In 1937, marijuana was tagged a controlled substance for its psychoactive properties that alter mental state and cause the feeling of a high. And because its brother hemp was known to come from the same mother plant as marijuana, it too was tossed in with the rest of the country’s controlled substances.
It was with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill that the hemp herb finally got the vindication it deserved. Today, it represents one of the fastest growing economies in the United States, but of course, different jurisdictions have their own distinct stipulations in place to safeguard both hemp and marijuana law implementation.
To be perfectly clear, hemp is legal. That means it’s not a controlled substance, and that you should be able to consume it just like your average cup of coffee without running in with authorities. But the reason why people have to ask whether you can smoke hemp flower is because of the close relationship and resemblance between hemp and marijuana.
Both these herbs come from the Cannabis sativa plant. But through tweaked cultivation methods, the herbs deliver different experiences. The marijuana variety comes with high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which is the main psychoactive compound in the plant’s chemistry.
This is the reason why marijuana can make you feel ‘high’. On the other hand, hemp is cultivated to minimize the presence of THC, which means you can get the same benefits as marijuana without having to experience the altered mental state. Other than this, the two herbs are completely the same in all other aspects.
That also includes the way they look and smell. And this is where enforcing the law becomes tricky. In the State of Connecticut, recreational marijuana isn’t legalized, although it is decriminalized. That means that offenders will still have to pay fines if caught in possession.
And because hemp and marijuana look so much alike, law enforcement agencies struggle to tell the two apart. So, if you were a hemp enthusiast, it might be better off to keep your raw flower at home for personal, private use instead of flaunting it around town. This should prevent any unwanted run-ins with authorities that could get your stash confiscated for testing.
Some of the most popular hemp products are edibles. Available in a range of choices, edibles are versatile, fun, and of course, pleasing to the palate, which offers low tolerance users a better way to experience the benefits of hemp in a way that doesn’t attack the taste buds.
But while the broad selection of hemp edibles grows ever broader, its legality remains in question. In fact, the FDA has stated that hemp extracts are not approved as food additives. Which means that products can’t incorporate hemp extracts into any food or beverage since the FDA hasn’t approved it for either safety or efficacy.
However, while that might be the stipulation on paper, the situation on the ground is completely different. Hemp edibles are available almost everywhere and are even shipped across the country through USPS. And this absence of regulation goes to show that the FDA might soon loosen up its laws on the status of hemp edibles to make them legal nationwide.
Although hemp is a legal commodity, there’s the issue of THC. Individuals without the proper technical skill in cannabis cultivation might not be able to meet the plant’s needs in order to minimize the presence of THC. Improper growing techniques can teeter hemp over 0.3% THC, thus making it marijuana.
That’s why the state only allows individuals with a license to cultivate hemp. Any plants grown in the absence of a license will be immediately considered marijuana. And based on the law, although marijuana is decriminalized, offenders can be subject to steep fines that increase with repeat offenses.
Although hemp is a legal agricultural commodity, overlaps with marijuana law make it tough to fully appreciate its freedom. Nonetheless, in states like Connecticut individuals can fully enjoy the hemp through a wide selection of products, including everything from edibles to hemp flower. Just make sure you keep the raw stuff safe at home, and you should be in the clear.