How Regulations on the CBD & Hemp Industry Will Ultimately Affect Consumers

As we know, prior to the enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill, the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) did not differentiate between hemp and marijuana which kept all cannabis under Schedule I and, therefore, under the control of the DEA with very few exceptions. By removing “hemp” from the definition
of marijuana, Congress was able to legalize the cultivation and sale of hemp along with all of its derivatives, cannabinoids, isomers, etc. at the federal level. According to Hemp cultivators and stakeholders, advancing the regulation of Hemp and other Cannabis industry priorities will now be easier since Hemp has its own category in the USDA’s Census of Agriculture. For those who don’t know, this census is a holistic collection of data on every aspect of the farm, making special tabulations and more research into the health of the farm industry possible.

However, because the Ag Census is only updated every five years, it makes it difficult to see what happened in years prior.
The result is the most significant data published at the county level along with the number of farms growing Hemp are not collected and available for the annual National Hemp Report. That, along with the Ag Census category breakdown of field crop and nursery data shows there has been a significant decline in growth as seen below, the question is “why”?

For field crops, the Ag Census noted that in 2022, there were:

Number of hemp farmsAcreagePounds
215 for hemp fiber5,84111.1 million
1,893 for floral (CBD and other cannabinoids)10,55711 million
70 for hemp grain3,164886,702
125 for other purposes196215,744

For nursery crops (starter materials), the Census recorded:

Number of hemp farms
252 for clones or transplants
673 complete grows
97 seed farms

The decline comes from a large lack of federal regulations. While the availability of these products has certainly increased in recent years, it remains heavily dictated by state-specific regulations. One key factor that determines the flow of these products is the Farm Bill. Over time, this monumental piece of legislation has evolved to include provisions related to the cultivation and handling of industrial hemp, which, as we know, is cannabis with a THC concentration of 0.3 percent or less. This has paved the way for a market of hemp-derived CBD products, even though THC-rich products still face stark regulatory hurdles. By breaking down hemp production into categories in the Ag Census, it should be easier to show why separate rules for industrial hemp growers versus cannabinoid producers would be beneficial.

So, again, why the decline?

With the constantly changing and evolving laws and regulations on both the state and federal levels, to the point in which they sometimes clash with each other, it has become too costly for many farmers to waste their time and energy on the never-ending whiplash this creates. In turn, since many cannabinoids are derived from the Hemp plant, this has a huge impact on the CBD business as well. There has even been a group of nonprofit organizations that have sent a letter to the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House of Representatives, which has the broadest jurisdiction of any congressional authorizing committee noting that Hemp was legalized five years ago and there are still thousands of products that have not yet been regulated by the FDA. As a result of inaction from Congress, both consumer safety and industry jobs are not protected.

So what is the hold-up?

Knowing our government and the alphabet soup agencies and how they work brought something else to light. Let’s keep in mind that although they say their decisions are in the interest
of society, we have learned that unless there is money being thrown around, they aren’t interested at all. We have stated many, many times how their decisions, or lack thereof, have a negative impact on the people they claim to represent. Their decisions are based on where that all mighty dollar is coming from.

One should question WHY, if there is such a problem regulating the Cannabis and Hemp industries, some CBD companies are being traded in the stock market. Some should perhaps also question WHY the small CBD and Hemp manufacturers and businesses are having such a difficult time with the laws and regulations while it seems others are thriving.

Is this perhaps a rabbit hole we have overlooked?

What if you were to discover that some of the top names in
the industry pay lobbyists to present their cases to governments
even at the state level. Would you find it interesting that one of these is actually a pharmaceutical company? Or how about a Canadian CBD company, which is one of the largest in the world,
has been acquiring USA-based companies? Would this concern you?

Considering what we’ve learned over the years, these big companies, with the help of the government, are able to create monopolies and crush the small business industries. Is that what the hold-up is? Are pockets being lined for the decision-making process or lack thereof? A complete and total takeover of an industry that profits off of something grown in nature which means it cannot be patented and therefore must be controlled by “The Powers that Think They Be”, not for our good, but for the good of greed and control?

If this is the case, would consumers be paying more for an inferior quality as has happened with many other products in the past? How would that affect those seeking CBD as a quality, means of alternative health solutions? Are you not yet perplexed as to why a natural plant that has been used for centuries needs to be regulated in the first place? Questions to ponder for sure!

In the end, we will always recommend you consult your physician before taking any supplements and in the meantime, it looks like we wait to find out how this regulation saga unfolds.

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