The 2018 Farm Bill ushered in a brand new market, allowing farmers and business owners to offer hemp without the legal repercussions. This was made possible by the law’s move to unlisted hemp from the country’s roster of controlled substances, thereby making it a completely different herb from marijuana.
On the other hand, there are some kinks in the way that the law is implemented on the ground. For instance, some states aren’t ready to allow its citizens to use raw hemp flower in public spaces for its close resemblance to marijuana. But in Alaska, that might not be too big of a problem.
While hemp and marijuana are now recognized as two completely different herbs, there are still overlaps in the law that govern both commodities. That’s mostly because of how closely they resemble each other not only in how they look, but also in how they smell.
According to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is any part of the cannabis plant that contains 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. This compound is a naturally occurring part of the cannabis plant’s chemistry, and it’s what causes the feeling of a high associated with marijuana. That said, any part of the cannabis plant with a THC concentration of more than 0.3% is legally considered marijuana.
There is nothing else that differentiates marijuana from hemp, so unless a sample is sent to a lab for testing, there’s no way to tell if it’s one or the other. This is why many states that ban marijuana struggle to cope with hemp legalization. With many of their citizens using hemp flower in public spaces, it becomes difficult to apprehend marijuana law offenders.
In the state of Alaska however, that’s not too much of a problem. The state legalized marijuana several years back, so even recreational users can enjoy the herb in public spaces. That said, there’s no need to watch out for confusion between marijuana and hemp since authorities have no reason to apprehend marijuana users.
Even since hemp was legalized, edibles became a big part of the market. Offering hemp and CBD in easy to consume, enjoyable forms, edibles unsurprisingly took the market by storm. These days, you can buy them pretty much anywhere, from convenience stores to gas stations.
The online presence for hemp edibles is also equally astounding. Making up a majority of the sales for online vendors, edibles come in an overwhelming variety. These include everything from the ever popular gummies, to more obscure choices like energy shots, protein powder, and even bottled water.
Despite their widespread availability however, hemp edibles aren’t legal. The FDA released a memo stating that hemp extracts are not approved for use as food additives. They’re also not approved as health supplements so even oils and capsules shouldn’t be legal.
So why are they so widely available? Despite being illegal, these products don’t seem to be piquing the interest of law enforcement. Which means you can still buy them through physical stores or online and have them shipped across borders without having to worry about triggering the authorities.
Yes, you can, but within certain limits. The reason for this is the law that governs the growth of marijuana for personal use. Remember that marijuana and hemp come from the same plant. Which means that an at-home farmer might harvest cannabis that’s above the 0.3% THC threshold for hemp, legally identifying the yield as marijuana.
Since you’re not going to submit your homegrown hemp for testing, it helps to stay on the safe side of the law in case your harvest clocks in more THC than what’s designated for hemp. That said, keeping a maximum of 12 plants on your property can help you avoid any run-ins with the law in case your cannabis turns out to be marijuana instead.
Alaskan natives enjoy slightly more freedom when it comes to the use and cultivation of hemp, since they have much more forgiving marijuana laws. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to observe regulations and restrictions like keeping homegrown cannabis plants to a certain limit. But other than that, locals in Alaska enjoy more privileges than the individuals living in various other states.