The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and the legalization of hemp and hemp-derived goods has sparked sturdy enterprise interest from foreign stakeholders. For the previous handful of months, our firm has received various inquiries from current and potential clientele about the legality of importing the agricultural crop and its derived goods, especially hemp-derived CBD (“Hemp-CBD”), to the United States.

This weblog posts briefly addresses the dangers and feasibility of engaging in this enterprise at the moment.


While the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the commercialization of hemp and its derivatives, the production of the crop has but to be regulated by the U.S. Division of Agriculture (“USDA”), which is tasked with adopting guidelines that will serve as a road map for states and Indian tribes wishing to regulate hemp inside their borders.

The USDA had anticipated issuing its guidelines by the finish of summer season nevertheless, the agency only lately submitted (on September 13) its proposed guidelines to the White Property Workplace of Price range and Management (“OBM”), which critiques all regulations adopted and implemented by a presidential administration. Till this course of action is full, we are left with tiny guidance on the production of hemp, like its transportation — note that the OBM authorized the proposed guidelines on Friday, October 25, which indicates they should really be released any day now.

Back in April, the agency issued a statement in which it expressly legalized the importation of hemp seeds and set forth techniques in which the seeds should really be imported from Canada and other foreign nations. Then on October 16, the agency quietly updated its suggestions to enable the importation of each hemp seeds and plants in the United States. According to the USDA’s webpage, hemp plants for planting that originate from Canada and other foreign nations may perhaps be imported so extended as particular needs are happy. Hemp plants from Canada need to be accompanied by “a phytosanitary certificate from Canada’s NPPO to confirm the origin of the plant and to confirm no plant pests are detected.” Hemp plants from nations other than Canada need to also be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate as effectively as an application for a Permit to Import Plants or Plant Merchandise, greater identified as a  PPQ 587 permit

These new suggestions align with the position taken by some U.S. courts that foreign hemp may perhaps be freely shipped to the U.S.  simply because hemp is now excluded from the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”)’s definition of marijuana. But, in practicality, these court choices did not eradicate the threat that foreign hemp be seized at the border. This is simply because hemp is tough to differentiate from marijuana. The crop appears and smells like its psychoactive cousin, which indicates extra suggestions had been desperately necessary from the USDA.

While the agency’s suggestions confirm the importation of hemp plants is lawful, the guidelines do not mention the need to have to attach a copy of THC testing outcomes, displaying that the plant meets the .three% THC limit imposed below federal law. Thus, it will be exciting to see no matter if hemp will now freely pass U.S. Customs and Border Protection or if extra regulations, such as testing protocols will be necessary.


In addition to removing the hemp plant from the CSA, the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp concentrates and extracts, like Hemp-CBD. Nonetheless, the new law preserved the authority of the Meals and Drug Administration (“FDA”) to regulate Hemp-CBD goods, like but not restricted to foods and dietary supplements. From the moment hemp and its derivatives had been legalized, the FDA took the position that the use of Hemp-CBD in foods, dietary supplements and unapproved drugs is unlawful in the United States simply because CBD was currently authorized as an active ingredient in a drug employed in the remedy of epilepsy (i.e., Epidiolex).

Provided the preferred demand of Hemp-CBD goods, the federal agency has been pressured by lawmakers and stakeholders to reconsider its position on CBD and forge a pathway towards legalizing their sale and promoting in the United States.

Consequently, till the agency adopts new guidelines and regulations, the sale of these goods will stay unlawful in the United States, even if manufactured and imported from overseas — while the FDA appears on board with the sale and promoting of Hemp-CBD topicals.

For much more data on this concern, speak to our group of regulatory attorneys.