Today President Donald Trump signed hemp legalization into law as part of the 2018 Farm Bill, which immediately removes hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. Now, hemp will be treated like other agricultural commodities such as tomatoes or corn.

Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown for the industrial uses of its derived products. It has extremely low levels of THC, and is higher in CBD – a compound that is believed to have benefits in treating anxiety, arthritis, stress and other conditions. Hemp-derived CBD sales reached $190 million in the United States alone last year according to the Hemp Business Journal, with total sales for the U.S. hemp industry topping $820M.

Hemp entrepreneurs are excited about the new potential business opportunities, and certainly this opens up more avenues for research of this plant, which is believed to be one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 10,000 years ago. Of course, it’s just the beginning of implementation, and Hemp Industry Daily summarizes what’s next:

  • Hemp producers holding cultivation licenses in the 42 states with existing pilot programs won’t see an immediate change. Those state laws will remain in effect until the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has time to review the state regulations to decide which pass muster.
  • The USDA must come up with national hemp regulations “as expeditiously as practicable,” an uncertain timeframe. The national plan must include procedures for checking THC content and plans to destroy plants that test “hot.”
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration retains authority over foods, drugs and cosmetics. That means that while CBD is legal in Jan. 1, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is legal to add hemp or CBD to food products or dietary supplements.
  • States, territories and Indian tribes have no deadline to submit hemp-regulation plans to the USDA. But once a plan is submitted, the USDA has 60 days to approve or reject it.
  • If a state’s oversight plan is rejected, hemp growers will be “subject to a plan established by the (USDA) to monitor and regulate that production.”
  • The USDA has one year to study progress in the 42 states and “determine the economic viability of the domestic production and sale of industrial hemp.” Those findings will then be presented to Congress.