Interviews

Industry Leaders Respond To Passing Of Farm Bill By Congress

Donald Trump is expected to sign the bi-partisan bill legalizing industrial hemp

With the quick toss from Senate to Congress, and now Congress to Donald Trump, the US Farm Bill is poised to legalize industrial hemp at the federal level. While CBD in itself is still in a legal grey area due to DEA scheduling, this opens the door to all 50 states to now grow and produce hemp, and that includes for any purpose from biofuel to even CBD, without fear of reprisal by the federal government. There was universal cheer across the industry as this is the first real step towards the federal legalization of cannabis that we have seen to date. We asked some of the top minds in cannabis what this means for them and the industry as a whole from their perspective and we gathered the list below.

 

Dan Anglin, CEO, CannAmerica:

“With a federally legal industrial hemp industry in each of our 50 states, the passage of the Farm Bill represents a monumental step toward the federal legalization of another genus of cannabis—marijuana. This news is substantial for all of America’s hemp and CBD companies, and as a veteran of the more complicated THC-marijuana industry, I’m encouraged about what this could mean for the federal future of marijuana and cannabis products in the U.S.A.”

 

Bethany Gomez, Director of Research, Brightfield Group:

“This is a watershed moment for CBD in the United States.  With hemp and all of its derivatives officially removed from the controlled substances act, CBD moves from a legal gray area into the light.  That legal gray area has kept the industry small and fragmented – this shift will allow for CBD to make its way to the shelves of larger scale, mainstream distribution channels and pave the way for the large mainstream consumer packaged goods companies in industries like drinks, beauty, pet, skin care and tobacco to develop CBD products and capitalize on this emerging industry.   Even while operating in a legal gray area with minimal marketing budgets, limited distribution channels, and only small brands, CBD has catapulted to the national stage this year, growing by more than 80% to reach $590 million. Now that the Farm Bill has gone through, we expect the US market for CBD to hit $22 billion by 2022.”

 

Dylan Summers, Director of Government Affairs and Compliance, Lazarus Naturals:

“This is great news for us as a company and an industry. The future is bright as hemp solidifies itself as a legitimate agricultural product at long last–liberated from the restrictions of the Controlled Substances Act. Although competition will become more sophisticated and challenges will arise as FDA navigates just how to regulate hemp products and hemp-derived cannabinoids our endeavor will remain to pave the way for testing and quality standards throughout the industry. If we reflect and build upon the models we’ve had thus far in the Pacific Northwest, I believe Lazarus Naturals can help solidify the growth of a safe, supportive, and effective community for our health-conscious constituency, service members, veterans, and those in most need on long-term disability and of little means.”

 

Cortney Smith, CEO, DaVinci Vaporizer:

“A landmark decision that not only further unties the stigma of cannabis, but also creates legislature to protect US agricultural dominance.

 

Jeffrey M. Zucker, Co-Founder, President, Green Lion Partners:

“While how long it has taken is disappointing, it is exciting to see hemp back in the fold as a main cash crop opportunity for American farmers. Hemp is an environmentally friendly, sustainable resource that is incredibly versatile.  In addition to this being a win for farmers, it is a boon for Americans as a whole to receive expanded access to hemp products”

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Alex Wasyl, CEO, Nexien Biopharma:

“This is a huge step in a direction that is much needed. Updated legislation and regulations on Hemp and its constituents, primarily CBD and other non-psychoactive, non-THC cannabinoids will lead to many positive developments. Removing Hemp, and potentially some of its phyto-cannabinoids themselves, from the controlled substance act, will provide a clearer perspective to those currently on the sidelines of cannabinoid science. This will presumably hasten the timeline for the private sector and academic institutions to further contribute to developing valuable research. More research will enable targeted therapeutics for additional indications beyond existing cannabinoid pharmaceuticals to be developed and brought to market – most importantly, to patients in need.”

 

Elizabeth Hogan, VP of Brands, GCH Inc:

“We’re so pleased farmers across America now have the freedom to consider integrating this important crop into their production, particularly with the trade concerns around other crops such as soybeans, corn, and wheat. We look forward to working hand-in-hand with current and new hemp farmers as we develop more products for Willie’s Remedy, Willie Nelson’s new line of CBD-infused products.”

