After the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the industrial farming of hemp for commercial purposes, the state of Michigan passed their own Michigan Industrial Hemp Research and Development Act. This program provides regulations and licensing for hemp farmers interested in joining the hemp industry in Michigan. Since it was signed and enacted, Michigan’s pilot program granted 564 grower licenses and 423 processor licenses, jump starting the hemp market in the state.
Today, Michigan’s hemp market is booming, but that doesn’t mean it’s a free for all. What’s legal and what isn’t in the thriving Michigan hemp industry? Find out everything you need to know about hemp in Michigan with this complete guide.
For the most part, Michigan takes cues from the federal law to determine what hemp is. According to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is any part of the Cannabis sativa L. plant including its derivatives, whether or growing or not, that contains no more than 0.3% of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Why regulate this specific compound? In marijuana, this chemical compound is what causes the psychoactive effects that the herb is known for, and is essentially what makes it illegal.
Since both hemp and marijuana come from the same plant, the ultimate delineating factor is their THC content. Separated by this chemical compound, hemp and marijuana are thus recognized as two separate herbs, which is what led to the re-legalization of hemp in the first place. For local governments, THC is essentially the focal point of regulation efforts, and is determined on a per batch basis by testing samples of the grown hemp before harvest to determine whether it’s suitable for processing.
Much like other states, the hemp market in Michigan is vast and wide. Walk into almost any hair salon, gas station, video store, or even a major retail outlet, and you’re bound to find some sort of hemp-derived product. Of course as a buyer, that might seem like a world teeming with opportunities. But there’s far more to buying hemp than simply scanning through a world’s worth of options.
The unregulated underbelly of the hemp market where products accumulate to be sold can be overwhelming at best. There are tons of brand new start-ups out there hoping to break into the scene with new product and ‘improved’ formulations. But you have to be careful who you believe.
Processing facilities are just as pivotal as the farmers themselves, and quality CBD relies on the processes enacted by these licensed entities. If you’re looking to buy premium hemp or CBD products, make sure you do your research. Aside from buying only from reputable brick-and-mortars, try to scan the selection online. Read up about brands and find out more about how and where they get their raw hemp to determine whether the quality is right on the money.
Anything and everything hemp-derived can be sold under the Michigan sun. Some of the most popular include smokable hemp like raw flower, pre-rolls, cigarettes, and cigars. Others are intended for personal care like soaps, bath bombs, shampoos, lotions, and skincare products. Then of course there are the edibles, ranging from gummies, to capsules, tinctures, oils, coffee, and even tea. For your beloved pets, countless processors also produce CBD pet care products like shampoo and supplements.
But just because these products are available, doesn’t mean everyone can buy them. According to the Michigan State, CBD-infused food and drink products are still pretty much illegal, and that includes CBD oil. The only people allowed to buy these products are medical marijuana users. The rest of the population will have to sit and wait until the state legalizes the use of CBD in edibles.
For now, Michigan locals can enjoy hemp and CBD in variety of other ways, including the traditional smokables, skincare products, topical solutions, and others that aren’t infused in some sort of food item. If you’re willing to meet halfway, hemp seed oil is considered a viable food item and may be added to food and beverage products without running in to the law.
Fortunately for Michiganders, the state isn’t one of the few that bans the purchase and sale of hemp flower. So it’s possible to be in possession of raw hemp flower without having to worry about legalities. Or is it? While hemp is completely legal in the state, there are some considerations you may want to think about before you step out into the public with pockets full of hemp.
Recreational marijuana is still considered a controlled substance, and because it looks and smells exactly like hemp, anyone caught in possession of hemp might be put in a sticky situation. Basically, law enforcement officials have no way of telling hemp and marijuana apart by visual comparison alone. And because lab tests for THC can take weeks to complete, whatever sample you have in your possession might be confiscated and you might be charged with a misdemeanor until the sample is proven to be hemp.
To spare yourself the trouble, avoid bringing raw hemp flower with you when you’re out and about. If you need a dose of CBD when you’re away from home, consider alternate forms like vape oil or topical solutions so you can enjoy the benefits of hemp without the unnecessary legal run-in.
Wouldn’t it be a total dream come true to be able to grow hemp at home? Well, right now, that will have to remain a dream in the state of Michigan. As per the state’s law, individuals can only grow hemp if they possess a license to do so, as granted by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Application forms can be found on the MDARD’s website, as well as a wealth of other resources for interested applicants.
On top of the requirements, each applicant is required to pay a $100 processing fee to deliberate whether or not they would be a viable candidate for the program. Once approved, the license itself costs $1,350 as an up-front payment. Annual renewal of licensing is required by law in order to regulate the operations of each accredited farmer. Similarly, hemp processors are also required to acquire a license in order to manufacture hemp products and transact with raw hemp wholesalers.
As one of the states that doesn’t allow edible CBD products, Michigan is just a few steps behind other jurisdictions that give their buyers and sellers slightly more freedom. For the most part, Michigan does have the prerogative to put its own laws into motion in order to legalize edible hemp, but it seems that the state is awaiting further cues from the FDA.
For local sellers, that means slimming down their selection of products while awaiting the go signal to incorporate CBD into food and beverage items. For now though, buyers can still find the products out of state. Fortunately with the 2018 Farm Act, shipping and mailing hemp products of all kinds – including CBD – remains a viable loophole.
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