When marijuana was banned in 1937, lawmakers also unknowingly tossed hemp into the same category. The reason is because during those times, hemp and marijuana were believed to be the same thing since they were both taken from the cannabis plant. As time went on however and research into hemp and marijuana expanded, it became obvious that they weren’t as identical as they were initially thought to be.
That’s why in 2018, the Agriculture Improvement Act removed hemp from the country’s list of controlled substances, making it legal across the entire United States. But even then, certain states with stringent marijuana laws recommend some restrictions as they try to figure out how to marry hemp freedom and marijuana law implementation. One of those states is Montana.
All parts of the cannabis plant – as long as they qualify as hemp – are legal across the entire country. According to the 2018 Farm Bill, that means that it should contain no more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC which is the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis.
Any part of the cannabis plant found to contain more than 0.3% THC is considered marijuana. In essence, THC is the only factor that distinguishes marijuana from hemp and nothing more. So unless you send a sample to a lab for testing, there is no way to accurately tell the two herbs apart, aside of course from the fact that if it were marijuana, it would cause the experience of a high.
In Montana, marijuana is illegal and its possession, use, sale, and cultivation are considered a criminal offense. So, you see how that could pose a problem for individuals using raw hemp flower in public spaces.
Law enforcement officers in Montana struggle to uphold marijuana law because of the herb’s close resemblance to hemp. So before any arrests can be made, they first need to confiscate samples to send them to a lab for testing. It’s only after the results are received that they can then apprehend any marijuana law offenders.
With all of that considered, it might be ideal to just keep your raw hemp flower at home until the local government can figure out a way to differentiate hemp and marijuana. After all, the entire range of other hemp infused and derived products are available and free to use throughout the state.
All across the state – and the rest of the country for that matter – hemp edibles are pretty much available at every turn. Even online, edibles make up a large chunk of vendors’ sales. These products are shipped across borders without any issues, and they’re available at convenience stores, gas stations, and farmer’s markets, to name a few.
But for as popular and widespread as edibles might be, that doesn’t mean they’re legal. The FDA stays firm on in stance that hemp extracts aren’t approved as food additives. All other forms of hemp – including capsules and oils – are not approved, and are therefore not legal.
Nonetheless, these products are widely available, and stores offering them do so without any penalties from law enforcement. That said, you can still order edibles online or buy them through physical stores without having to worry about any issues with the authorities.
The state of Montana has some of the strictest marijuana laws, and it’s important to consider that if you ever think of growing your own hemp. Although the state does allow individuals to grow the commodity with a license, ordinary citizens are told to avoid growing their own hemp at home.
That’s because errors in the cultivation process could potentially increase THC levels and yield marijuana instead of hemp. And because marijuana is illegal in Montana, locals are told to just buy hemp from trusted vendors instead of dabbling in cultivation.
Hemp is legal across the country, including Montana, but some of their marijuana laws might encroach on certain freedoms – like smoking hemp in public spaces and growing your own stash at home. Nonetheless, Montana locals can still get their hands on various hemp products without a fuss, allowing individuals to explore and enjoy the herb with little restrictions.