The passing of the 2018 Farm Bill into law ultimately removed hemp from the list of controlled substance in the Controlled Substances Act. Needless to say, this seemingly simple change birthed an entire new market, with the hemp industry booming in all corners of the nation. Oregon state is one of the many that submitted their own hemp farming program in the hope of reaping the opportunities that the agricultural commodity promises. Today, Oregon is home to some 50,000 acres of hemp farms.
But while we celebrate the legality of hemp and the opportunities it provides to those interested in taking part in the industry, there are gray areas throughout the legislation that blur out the lines between what’s legal and what’s not. So where do we really stand? Here’s everything you need to know about the legality of hemp flower in Oregon state.
Why was hemp banned in the first place, and what made it legal again? It all rests on a chemical compound called delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol or simply, THC. Found in marijuana, THC is what causes the psychoactive effects associated with the marijuana herb. This is what pushed legislators to ban marijuana and hemp assuming that both varieties came with THC. But that’s not actually the case.
Both marijuana and hemp are taken from the Cannabis sativa L. plant, but differences in the growing process between these two varieties birthed changes in their chemistry. The result is that marijuana contains higher concentrations of THC, while hemp only contains traces. So, in effect, hemp doesn’t have any psychoactive results.
To make that clear, the 2018 Farm Bill defines hemp as any part of the plant Cannabis sativa L. whether growing or not, including all of its parts and extracts, that contain no more than 0.3% THC. Any sample that exceeds that amount will be considered marijuana, and by law, will have to be destroyed and discarded.
Much like the rest of the country, Oregon is home to countless retail outlets that sell hemp and CBD. Some are specialty stores that sell just CBD products and hemp, others are a lot less posh and sophisticated, like gasoline stations, salons, pharmacies, and even retail outlets. With that, it’s not really a question of where to find CBD as it is who to buy from.
If you’re looking for quality products, a specialty store should be a far better choice. Often teeming with various types of CBD products and other hemp-derived formulations, these shops are also likely to have informative personnel that can help you choose the right product for your needs. Then again, there’s also the internet, which is home to hundreds of CBD product retailers.
Since the 2018 Farm Bill was enacted, the online sale of hemp has become far freer. This is because as a viable agricultural commodity, hemp is no longer a controlled substance, therefore allowing the free movement of hemp products across state borders.
Check the available products in any Oregon-based CBD specialty store, and you’re bound to find every kind of CBD product imaginable. Of course, there’s the smokables – the raw flower, vape oils, cigarettes, and pre-rolls. But there is also a wide array of other products, including topical creams and lotions, skincare products and cosmetics, and even edibles. And while all of these are available to purchase in Oregon stores, that doesn’t mean they’re all legal.
On the contrary, edible CBD infused products remain illegal throughout the country, but it definitely doesn’t seem that way. The main reason is because the FDA has yet to approve CBD as a food additive, so any food or beverage products and supplements that incorporate CBD are not approved for human consumption by the FDA. So technically, they shouldn’t be legal.
However, the legal gray area has caused quite some confusion among legislators and law enforcement, especially because most states don’t have any regulations that restrict the sale and purchase of these products. And that includes Oregon. So yes, while the vast array of CBD products you’ll find can be purchased and used within the state, that doesn’t mean they’re completely legal.
The obvious answer would be yes, you should be able to use hemp in public in Oregon because it isn’t included in the list of controlled substances. But the lack of a field test for identifying hemp might make the public use of hemp a bit of a problem. The issue lies in the fact that hemp and marijuana are immensely similar in look and smell. So, at a glance, it would be impossible to distinguish one from the other.
Now it’s easier to see the problem from a law enforcement officer’s point of view. If you’re found smoking hemp in public, what measures could an officer take to guarantee that what you’re using isn’t marijuana? Presently, the absence of any technology that measures THC instantly puts limits on the freedom of those who use hemp.
With time and the development of instant THC detection tools, it may be possible for users to freely use hemp in public spaces. But for now, it might be better to consider alternative forms like vape oils and topical solutions to avoid any inconvenience when you’re out and about.
No. Only licensed growers are allowed to farm hemp in the state of Oregon. Some might say that’s a little restrictive, especially since hemp has been removed as a Schedule 1 drug. But there’s more to it than just the legality of hemp. Remember that slight changes in the growing process can cause a spike in THC content. That’s why governments seek to license growers so they can monitor the farms and test the harvests before they’re sent to processing.
The problem with a backyard garden is that it might be impossible to regulate. So, if a home grower ends up with a harvest exceeding 0.3% THC, then the resulting growth would be considered marijuana and thus illegal to use, possess, and sell unless with the proper medical marijuana licenses.
People interested in becoming hemp farmers in Oregon have the option to apply for a license. These can be acquired through the Oregon Department of Agriculture. On top of a fee, applicants are also required to have at least 2.5 acres to grow their crops. For these reasons, growing hemp in Oregon might be attainable only for medium to large sized enterprises with substantial capital to spend.
Home to some tens of thousands of acres of hemp farms, Oregon is definitely taking advantage of the promises of the hemp trade. But there’s room for improvement if they want to maximize the opportunities for buyers, sellers, growers, and processors. For the most part, the lack of a field test for THC content and the uncertainty of CBD edibles might cause some confusion among buyers. But with time, we’re hopeful that hemp flower laws in Oregon will soon gleam with brand new clarity.
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