"Industrial hemp is an agricultural commodity that is cultivated for use in the production of a wide range of products, including foods and beverages, cosmetics and personal care products, nutritional supplements, fabrics and textiles, yarns and spun fibers, paper, construction and insulation materials, and other manufactured goods. Hemp can be grown as a fiber, seed, or other dual-purpose crop. However, hemp is also from the same species of plant, 'Cannabis sativa,' as marijuana. As a result, production in the United States is restricted due to hemp's association with marijuana, and the U.S. market is largely dependent on imports, both as finished hemp-containing products and as ingredients for use in further processing (mostly from Canada and China). Current industry estimates report U.S. hemp sales at nearly $600 million annually. […] Congress has continued to introduce legislation to further advance industrial hemp and could further address these concerns in the next farm bill. Legislation introduced in the House, as part of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act-first introduced in the 109th Congress-would amend the CSA to specify that the term 'marijuana' does not include industrial hemp. A Senate companion bill was introduced in the 114th Congress. In addition, in the 114th Congress, bills were introduced in both the House and the Senate that would amend the CSA 'to exclude cannabidiol and cannabidiol-rich plants from the definition of marihuana intended to promote the possible medical applications of industrial hemp. These bills may be reintroduced in the 115th Congress."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32725
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html