Barry Grissom, SVP – Global Development & General Counsel, Electrum Partners, LLC:

“With the passage of the farm bill, farmers will now have the option of growing hemp without fear of running afoul of the federal government. By treating hemp as just another commodity, it gives farmers an opportunity to be part of a growing economy as new markets develop for hemp to be used as paper, cloth, building materials, plastic, and bio-fuel. This could be a real shot in the arm for struggling farm families.”

 

Frank Lane; President; CFN Media:

“The Farm Bill will effectively declassify hemp-derived CBD as a controlled substance, which removes uncertainty for producers, distributors, and marketers of cannabidiol (CBD) throughout the U.S. As the market is predicted to grow to $22 billion, businesses that had been waiting for more clarity – particularly those in the health and wellness space – will be free and emboldened to launch their products.”

 

Derek Riedle, Publisher, Civilized:

“What’s happening with the Farm Bill is exciting. Hemp is incredibly versatile, and for so long it’s had a bad reputation because of the stigma around marijuana. For decades, the government hasn’t been able to distinguish between the two plants – it’s like having a twin brother who breaks the rules but you get in trouble too. Now that the realities of cannabis are coming to light, we will finally be able to unleash the full potential of hemp here in the US.”

Nick Gaulin, Editor In Chief, MRR:

“It’s hard to understate just how important this bill truly is. Simply put, it gives clear guidance and protections that otherwise didn’t exist. With how big hemp-based products will be in 2019 and beyond, giving farmers the piece of mind that if they jump into the industrial hemp industry with both feet, they can feel safe about their investment and that is a massive step in the right direction for our country.”

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 Sasha Kadey, CMO, Greenlane:

“It is excellent to finally have definitive rules governing the sale of CBD products in the United States. There are huge demands for these products as many Americans find great benefit in their use. A clear, legal path to bring these products to market with all the appropriate checks and balances that ultimately result in consumer safety is a huge win for consumers, law abiding businesses, and the US Economy.”

 

David Goldstein, CEO, Potbotics:

“Opening the door for U.S.-based hemp is very exciting. Keeping production local allows for greater transparency, quality control, and testing procedures as well as more clarity on minor cannabinoids that you simply don’t get with imported hemp. I believe doctors and their patients looking to supplement their lives with cannabinoid-based therapy can find greater comfort and reliability in the medicines they’re receiving.”

 

Khurram Malik, CEO, Biome Grow:

“When the Farm Bill passes in its current form, we expect hemp-based product sales (with and without CBD) to grow faster than marijuana-based products in the U.S. This has to do with less structural constraints associated with the marketing and distribution in the hemp sector. This is assuming there is no change to federal regulations regarding medical and recreational cannabis over the same time period. Additionally, this will likely allow U.S. hemp companies to list on senior U.S. stock exchanges, where previously, we have seen some hemp companies limiting their listing to Canadian exchanges.”

 

Jordan Friedman, CEO & Co-Founder, Zodaka:

“While the Farm Bill presents exciting opportunities for U.S. agriculture and the hemp industry, it is still unclear what the final status of CBD will be. I would say I am cautiously enthusiastic about this bill’s passing, but I will be more curious to see how the progress of CBD-specific legislation is affected by this milestone.”

 

Maruchy Lachance, COO, Boulder Botanical & Bioscience Laboratory:

“This definitive new federal law is going to revolutionize the market for hemp-derived products in America, while opening promising channels to make U.S. hemp companies players on the global stage. We welcome the move from the gray market into the light. Now that there is clear-cut guidance for legal sales of hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products and allowing interstate commerce, American companies can move forward in confidence with domestically sourced hemp and development of cannabinoid products to help consumers seeking to enhance their natural wellness. For a hemp cannabinoid formulation company such as Boulder Botanical & Bioscience Laboratory, we’re setting the standard by strictly adhering to good manufacturing practices and transparent operations—and this recent news will only embolden our mission of delivering carefully formulated hemp products to retailers throughout the U.S.”

 

Ben Bodamer, Attorney, Dickinson Wright:

“The flip to federal legality will be a boon to the industries seeking to use CBD (and 100+ other non-psychoactive cannabinoids) in broad consumer and commercial applications. The specific preemption of the Controlled Substances Act shows a strong intent to empower American farmers to enter the global cannabis market. This will serve those with strong agricultural ties, experience, technology, and market strategies, and could very well hasten the eventual commoditization of cannabis (psychoactive and non-psychoactive).”

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