New Farm Bill Amendment Aims to Clamp Down on Sneaky Hemp Loophole

A recent amendment to the Farm Bill has the hemp and marijuana industries divided, as lawmakers aim to close a loophole that allowed for certain hemp-derived products – particularly those high in delta-8 THC – to be sold without regulation. Delta-8 THC has a similar effect to the more commonly known delta-9 THC, which is found in marijuana.

Exploring the Loophole

Under the federal law, hemp was defined as any part of the Cannabis sativa L. plant, including the plant’s seeds and all derivatives, extracts, and cannabinoids, with a delta-9 THC concentration of no more than 0.3% by dry weight. This law did not restrict quantities of other types of THC, such as delta-8, which can be produced from hemp-derived CBD through a chemical conversion process.

The Implication of the Loophole

While this loophole may seem small, it has substantial implications. First, it has led to a surge in the popularity of delta-8 THC products due to its similar effects to marijuana but without the identical legal ramifications. Second, it poses a challenge to authorities, as products may be technically legal but cause impairment similar to marijuana. Finally, there is a concern it undermines state marijuana programs, where producers must comply with strict regulations that don’t apply to delta-8 producers.

The Amendment and its Impact

The proposed amendment aims to limit the types of hemp-derived compounds that businesses can produce and sell. It seeks to close this loophole by expanding the definition of hemp to not only include Cannabis sativa L. and its seeds but also all of its derivatives, extracts, and cannabinoids, regardless of the THC content. Put simply, it will treat delta-8 THC in a similar manner to delta-9 THC in regulatory terms.

Views of the Industry

Many marijuana entrepreneurs are relieved by the move due to the unfair competition posed by delta-8 THC products. As these products did not fall under rigorous regulatory show, they tend to be cheaper and lack uniformity in quality, thus potentially harming the marijuana industry’s reputation.

On the other hand, the hemp industry could potentially face heavy damage. Many hemp businesses shifted to producing delta-8 THC goods due to the declining price of CBD products. The amendment could significantly affect the livelihoods of the people involved in these businesses.

How Access to Medical Marijuana Cards Could Change

If the amendment passes, it could potentially influence the number of people applying for medical marijuana cards. With the closing of the loophole, people who had been relying on delta-8 THC goods might have to resort to medical marijuana usage, which is well-regulated and assured in quality.

This may impact states where marijuana is medicinal, but CBD is yet to be properly controlled. For example, in states such as Alabama, where access to CBD is less regulated, the new amendment could result in increased interest for medical marijuana cards.

  • Access may increase – With the loophole closed, people might move towards medical marijuana, potentially increasing demand for medical marijuana cards.
  • Quality control matters – People who relied on delta-8 THC goods may now look for alternatives with governed quality control.
  • Renewals can get affected – Existing cardholders who were supplementing their usage with delta-8 THC may need to revise their usage and possibly their renewals.

Though the public opinion varies widely, with stark divides perceptible even within the cannabis industry, this amendment is being viewed as one that could shift the landscape of the industry. It may not only mend an existing gap in the law but also significantly influence hemp and marijuana businesses, as well as consumers of these products.

Stay tuned for future updates and developments on this topic at MMJ.com.

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