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Hemp News Is A Daily Headliner But Still In Legal Gray Zone

Matt Weeks
hemp news is as plentiful as this niceely grown field of hemp with a woman in it arms spread

If it seems like there is some crazy hemp news in America these days, that’s because there is.

As the country inches toward accepting and embracing hemp and CBD, fans of the old guard are clinging to any story — no matter how outrageous — in order to stem the tide of progress. This can be seen at all levels, with everyone from Facebook moms to U.S. Senate-confirmed appointees using insane stories and crazy talking points to justify their impassioned hatred and fear of cannabis. And, right on cue, the news media has swooped in to cater to these people — as well as their opponents and those of us who enjoy insane news articles — by reporting a wide variety off-the-wall hemp news.

The media is selling the controversy, and it makes for great reading.

Crazy Hemp News

These days, drug cartels are openly growing pot in United States while lawmakers are telling their constituents that legalized cannabis will help criminals. It takes a lot not to laugh. But wacky hemp news belies a serious reality: The best way to get criminals out of the hemp and CBD game is to legalize it.

If politicians sound nuts, try reading the laws the lawyers come up with.

Unsound hemp and CBD laws have led government administrators to wrongfully arrest scores of people, mow down fields, and demand on-the-spot tests that can differentiate between hemp plants and cannabis.

New York City has attempted to crack down on the CBD craze by enforcing a questionably legal ban on its use in baked goods, because that’s where the real crime happens — donut shops.

And, despite it being sold all over the country, many states are unsure if it’s illegal to take CBD to the airport. Want a calm flight? Too bad.

hemp news is as plentiful as this niceely grown field of hemp

CBD: The Illegal Substance That’s Totally Legal

In fact, no substance is the subject of as many crazy hemp news stories as CBD.

The official take on the legality of CBD is too complicated for anyone without a juris doctorate to understand. CBD is illegal to sell, but legal to buy. Yet, paradoxically, it’s available everywhere.

Federally, CBD is considered a schedule I substance with no legal value. This status although the FDA has approved medicines that copy the chemical formula of CBD to treat seizures.

Despite national regulations, however, 46 states have legalized CBD and some people claim the latest Farm Bill makes it legal to sell everywhere … but the truth is that no one knows. Right now, the Trump administration doesn’t seem to be placing a high priority on prosecuting cannabis crimes, so it’s up to states to determine whether or not the substance is legal. The 2019 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp across the nation, has only added to the confusion.

Already, some companies are selling CBD oil online and promising to deliver it to all 50 states. The truth is, however, that they could be sued if a state wanted to put up a fight. So far, none have.

hemp news recently concerned mitch mcconnel, pictured here

Moscow Mitch’s THC Test Request

Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate Majority Leader, has become a huge champion of hemp. Farmers in his state were hit hard by the tariffs President Trump placed on Chinese goods. They also lost out on a lot of money from tobacco crops. So, McConnell thought they could replace those crops with “industrial hemp” — the kind used for rope and home insulation.

Of course, because hemp and cannabis are virtually identical, it’s hard to legalize one and not the other. It’s like legalizing frogs, but not frogs with more than two spots. This is especially true when it comes to enforcing the law. Police officers simply don’t have the ability to distinguish hemp from cannabis.

The only way to tell is to test a sample in a lab. And, this is complicated and time-consuming. As a result, many prosecutors in hemp-legalized areas have announced that they will not prosecute small cannabis offenses. The burden of proof simply costs too much to be effective, and besides, cannabis is legal in nine states already and it’s not causing problems. What’s the harm? This doesn’t sound like important hemp news.

Hemp Testing News

For a staunch anti-drug Republican like the turtle-faced McConnell, however, the harm is evident. He does not want rural Kentuckians to get away with possessing small amounts of weed. That would be breaking the law — a privilege McConnell believes should only afforded to rich, politically connected, conservatives.

So instead of simply legalizing cannabis, too, McConnell has asked that officers be given a field test kit that law enforcement officers can quickly apply to plants to see if the THC content is below the requisite .03 percent required for a plant to be considered hemp and not cannabis.

If we want to get rid of crazy hemp news, if for no other reason that we could focus better on the far more important crazy news, it’s time to legalize.

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Matt Weeks

A writer living and working in Athens, GA, Matt's work has appeared in various newspapers, books, magazines and online publications over the last 15 years. When he's not writing, he hosts bar trivia, plays in local bands, and makes a mean guacamole. He holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and a master's degree in organizational theory. His favorite movie is "Fletch."

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