The December passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, or the Farm Bill, has resulted in several publications speculating about the effects of the bill’s legalization of industrial hemp on the cannabidiol (CBD) market. The law, which removed “hemp” from the definition of “marijuana” in the Controlled Substances Act, may “make CBD production legal and cheaper,” according to Forbes, while MarketWatch explains that CBD “will remain largely off-limits” in the near future. Rolling Stone predicts that CBD is “poised for [a] boom,” while Vox suggests that “CBD is bound to become even more visible,” although “[i]ts legal status remains unclear.” Fortune notes that cultivating hemp will be legal but heavily regulated, and the shutdown of the federal government has delayed cultivation approvals during the period when farmers are planning crop rotations and sourcing seeds for 2019, according to PBS NewsHour.

Meanwhile, California legislation banning the use of CBD in alcohol beverages took effect January 1, 2019. The law prohibits licensed alcohol distributors from selling, offering or providing “a cannabis product that is an alcoholic beverage, including, but not limited to, an infusion of cannabis or cannabinoids derived from industrial hemp into an alcoholic beverage.”

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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