All across the country, state-level legislation has been the hinge on which the future of local industrial hemp and CBD markets have turned.
Federal rules have been slow coming, but despite mixed signals and even misbegotten arrests of those in the hemp and CBD industry, some state governments have made way for the wonder crop on their own.
The same can be said for Virginia, where Gov. Ralph Northam recently signed S.B. 918, a measure that will reclassify CBD and hemp supplements as food products.
Industrial hemp can be used for textiles, building materials and a range of other products, but it is definitely most popular for its use in manufacturing cannabidiol, or CBD.
People love taking CBD for their anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, inflammation, arthritis and a number of other problems.
Since 2018’s federal legalization of hemp, states have scurried to regulate, tax and encourage canna-businesses. Businesses have also waited for clarity so they could get to work with confidence and security.
Still, the Food and Drug Administration has been slow to adopt new guidelines and lawmakers have increasingly viewed it as their role to fill the gap.
“If the FDA does not start approving CBD products people are going to take them without regulation,” Kyle Shreve of the Virginia Agribusiness Council told the Washington Post. “That’s what the bill says, we are going to treat them like they are approved by the FDA so we can start regulating them.” 
National proponents of legislation that would reclassify hemp and CBD as nutritional supplements have also at times felt frustration in a legislative session that has been far from normal in Washington, D.C.
For those struggling in uncertain times and amid political pressures concerning their businesses, the passage of the new Virginia law will certainly come as a relief.
“It gives validity to the CBD industry,” Hemp Farmer Charlotte Wright told the Washington Post. “Right now, there is no testing required, no labeling, you have no idea what is in it. It’s like the Wild West.” 
Virginia is not the only southern state which has grown more dependent on the expanding hemp market.
Georgia recently received Agriculture Department approval for its state-level growing programs, and it another souther states are using hemp as a way to shift agricultural production away from tobacco. 
Hemp production requires many of the same fields and drying facilities formerly used to manufacture tobacco products, and as smoking takes a dive in America, hemp may just offer a life raft for farmers in a new and sometimes frightening situation.