With a number of states throughout the US legalizing recreational and medical cannabis consumption, the lack of regulations surrounding constituents of the plant has made it extremely difficult to understand what’s legal and what’s not. Even if you do not live in a legalized state, you’ve probably noticed Hemp products popping up left and right. But, why does the cannabinoid seem to be floating around in the grey area?
As there’s no current regulatory framework, trying to understand the legality of Hemp has been quite a headache, to say the least, which has left many in the dark. Given the fact that the cannabinoid derives mainly from hemp plants — which are non-psychoactive — the surrounding controversy is quite confusing.
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On a federal level, selling Hemp is still in a gray area. But, growing and manufacturing hemp-derived Hemp products isn’t, as of recently. Back in 2018, the Farm Bill was passed, legalizing the cultivation of the hemp plant for growers. However, this bill has strict measures.
When growing hemp, cultivators cannot have their plants contain more than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). A plant that ranks a higher percentage than this, is technically considered marijuana and no longer legal under federal law. With this in mind, hemp manufacturers have to be extremely careful in growing their cannabis plants, as having a plant turn from hemp to marijuana is more common than you’d think.
The federal legality surrounding the sale of Hemp is even more confusing. As was mentioned, the production of hemp-derived Hemp is legal under federal law, but selling the product has stringent stipulations. Unfortunately, even if you follow every rule and regulation carefully, states themselves still have the power to dictate what’s legal and what’s not, making selling the cannabinoid a touch challenging no matter where you reside.
As for state law, currently, only 11 states have legalized recreational marijuana and only three have yet to recognize the legality of cannabis’ Hemp. If you live in a state that has permitted the consumption of Hemp, products are quite abundant and easily accessible. However, despite the passing of the Farm Bill and other legal factors, some states continue to regulate the sale and transportation of Hemp products.
In states like New York and California, selling food or beverages that contain Hemp is a punishable offense. Meanwhile, states like Missouri pass laws allowing Hemp to be added in alcohol, and Colorado currently permits the sale of food that contains any part of the hemp plant. With significant power given to states individually, it makes the legal status of Hemp unnecessarily confusing. Essentially, the regulation of Hemp is entirely in the hands of the state you live in.
When it comes to selling or purchasing Hemp, you must be aware of the legal status surrounding the compound in your state specifically. Regardless of federal law, the state’s rights take precedence and have the power to determine criminalization. While the laws surrounding the cannabinoid may be confusing and often feel contradictory, cannabis itself is a complicated plant that we’re working towards understanding better every day.