The Legal Status of Hemp in 2019

Hemp can naturally treat many chronic conditions without inducing addiction, a characteristic trait of many opioids. The demand for cannabidiol has grown exponentially in the past year, and with it, acceptance in several states across America, including Kentucky, California, and Colorado.

Despite all the political strides being made for CBD, the drug continues to remain under obscurity because every state has its own take on hemp. Not to mention the convoluted laws that are in direct conflict at both state and federal level. Due to the negative clout, many people are deterred from utilizing the benefits of hemp derived CBD, wondering if it is morally and politically legit.

There is no exact way to answer this question.

While it is true that all 50 states have legalized CBD, there are different situations which dictate legality. The thin line between legal and illegal is based on different factors that vary from state to state. The most crucial factor across all states is how CBD was derived: the hemp versus marijuana discussion.

The Difference Between Hemp versus Marijuana in the Context of CBD

Both marijuana and hemp share the same characteristics of the cannabis family, with the one crucial difference related to the amount of inherent psychoactive compounds that each plant produces.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component that is responsible for the high associated with cannabis, is illegal. While THC offers a number of benefits, all states restrict products that contain more than 0.3 percent of THC.

Marijuana is made up of 15 to 30 percent THC. Hemp conforms to the legal requirements of medically permissible CBD. In other words, the consumption of hemp oil or hemp-derived CBD will not make you feel high.

The purchase, possession, or sale of hemp CBD products is classified as legal across all 50 states because it only contains trace amounts of THC. Hemp derived CBD enjoys the same right as any other legal product. North Carolina’s Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services has its own take on the whole debate, and their website can be found here.

States Where CBD Is Legal For Recreational use

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) still federally classifies marijuana, hemp, and its derivatives as a Schedule 1 drug. Each state enforces its own laws when it comes to marijuana, and not knowing and conforming to your state’s marijuana laws could get you in trouble.

10 states in America have legalized marijuana both recreationally and medically. These 10 states are as follows:

  1. Nevada
  2. Oregon
  3. Alaska
  4. Colorado
  5. California
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Maine
  8. Michigan
  9. Washington
  10. Vermont

Michigan has been the most recent among the states to legalize marijuana after state voters made the abrupt changes in the 2018 midterm elections. All states require carriers to be at least 21 years old and only possess one ounce of marijuana at a time.

States Where Medical Marijuana Is Legal

In total, there are a total of 23 states (including the above list) that have legalized medical marijuana only. The list is as follow:

  1. Arkansas
  2. Arizona
  3. Delaware
  4. Connecticut
  5. Hawaii
  6. Florida
  7. Maryland
  8. Louisiana
  9. Minnesota
  10. Illinois
  11. New Hampshire
  12. Montana
  13. Missouri
  14. North Dakota
  15. New Jersey
  16. New Mexico
  17. Ohio
  18. Pennsylvania
  19. Oklahoma
  20. Utah
  21. Rhode Island
  22. West Virginia
  23. New York

For now, it seems it’s a matter of when, and not if, the federal government will change its ruling for marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug. Attorney general Jeff Sessions has been quoted to have said, “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” 

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