The 2018 Farm Bill and the future of cannabis as a schedule


“I’m a farmer…” Those were Max Yazgur’s first words to the hundreds of thousands music lovers who had made the trek to his farm in Woodstock, NY in 1969. Back then it was for “three days of fun and music and nothing but fun and music”. Now the late Max Yazgur and his fellow farmers can celebrate again thanks to the Farm Bill of 2018 that has legalized hemp. The world is going green in more ways than one.

For the first time in 80 years, hemp, a derivative of the plant “cannabis sativa,” will be legal enough for farmers to plant, and federally insured banks will now be able to support the fledgling industry.  This is the first step toward total legalization of the parent plant, known around the world by it’s racist moniker “marijuana”.

First let’s explain the differences between hemp and cannabis sativa. That plant has hundreds of chemicals packed inside it that has been used and documented for it’s medicinal benefits in records that date back 5000 years! One of those chemicals, CBD or cannabinoidiol, is the anti-inflammatory component that needs just a little THC, (the psychoactive chemical that gets you high) to be effective in the treatment of a number of illnesses including cancer. (if you don’t believe that, check out the movie)

Hemp has to have under .3% of THC in order to qualify as hemp. Now, that percentage is not enough to get you “high”, and basically it will have no other effect except to activate the CBD component.  Sounds simple right? However, there are medicinal cannabis experts out there who believe you need to have a bigger percentage of THC in order for it to be the most effective.

Ok, so what happens next? Unfortunately until the DEA changes the scheduling of cannabis from its current schedule 1 listing, cannabis is still illegal on the federal level. Anything having to do with the Federal government these days is a crapshoot, no matter what side of the aisle you are on.

I continue to learn more and more about this emerging industry including a little tidbit that I learned courtesy of Dr. Uma Dhanabalan, (one of 45 certified medicinal cannabis experts in this country ) who hosted a viewing of the documentary movie called “Weed The People” in Natick last week.

Did you know that while cannabis is still a schedule 1 categorized drug with “no medicinal benefits”, the US Government has issued a patent (6630507) that allows it to control the proposed medical research on cannabis by the National Institute of Health? In fact Kannalife is the sole licensee for that patent that expires in 2019, but protects future use of the product. According to an article on PRHBTD by Elizabeth Crozier — “The agreement also entitles the NIH to a percentage of royalties once the company starts making money off the patent. This is an example of a business that wants cannabis to stay illegal for most people so that they can invest in the pharmaceutical opportunities it presents, and the government is helping them do so.”

This is why the cannabis industry and those who have invested billions of dollars in this now are pouring money into the lobbying efforts in Washington DC to get it de-scheduled. Of course whenever there is money to be made, you know the politicians and the money of big pharmaceutical companies will find a way to screw it up.  Maybe we all need to take step back, take a big bong hit, relax, reflect, and figure out a way to regulate this amazing plant so that everyone can benefit from the tax benefits including those who have been unfairly incarcerated over the years for minimal infractions serving maximum sentences for possessing a joint or two.

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Jimmy Young

Jimmy Young is the host of In the Weeds as well as the founder of the Pro Cannabis Media, the voice of cannabis at PCM produces and distributes cannabis-themed podcasts, videocasts, live streams, and branded content from a diverse array of talented journalists and storytellers, anchored by its industry news and trend reporting. PCM's original podcasts include In The Weeds with Jimmy Young, Weed Talk Now, and Weed Talk News! A native New Englander, Jimmy is a product of the Newton, MA public schools. In 1979 he graduated from Tufts University where he started his 40 year career as sports producer at WBZ TV4 at the age 20. Hired by the CBS affiliate in Portland Maine in 1981 as a sports anchor/reporter, Jimmy worked at WGME TV13 for 11 years hosting shows, reporting from major sports events, and doing play by play for area colleges and high schools. In 1992, he returned to his hometown of Newton, MA where he joined the original team of New England Cable News. He hosted "Jimmy Young's Sports World" at NECN from 1992-98. He also won a regional Emmy Award for the nation's first TV sports talk show for kids, Kid Company's Sportworld with Drew Bledsoe as special guest. He currently lives in Needham, MA.