Marijuana Business Magazine March 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | March 2019 36 M ost business owners crave certainty. But in the hemp industry, businesses crave uncertainty—and that’s why they’ll succeed. I’ve spent a lot of time these past couple of months examining all angles of the Farm Bill’s implications for the hemp market. I’ve been talking with hemp farmers, CBD manufactur- ers, government regulators and the many lawyers with opinions on what hemp entrepreneurs can expect now that the crop is no longer a controlled substance. And no matter whom I ask, I get the same answer: The future of the hemp market is a giant shrug emoji. No one knows how federal regulators are going to treat this plant and all its many products. Will the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally target CBD manufacturers after years of looking the other way while CBD products exploded out of head shops and dispensaries and into the mainstream? No one knows. How does the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plan to ensure that cannabis plants grown anywhere in the country have levels of THC below 0.3%? Your guess is as good as mine. If CBD is legal when it comes from hemp—but illegal when it comes from marijuana—how is anyone supposed to know the difference? Another shrug. And are banks and lenders going to stop worrying about all the legal confusion around hemp and start making loans and merchant services hassle-free? An open question. The list of questions goes on. From crop insurance to social media policies, no one is quite sure what the rules are now. So, it shocks me how ecstatic hempsters are about the Farm Bill. Don’t hemp entrepreneurs realize they’ve been tossed out of the frying pan and into the fire? Of course they do. I just didn’t appreciate how intrepid the cannabis industry is. Unwavering Belief Hempsters have always been a little crazy, believing that this plant is going to heal the world. They’ve ignored all legal obstacles to bring hemp out of the black market and into widespread public acceptance, with college students and octogenarians alike now praising the plant’s potential. This moment is here because of decades of work by those crazy hempsters. So, it makes sense that the Farm Bill isn’t keeping hemp business owners up at night wondering about the FDA, the USDA or any other regulator now taking a crack at hemp. They’ve seen decades of government efforts to demonize the plant to no avail. That’s why Farm Bill uncertainty doesn’t bother them a bit. Hempsters believe in the plant, period. That unwavering belief is now paying dividends for everybody. We’ve all seen polls indicating how many Americans think mari- juana should be legalized. But you don’t see hemp polls. A hemp poll would be boring, because everyone likes hemp. Who would commission a poll on American attitudes toward puppies and butterflies? It’s been amazing to watch, this national hemp awakening. Nothing the Farm Bill is going to throw at the hemp industry is going to matter, because hemp entrepreneurs will find ways to thrive. Hemp fibers are unbelievably tough. Hemp businesses are, too. Uncertainty? Bring it. I can’t wait to see how this industry takes uncertainty and turns it into profit. Kristen Nichols is the editor of Hemp Industry Daily. Reach her at [email protected] . Unbreakable Why the hemp industry will thrive amid Farm Bill uncertainty By Kristen Nichols Hemp Notebook | Kristen Nichols

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