North Carolina wants to penalize smokable hemp


If the new law thrives, a fine of $ 2,500 would be imposed on anyone who cultivates, sells or possesses smokable hemp

North Carolina is the last state that is considering banning smokable hemp. Interestingly, smokable hemp is the product that most adepts is winning among health lovers and the CBD.

In addition to the federal national laws that declared hemp one more agricultural product in 2018, the Food and Drug Administration has no additional rules regarding smokable hemp.

In this year Indiana, Louisiana and Texas banned smokable hemp. For its part, Kansas banned cigarettes and hemp cigars. And finally, Tennessee banned the sale of smokable hemp to children under 21 years of age.

And now the North Carolina House is thinking of banning smokable hemp after it has recently been legalized by the state Senate. And the Senate wanted to expand the state’s hemp cultivation pilot program, which currently has more than 1,000 licensed hemp growers and 600 registered hemp processors. The idea is to position North Carolina as a benchmark in the growing industry.

The bill would create more rules for the regulation of hemp and would also create a commission for the licensing of hemp and establish a fund for regulation, testing and marketing.

For its part, the police prefer to prohibit hemp because they do not know how to differentiate it from marijuana.

Hemp and marijuana are cannabis plants. Dry hemp looks and smells like marijuana, but contains less than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the psychoactive compound of marijuana. Hemp has cannabidiol, or CBD, which has analgesic properties and relieves anxiety and inflammation. New products based on CBD are constantly appearing.

If the new law prospers, a fine of $ 2,500 would be imposed on anyone who cultivates, sells or possesses smokable hemp.

However, there are many farmers who used to grow tobacco who told legislators that the prohibition would harm them, since they have to suffer every year the damages caused by hurricanes and, above all, the decrease in prices of tobacco.

Shane Whitaker cultivated 275 acres of tobacco on his farm in Climax 3 years ago. This year, this farmer planted only 75 acres with tobacco and left the rest to grow hemp. He hopes that hemp is the best substitute for tobacco. And that to date has done very well with it.

Lori Lacy has been growing hemp for 2 years and has invested more than $ 150,000 on one farm and $ 1,900,000 on another. This farmer says she hopes to earn up to $ 1000 for every kilo of dried hemp flowers. “I do not want our infrastructure and everything we have built until now to disappear,” Lacy told lawmakers at a hearing in May. “I’ll have to fire my workers.”

If the smokable hemp is so lucrative is because the farmer only has to dry the flowers so that the product is salable. Other products need an expensive and complicated process to extract the CBD oil.

Jamie Schau, CBD market analyst, thinks that the market for smokable hemp flower will grow to $ 70.6 million in 2019, compared to $ 11.7 million in 2018.

Smokable hemp is very popular in the south of the country, where no state has legalized recreational marijuana and many have not legalized medical marijuana. Even so, its popularity has come as a surprise. Nobody imagined that so many people were going to smoke hemp.

The North Carolina Senate voted in favor of delaying the ban until December 2020 to allow more time to resolve the regulation. However, later a committee of the House of Representatives decided to anticipate the date of the ban a year earlier.

Even so, the co-sponsor of the bill, Republican Senator Brent Jackson, still prefers the latest enforcement date because he is confident that portable devices will soon be available that the police can use to differentiate hemp from marijuana.

However, the State Bureau of Investigation and the Chiefs of Police of the North Carolina Association say delaying the ban would be a way to legalize marijuana because many people could disguise marijuana as hemp.

Last month, police accused Amanda Furstonberg, a 32-year-old woman of the crime of possession of marijuana after seeing her smoking what she says was hemp.

Furstonberg started smoking hemp after a car accident in February left her with chronic back pain. To avoid opiates, she tried to take candies with CBD as analgesics. But she wanted something stronger and started with smokable hemp. Furstonberg explains that just after she began to smoke the flowers started to feel much better. On the contrary the chief of the police thinks that Furstonberg smoked marijuana and not hemp.

Until now growers can still grow smokable hemp. In fact, this season Whitaker is growing 30 acres of organic hemp with 2400 plants per acre, and another 800 in a greenhouse.

And reality is imposed and American farmers have to adapt to market changes.

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