There has been an increase of 1,500% in CBD sales since 2014. This is mainly due to the removal of CBD Flower from the Schedule I controlled substance list in 2018. Making CBD flower legal. No longer defined as marijuana, experts expect sales of CBD and CBD flower to topple the $100 million mark by 2022.
Is Hemp Flower Legal?
If you are curious to try hemp flower you may be wondering if it is legal. Yes, but it took decades to get it to where it is today. Many laws and regulations have been put into place to make hemp legalized.
The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the United States’ controlled substance list and made it federally legal to grow. Even so, laws surrounding hemp can vary from state to state and farmers are subject to their locality’s laws.
The Farm Bill legalized hemp and extended the protections awarded to hemp research by recognizing its importance, the opportunities derived from the hemp flower, and acknowledged that more should be done to ensure hemp remains a stable agricultural commodity. This law highly regulates the hemp flower crop and doesn’t allow the free growth awarded to other crops like corn and wheat.
As of late 2019, hemp production is legal in 46 states, with restrictions. The Agriculture Improvement Act or Farm Bill of 2018 also legalized the transfer and possession of hemp products across state lines. However, farmers must comply with the hemp production plan set forth by their state, tribe, or the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
As a result of the new legality of hemp production, the hemp industry in the US is booming. Many economists expect it to become a multi-billion-dollar industry very shortly.
The law requires all hemp farmers to receive a license from an authorized state, tribal, or USDA hemp program. Those convicted of a controlled substance-related felony in the last ten years are ineligible for licensure. Additionally, all licensed hemp farmers must report their crop acreage to the Farm Service Agency to give USDA and its stakeholders a better idea of the amount of hemp planted and grown in the U.S.
Under the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and hemp flower become illegal marijuana, or non-hemp cannabis, when the THC content exceeds 0.3%.
Similar to the health insurance marketplace and OSHA, this legislation calls for shared regulatory power between the states and the federal government. Requirements include the consultation of each state department of agriculture with the state’s governor and chief law enforcement officer to devise and submit a plan to the Secretary of the USDA for licensing and regulatory approval.
The USDA oversees any hemp cultivators in states without an approved plan. This law outlines violations that go beyond THC levels and their severity, as well as possible punishments for offenders and re-offenders, and pathways to compliance.
What is CBD Flower?
Hemp and marijuana come from Cannabis sativa. To avoid the intoxicating effects that often impair marijuana users, farmers cultivate strains of CBD flowers that contain less than .3% of Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. For research purposes, CBD was separated from marijuana and classified as industrial hemp. CBD flower is the dried bud of the plant.
CBD Oil vs. CBD Flower
When people discuss the hemp flower, they are referring to the bud of the female hemp plant. When the hemp flower reaches full bloom, cannabinoids and resin are secreted. The hemp flower does this to attract pollen from the males so that seeds can be produced. Specially bred seedless plants produce higher CBD and lower THC, while plants with seeds have higher THC. The THC level determines the legality of the crop.
CBD comes in two forms, which include oil and flower.
- CBD Oil – To create both isolate and full-spectrum CBD oil, farmers extract and concentrate the CBD from the hemp plant. A common form of CBD that can be taken any time of day and is a discreet way to reap the wellness support that hemp offers.
- CBD Flower – To create a CBD flower, the plant gets dried, trimmed, and processed. Most commonly smoked and enjoyed by those who are trying to wing off of traditional cigarettes.
Hemp vs. Marijuana
Although hemp and marijuana are both strains of the cannabis Sativa plant species, they are grown for radically different purposes. Marijuana is grown to have a high THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content. THC is a psychoactive compound that is responsible for the “high” feeling many people experience when they use marijuana.
Hemp, on the other hand, has minimal levels of THC and higher concentrations of cannabidiol, or CBD. For a product to be legally classified as hemp, it must contain less than .03% THC. Hemp has a myriad of uses, as well. It can be used to make fabrics, shampoo, jewelry, and more. At the moment, one of the most popular hemp products on the market is CBD oil.
