Hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant commonly planted as a crop for paper manufacturing, as a food source.
Marijuana and hemp both come from the same species of plant, Cannabis sativa L., but from different varieties or cultivars. Hemp varieties contain 0.3% or less tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) whereas marijuana varieties contain 10-30% THC. There are different varieties of Cannabis, just as Chihuahuas and St. Bernards are different breeds of Canis lupus.
Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill authorized hemp research and pilot programs by state departments of agriculture and institutions of higher education. Some states began licensing farmers to conduct pilot programs and research on hemp. In 2017 there were 19 states that allowed hemp to be grown. On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law including language that removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and authorized production of hemp under licensing by states, tribes or USDA. Contact your state or tribal agriculture department to learn more about the law near you.
Yes. Processed hemp seed and oil has always been legal. The case HIA v DEA established that hemp foods are exempt from control in the Controlled Substances Act and that they remain fully legal. An excellent overview of the case can be found on the DEA Hemp Food Rules page. Learn more by reading the 9th Circuit opinion invalidating DEA’s hemp food rules. (PDF file 72k)
The 2018 Farm Bill defined hemp as distinct from marijuana and removed it from the Controlled Substances Act. The definition of hemp covers all parts of the plant including cannabinoids. So hemp grown under the 2018 Farm Bill or the 2014 Farm Bill including hemp extracts are no longer classified as Controlled Substances. However, hemp products sold as dietary supplements or foods are still subject to regulation by the FDA under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) and must meet existing federal regulations. Some states have also passed laws regulating CBD so it is important to check your state to determine if hemp derived CBD is legal under state law.
Hemp has a very low amount of THC, especially in comparison to marijuana. Hemp generally has below 1% THC, but in most states in America require hemp to contain lower than 0.3% THC. This low amount of THC will not get you high nor will it make you fail a drug test.
Yes, hemp products such as paper, rope, and clothing (which contain fiber made from the cannabis plant) and animal feed mixtures, soaps, and shampoos (which contain sterilized cannabis seeds or oils extracted from the seeds), etc. may be imported into the United States. Hemp Seeds: Imports of hemp seeds must be sterilized. Non-sterilized hemp seeds remain a schedule one controlled substance and therefore may only be imported into the U.S. with a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Permit Form 35.
Industrial hemp grown for textiles averages 8-12 feet high, is long and skinny and grows very densely together similar to corn. Hemp grown for grain averages a height of around 6 feet. The picture below depicts an average industrial hemp field being grown for textile use.