On May 28, 2019, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a legal opinion to address questions raised by several hemp-related provisions of the Agricultural Act of 2018, better known as the 2018 Farm Bill. The USDA opinion clarifies four areas of the 2018 Farm Bill:
- the removal of hemp as a controlled substance and schedule I drug became effective upon enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill;
- following the publication of implementing regulations, states and Indian tribes cannot prohibit interstate transportation and shipment of hemp and hemp-based products, and the USDA confirmed that this preemption also covers hemp produced under the 2014 Farm Bill;
- pending certain exceptions, individuals with certain controlled substance felony convictions will be barred from producing hemp; and
- following the enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill, states and Indian tribes still retain the ability to regulate hemp production, including the ability to grow or cultivate hemp in that state or territory.