No matter how you feel about marijuana laws in America, you probably understand that the substance is widely prohibited due to its high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which can cause psychological affects in its users. You probably also know that proponents of marijuana use believe the positive effects of the plant’s naturally occurring cannabidiols (CBDs) far outweigh the supposed dangers of THC. Why is it, then, that hemp – another species of cannabis – is outlawed in so many states, despite it having high concentrations of CBD and trace amounts of THC?
The answer likely stems from when the substance was first prohibited during the Nixon Administration. Hemp was known to be a close relative to marijuana; whether it was “dangerous” or not was unclear, so it was banned alongside other forms of cannabis. Due to studies, research, and worldwide use, it is now evident that hemp has its commercial uses and is arguably completely safe.
Some uses for hemp include:
- Medicinal tinctures for seizures and liver health
- Cordage (making rope)
- Insulation in vehicles
- Animal bedding and feed
- Clothing material
In fact, a federal mandate years ago actually permitted the growth and cultivation of hemp in 14 states. The aim was to see if it had commercial viability, which the study concluded it had. Because hemp has tens of thousands of medical, industrial, and practical uses without the psychoactive effects of marijuana, many have argued that it should be legalized and put to good use.
Is There a Legislation Change on the Horizon?
Believe it or not, there have already been changes to hemp law in America. Federal legislation decriminalized the plant after it was determined to have commercial use and no side-effects if consumed. This does not translate to state decriminalization, though, and each individual state has to pass its own legislation to legalize the cultivation and use of hemp. Currently, only Colorado permits hemp producers to grow the plant; however, the fact that selling their products to other states through the internet is still illegal has put much stress on these businesses.
Legislators in Pennsylvania have recognized the potential for the hemp industry to flourish if it is decriminalized. House Bill 967 – circulating Congress right now – aims to remove the prohibitive regulations on hemp, allowing people with certain permits to grow it. The plant will not be subjected to the same regulations that are applied to other forms of cannabis. As of the time of this report, House Bill 967 has most recently been “tabled”, meaning it is postponed, so the future of the bill is unclear. If it passes, however, hemp would not be subject to the same regulations as decriminalized cannabis.
If you would like to know more about hemp law as this bill continues through Congress, visit our blog frequently for news updates. For advice or representation concerning the commercial or personal use of medical hemp in Pennsylvania, contact our Philadelphia hemp attorneys at Sacks Weston LLC today.