that trying to import hemp seed from other countries would be illegal. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently put farmers’ minds at ease, assuring them that there is nothing preventing them from importing seeds. However, if anyone thought that the debate would die there, they were wrong.
While the 2018 Farm Bill took hemp of the list of scheduled substances, it didn’t cover anything related to hemp-derived cannabinoids. This is where things get a little tricky.
Any seed imported can still be inspected by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The CBP has repeatedly asserted that it will follow the orders of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), which allows anything containing cannabidiol (CBD) – a cannabinoid in hemp – to be seized. Since there’s no way to seize hemp-based CBD without seizing the hemp, farmers are still not completely in the clear.
The issue is exacerbated by the realization that hemp seeds don’t contain CBD – CBD is created as the hemp grows. However, this distinction is not always recognized by those tasked with protecting the nation’s borders.
There is still a long way to go before the legal hemp industry can function properly. A bit of good news, as well as clarity, recently came out of a federal court in California and will hopefully make its way to the USDA, the DEA, the CBP and anyone else that needs it. US District Judge Jesus Bernal has asserted that hemp-derived CBD products “will not be subject to seizure.”