The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) legalized hemp by removing the crop and its derivatives from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and by providing a detailed framework for the cultivation of hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill gives the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulatory authority over hemp cultivation at the federal level. In turn, states have the option to maintain primary regulatory authority over the crop cultivated within their borders by submitting a plan to the USDA.
While states are free to submit plans at any time, the clock is essentially ticking since the prior federal law governing hemp cultivation (the Agriculture Act of 2014 or “2014 Farm Bill”) will expire on October 31, 2020 per interim rules released by the USDA last year. What this means is that states who fail to submit hemp production plans and have them approved by October 31 could cause problems for their internal hemp industries that may be inconsistent with federal law.