You may love your CBD gummies from Verma Farms, but most of the CBD products you enjoy sit in a gray legal area. The laws are complicated and confusing, and the history is even more complicated and confusing. With the rising popularity of CBD gummies, and hundreds if not thousands of brands cashing in, the government has taken a very relaxed attitude toward the gray areas, as will likely continue until the full lift on prohibition of cannabis finally happens.
Hemp and its products were made illegal outside of medical use with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. It became prohibitively expensive and difficult to grow, harvest, or use any part of any hemp plant. At this time, all hemp plants were seen to be in the same category of marijuana plants, and there was little known about the difference between the types of hemp.
The Controlled Substance Act of 1970 made all use of marijuana completely illegal, and put it on the list of Schedule I Controlled Substances. Types of hemp were still undifferentiated, and all hemp plants were illegal to cultivate. The term, The War on Drugs, was coined by Richard Nixon in a press conference in 1971, and since then, the Federal Government has taken a hard-line stance on all things related to cannabis.
In 1996, California legalized marijuana for medical use. In 1998, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington followed suit. Over the next decade, states began to recognize the medical benefits of cannabis products. They all set up their own laws regulating the use, in defiance of the Federal Government, which still classified hemp and hemp products as a Schedule I controlled substance (this category is reserved for substances that have no medical value, come with significant health risks, and are highly addictive).
More and more states began decriminalizing marijuana. Prohibition had not been completely lifted in these states, but penalties were not as strict as they were before. States recognized the financial and social benefits of not imprisoning everyone who got caught with a small amount of the green stuff for their own personal use.
By 2012, Colorado and Washington voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults, with actual legal sales beginning in Colorado in 2014. They have seen major financial gains ever since, and Colorado reached $1 billion in tax revenue in just over four years. Crime rates have not been affected, as the bills opposers originally feared, and the benefits have far outweighed the cost.
As of 2019, 11 states have legalized the use of recreational marijuana for adults over 21. Medical use of marijuana is legal in 33 states. A total of 44 states are in direct defiance of federal law, but the Federal Government has decided not to pursue action.
Hemp has been a source of food, textiles, and building materials, for thousands of years. Historical references note its use in Ancient China and Rome as medicine. Early American settlers used hemp to make ropes, oil, and clothing. Even Henry Fords original Model T prototype was fueled by hemp.
The Marijuana Tax Act was likely a matter of corporate competition, and it became illegal in the US to use hemp for anything. What was once an important crop that nearly everyone grew and cultivated, became outlawed. By the 1970s, there was no distinctinction between the stuff people used for food, medicine, and fuel, and the stuff people used to get high.
With global warming becoming more of a reality every day, and solutions to the problems that come with this crisis few and far between, the interest in hemp is growing once again. Hemp is a crop that is easy on the earth. It acts as a biofilter that can clean the soil and the air in its surrounding environment. It is easy to grow, and is one of the most beneficial crops in existence.
Hemp is an excellent source of food, containing essential amino and fatty acids, it can be used to make almost any product that we use petroleum to make now, and it is an efficient source of energy storage. Food shortages, the non-renewable energy crisis, and rising medical costs, can all be mitigated with the hemp plant.
In 2014, the distinction was made between the marijuana plant and industrial hemp. Industrial hemp contains less than 0.3% THC, and cannot get anyone high. A bill passed through the Senate, allowing research to take place on industrial hemp under very restrictive circumstances.
Hemp farming became an important part of Kentuckys economy again, and in 2018, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell slipped an expansion of the legalization of farming industrial hemp into the Farm Bill.
This means that it is now legal to farm and cultivate industrial hemp, and manufacture hemp products. For certain farmers. Under certain circumstances. With special licensing. And under strict supervision. All CBD produced must be under the guidelines of the Farm Bill of 2018, and the USDA is now in charge of overseeing all regulatory processes related to the plant.
It took more than sixty years, and direct defiance from 44 states, to even begin to clarify key differences between marijuana and hemp. These clarifications have led to a few more gray areas. Now that the USDA is in charge of regulating the farming of hemp, the FDA needs to bring its policies into alignment. Which will likely take quite a bit of time.
As of right now, the FDA is in charge of regulating interstate commerce related to any CBD product marketed as a medicine, supplement, food, or cosmetic. It has determined that CBD cannot be added to food, and it recently released a statement indicating that it will pursue legislation against any company purporting CBD to treat, mitigate, or diagnose serious illnesses like diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimers.
Where does this leave CBD gummies? It seems as though they fit directly in the gray area. Which seems to be where most CBD products fit. 92% of cannabis businesses operate in the gray area. Only 4% are fully legal, and 4% are clearly violating the law.
Brands selling CBD gummies are in the gray area, but there are thousands of brands in it together. While the amazing health benefits of CBD gummies are apparent, it will likely be several years before they can be marketed as a supplement, or to treat medical symptoms. In the meantime, the best thing CBD companies can do, is use their blogs to educate people and point them in the direction of the research that backs their claims.
CBD gummy brands take heart! Legislation is moving fast, and changing in favor of the hemp industry every day.
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