CBD vs. THC
THC and CBD both come from the chemical family known as cannabinoids. The difference between the two is how the atoms are arranged. These distinctions are what account for the differing effects on your body.
THC binds with receptors in your brain and produce a high or sense of euphoria. The bind between CBD and these receptors is much weaker, and CBD often interferes with the binding of THC and dampens the psychoactive effects.
Federal CBD Flower Legal Laws
When interstate commerce is involved The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act prohibits adding any drugs, approved or otherwise, to human or animal food. Therefore, at a national level, CBD in food and drink is illegal.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and hemp-derived CBD products that contain less than 0.3 percent THC. However, marijuana-derived CBD products remain illegal on the federal level because CBD comes from the cannabis plant.
State CBD Laws
Is it legal to buy and sell hemp flowers in your state? The laws surrounding the hemp flower industry in the United States can seem so complicated. However, these laws are not as complicated as they once seemed. Recent years have ushered in new legislation and scientific research that has resulted in hemp being celebrated and valued.
Over 40 states have legalized commercial hemp. However, there are still some areas across the nation that have completely banned CBD products. These include:
- New Hampshire
- South Dakota
- District of Columbia
Eight other states have murky hemp laws that allow some hemp production but prohibit the use of hemp-derived products, including CBD flower. These states include:
To ensure your safety, and the efficacy of the products you purchase, use a dispensary or thoroughly vet your retailer and your flower when buying CBD or CBD flower.
Hemp History Timeline
Hemp has a long history and is worth noting, as it will help you understand the industry a bit better.
Since the early 1900s, the hemp industry has had restrictions placed upon it. For many years, federal law did not distinguish hemp from other cannabis plants. In 1937, all cannabis plants were essentially outlawed under the Marihuana Tax Act. Under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, cannabis of any kind was formally made illegal. Many people believe that these laws were enacted partially due to misunderstandings surrounding hemp flower and its status within the cannabis plant family. With new knowledge surrounding hemp flower and hemp products, Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized industrial hemp and removed it from the controlled substance list.
Check out the timeline below to get a better understanding.
Hemp and Other Crops
The 2018 Farm Bill enabled hemp to be treated like other agricultural commodities. Under the new provisions, hemp farmers are offered protections under the Federal Crop Insurance Act similar to those of mainstream crops. These provisions assist farmers who face crop losses during the typical course of agricultural production. These protections will be necessary as the climate around the hemp flower changes.
Updates To The 2018 Farm Bill
The 2019 update added several federal crop samplings and testing provisions, including:
- The Drug Enforcement Administration must carry out crop testing in a registered laboratory.
- Whether conducted by a federal, state, or local law enforcement, testing must be done 15 days before harvest
The 15 days is essential because THC concentration tends to increase as the hemp plants mature. Therefore, the threshold of a crop could rise above the allowed limit if the testing isn’t completed early enough during those 15 days.
However, ambiguity still exists because the law doesn’t specify if the testing must commence at the beginning or the end of the harvest. This is important because some farmers take multiple days to harvest their crops.
The 2019 update to the previous year’s farm bill allowed for submission of state and tribal alternative testing protocols for consideration of comparable, reliable results. These plans must include:
- Hemp growth land tracking
- THC concentration level testing
- Disposal of non-compliant plants
- Plans to comply with violation handling and farm inspections information sharing with law enforcement
The 2019 update to the 2018 Farm Act made hemp production legal in 46 states. It also allowed the remaining states of Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, and South Dakota to continue their bans on the crop’s production within their borders. However, no state or Indian tribe can restrict hemp transportation within its borders. This provision gives hemp flower farmers access to national markets.
Even with all the new law changes, the banking industry remains hesitant to enter the hemp flower market. This makes obtaining financing and utilizing other financial services difficult for those that produce hemp.