In all fairness, I’m pretty sure this was an accident. Not in the sense of addressing the transport of hemp, but in doing so, legalizing THC. You see, in an effort to help the hemp farming industry, the USDA legalized the transport of hemp across state lines. But when it comes to hemp products, how does the state enforce their own laws regarding cannabis?
THC is present in both hemp and marijuana. Whereas the amount of THC is vastly different in each plant, they have similar genetic structures. Both cannabis plants also have CBD. However, hemp has more CBD than marijuana. Furthermore, hemp won’t get you high. That was a key factor in legalizing the industrialization of hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill.
It would appear that the USDA may be privy to some inside information you and I are not. Do they know that full legalization of all cannabis is coming on the federal level? If so, does that mean that states will no longer have the right to jail persons who carry cannabis? The USDA’s recent bulletin leaves the general public with more questions than conclusions.
States versus federal
As most of us know, states are able to determine laws within their own jurisdiction. However, those laws cannot override federal law. This justification is known as the Supremacy Clause, found in Article VI, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution. Thus, state’s rights can be and are overridden by federal law.
As industrial hemp was legitimized in December with the 2018 Farm Bill, questions surrounding distribution of hemp products have arisen. Can Colorado ship to Georgia? What about Minnesota? Meanwhile, some states may prefer to outlaw all cannabis and keep there jail cells full. Because there are little to no regulations in place regarding hemp and CBD, it leaves distributors wondering if they are breaking the law.
Enter the USDA
The USDA, United States Department of Agriculture, is the federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to farming, food and forestry. It is their priority to ensure the public’s safety as well as the livelihood and economic stability of farming and agriculture in the United States. Thus, the agency’s willingness to legislate the transport of the fastest growing crop industry in America.
A recent Real Money article made a valid point, “If hemp-derived THC is now legal and can cross state lines, it will be close to impossible for law enforcement to determine the difference between cannabis-derived THC and hemp-derived THC. I doubt very seriously that police agencies across the country are willing to invest in kits to test every single plant or product confiscated.
Moreover, it would cost millions, if not billions to implement. According to that same article in Real Money, the “USDA bulletin could have effectively de-scheduled cannabis.” It’s true. In an effort to help farmers succeed in industrializing hemp, the USDA may have forced the hand of Congress. Time will tell.
Legalizing THC Conclusion
It’s a blessing really. The future of hemp is massive and our economy could more than use the boost. Furthermore, we have too many people in jail cells that shouldn’t be due to possession of cannabis. It is time America got back on its feet. My prediction is that hemp will put us there. American-made products have become a memory. Let’s change that and return to the global powerhouse of yesteryear. It may scare some, but legalizing THC just may be the answer.