December 20, 2018 was a big old historic milestone for cannabis: the day President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill, which allowed for the federally legalized hemp cultivation in the United States.
The only problem was that just two days later another important legislative event occured: Trump refused to sign the a federal spending bill from congress, effecting a federal government shutdown.
In a government shutdown, nonessential federal employees and services are put temporarily out to pasture. And we’re afraid that nonessential services include giving farmers the licenses to grow that hemp.
As reported by Cannabis Business Times:
Until the federal government reopens for business—until the U.S. Congress approves an appropriations bill—the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is unable to approve state hemp program regulations and the FBI is unable to conduct required background checks. This presents a problem for prospective hemp farmers.
It has been nearly two weeks since the shutdown began, and there’s still no clear indication of when it will end. The House of Representatives approved a stopgap spending bill to end the shutdown on Thursday.
However, there is no provision in the spending bill to allocate funds for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. And that, according to many political insiders, means the bill will be dead in the water when it gets to the president’s desk.
Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he’s willing to hold out on funding the government “as long as it takes” to force House democrats into giving him money for the wall. And Vice President Pence has echoed the sentiment on Fox News saying, “if there’s no wall, there’s no deal.”
Meanwhile, the shutdown could be forcing hemp farmers to stall there plans.
“It could keep someone from getting their business underway,” Jack Wilbur, spokesman for the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, told KUTV.
Still, many see a bright future for hemp in the U.S., even if its a little uncertain when that future is going to come.
Stuart Titus, CEO of the major hemp-derived CBD manufacturer Medical Marijuana Inc., has sourced his hemp from Europe in the past, but his business looking to tap into U.S. cultivation when the option becomes available.
“At this time, obviously, now we’re looking to add on some U.S.-based production, and this is quite exciting for us,” Titus told the Times. “We see as much as 60 million acres of U.S. farmland [that] could be grown with hemp. For many farmers, it’s a great rotational crop. … Hemp is very robust, very hearty.”
Photo via Flickr user Philip Steffan