Let’s get political: Hemp laws
It’s time to do a thing that seems risky in the United States: talk about politics. Before you close your browser and try to forget that electoral politics exist (for sanity’s sake), take a few deep breaths and read these next words: I am not going to talk about the election or political parties. What we will be focusing on is the new administration’s policy regarding CBD and, to a lesser extent, cannabis in general.
Let’s start with a couple key points:
- First, before we begin, I think it is important to understand where we are now, as of February 2021, fifteen states and the District of Columbia have fully legalized cannabis and marijuana.
- Two of those states, South Dakota and Montana, have delayed voter-approved legalization with hearings in court and funding withdrawal, respectively.
- Federally, THC is illegal, while CBD and hemp-derived products (from the body of the plant, not the flower or seeds) are legal. This distinction will come into play later.
- States that have fully legalized cannabis and marijuana and twenty-seven states have legalized the medicinal use of cannabis.
So Is federal legalization on the way? Let’s take a look at the political environment surrounding cannabis.
The Potential Future of Cannabis Legislation
The stance of the current administration is positive. The vice president is from California, a state that recognizes marijuana as recreationally legal, and also regards other cannabis products as fully legal. As for the president, he has neither been a vocal advocate or opponent of federal-level legalization. It is important to note, however, that some of his appointees have track records that are favorable to cannabis: Assistant Secretary of HHS Dr. Rachel Levine and former California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to head HHS.
Not just the White House – Marijuana Reform Bills In Congress
One of the largest developments in news relating to federal-level legalization comes from Congress. Senate majority leader, Charles Schumer, has brought forth reform bills that seek to federally de-schedule marijuana, reinvest tax revenues from sales into communities, and expunge criminal records for possession. This bill, known as the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, passed in the House of Representatives last year, but failed to pass in the Senate.
It is likely that, given another vote, it would pass both houses. If it did so, not only would all cannabis and related products be federally legal (recreationally and otherwise), but research could be conducted in universities without the red tape that currently exists, banks could loan money to businesses eager in operating in the cannabis industry, and farming and shipping would become far easier as legal status at state level would no longer be a concern.
In addition to this, Schumer has also stressed the importance of making sure that the FDA does not overregulate the industry upon legalization, allowing businesses to operate without excessive government interference. It is unlikely that Biden would veto any of the above proposals if they were to make it to his desk.
USDA’s Final Rule on Hemp In limbo?
Upon entering office, the Biden administration put out a memo asking all federal agencies to “consider postponing” all rules that have not yet taken effect for 60 days. One of these rules is the USDA’s final rule on hemp, which largely affects harvesting, processing, and growing across the United States. Some of the regulations included within the USDA report are:
- an expanded harvest window time from 15 days to 30;
- alternative options for disposing of or remediating hemp that tests above the compliant THC level;
- an increased standard of negligence from 0.5% to 1% THC. This means hemp that tests above 0.3% but below 1% THC will not be considered a negligent violation, but it will still need to be disposed of or remediated.
It will take some time before consumers and farmers can know the regulations that will govern their industry, due to the postponing of rules such as these.
Hemp Laws: Where CBD stands (and why legalization of marijuana is in your best interest)
Fortunately, CBD is federally legal. Regulations and logistics can be complicated at times, but businesses can operate (and some thrive) so long as they follow regulations. But a lot of related industries (and research) are hindered by federal scheduling of cannabis and marijuana.
- Feel like CBD helps you with pain, but would like more information on why that is, medically? Federal scheduling of cannabis and marijuana places a lot of red tape around universities and institutions that want to use the substance for research purposes.
- Wish your CBD products were cheaper? Banks fear loaning money to farms and manufacturers that deal with cannabis due to federal policy, thus restricting business growth.
Rules and regulations governing cannabis in the United States seem to constantly change, especially in the past few years. We might even have federally legalized marijuana within the next year. Anything could happen. Here at Green Wellness, we will work to keep you updated and aware of all the major news and information that we believe you need to make healthy and informed decisions. As always, If you’d like to learn more or have additional questions, press the live chat button, call us at 866-244-4223 (M-F, 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., EST), fill out our online contact form, or visit our storefront if you’re local!