North Carolina Law Review

University of North Carolina School of Law

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Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Hemp on the Horizon: The 2018 Farm Bill and the Future of CBD

December 9, 2019

98 N.C. L. REV. F. 35 (2019)


The 2018 Farm Bill has signaled a sea change in hemp cultivation and sale in the United States. In addition to legalizing the crop and sketching out a framework for its regulation, the bill has brought some clarity to the legal status of cannabidiol, or “CBD,” a hemp-derived non-psychoactive compound that has become immensely popular in recent years. In the wake of the bill’s passage, however, the CBD market remains severely under-regulated, a state of affairs that threatens consumer safety and leaves businesses without assurance that their operations are legal. To ameliorate the present confusion, at least two significant regulatory issues must be resolved. The first concerns the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s current, yet largely unenforced, position that the addition of CBD to ingestible products is illegal. The second involves the lack of guidance in the Farm Bill regarding the labeling of CBD products. After providing background on the history of hemp in the United States and detailing the 2018 Farm Bill’s regulatory framework, this Recent Development argues that the federal government must act quickly to fill the holes in the legislation. In the absence of swift federal action, it contends that states will need to address these questions themselves. Such action is necessary to ensure consumer safety and make certain that products and businesses can enter the CBD industry on solid legal footing.



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