President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill on December 20, which includes the legalization of cultivation and sale of industrial hemp, defined as cannabis that contains less than 0.3-percent THC.

Hemp will now be removed from the list of Controlled Substances to be treated like any other crop, so that states may regulate its production, commerce, and research with approval from the USDA. Growers will need to provide cultivation plans to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The hemp cultivation will be covered under the Federal Crop Insurance Act so that in the event of a crop loss, cultivators will be entitled to insurance coverage in the same way that farmers for other agriculture products are. Regulatory plans to the USDA need to be formulated before farmers can legally cultivate the crop.

Hemp is one of the oldest crops cultivated for textile fiber. Archaeologists have found traces of hemp in Asian regions as early as 8000 BCE. In North America hemp was introduced first in 1606. American farmers grew hemp to make ropes, paper, and fuel. Interesting to note that hemp instead of depleting the soil of nutrients seems to help regenerate the soil. 

With more funding for organic research now available in the US, it would be interesting to know if over the next 12 years we have to stop climate change hemp could take a vital role revitalizing the soil.