Federal crop insurance will soon be available for hemp. The federal Agriculture Improvement Act (H.R. 2) (the Act) – which has been approved by both houses of Congress and is now just awaiting the president’s signature – will amend the Federal Crop Insurance Act, 7 U.S.C. §1501, et seq., so that hemp will be a covered “agricultural commodity.”
Federal crop insurance is available only for certain enumerated agricultural commodities, such as wheat, cotton, flax, and corn. Historically, cannabis, marijuana, and/or hemp have not been included among those commodities. That is about to change, at least in part. The Act, known popularly as the 2018 Farm Bill (the Farm Bill), will amend the definition of “agricultural commodity.” Pursuant to Section 11119 of the Farm Bill, the term “hemp” will be added into 7 U.S.C. § 1518 (“‘Agricultural commodity’ defined”), right between “native grass” and “aquacultural species.”
While hemp will be added to the list of covered commodities, marijuana/cannabis more generally will not. The 2018 Farm Bill defines “hemp” to mean “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
The president is expected to sign the Farm Bill next week, which will result in a remarkable “win” for the U.S. hemp industry.
Then the question will become if and when marijuana/cannabis will also become eligible for federal crop insurance. The inclusion of marijuana/cannabis in the federal crop insurance program would yield a huge benefit to marijuana/cannabis growers throughout the United States. It would allow them to better round out their insurance coverage portfolio, which can be tricky to be piece together still today.