Hemp Is Now Federally Legal, But Will Congress Legalize Cannabis Before the Year’s End?

Pass it on:

This is huge news, and we have been advocating about the legalization of Hemp since the beginning. With all the different benefits it gives us, it deserves to be named the “miracle plant.” Not only can hemp be used for medicinal purposes, but it can also be used in textiles, papers, plastics, and even bio-fuel.

A couple of days ago, President Trump signed into law the 2018 Farm Bill, which has completely legalized Hemp nationally. The bill is very comprehensive and according to MJBizDaily.com:

“In addition to lifting restrictions on advertising, marketing, banking and other financial services, the passage of the measure would:

  • Allow hemp production in all 50 states for any use, including flower production and CBD or other cannabinoid extraction. States will have the option to submit their own plans to regulate hemp.
  • Spell out that licensed hemp producers who grow cannabis plants that exceed the THC limitation of 0.3% will not be guilty of a drug crime but instead must submit a plan to correct the “hot” hemp.
  • Allow interstate commerce for hemp and hemp-derived CBD.
  • Give the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the job of overseeing hemp production, with direction to come up with rules “as expeditiously as practicable.”
  • Legalize hemp production in U.S. territories and on Indian tribal land – which was not included under the 2014 Farm Bill.
  • Give the industry access to federally backed farm support programs, including crop insurance, federal water access and low-interest loans for new farmers.
  • Allow hemp producers to “bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill “temporary agricultural jobs.”
  • Remove barriers to getting intellectual property protections under federal law, such as patents and trademarks.
  • Set a 10-year ban under which state or federal drug felons cannot participate in the hemp program, except for people already growing hemp under a state pilot project (as established by the 2014 Farm Bill).
  • Require the USDA to consult with the U.S. attorney general on the hemp rules”
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This is such big news for companies like, Elixinol that have invested heavily in research, development, and education of hemp oil, CBD oil, and other cannabinoids. Our good friends the CBD-Online-Store are also super happy with the news. The industry is about to explode!

Federal WeedUpdate (Weed Update)

Senator Gardner of Colorado is at it again. This time asking his colleagues from both sides of the aisle to pass an amendment of the First Step Act, which a sweeping reform to the criminal justice system. The amendment has similar language included in the STATES Act, a bill Gardner co-sponsored with Senator Elizabeth Warren earlier this year. Gardner has been a champion for state’s rights, especially when it comes to marijuana legalization. Unfortunately for all of us, his colleagues in Congress (who do not represent our interest, obviously) did not vote on his amendment.

State By State WeedUpdate (Weed Update)

Illinois

Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, released his plan to pay for the rising cost of pensions through licensing a casino and legalizing recreational cannabis. Some officials are saying that those sources are not reliable, yet, the state still needs the increase in revenue to pay for obligations. Watch out next year residents of Illinois, legal weed is coming soon!

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Michigan

Michigan voters voted to legalize recreational cannabis last month. As a reaction to this new law, Livingston County updated its non-union employee policy to treat cannabis like alcohol. Meaning no consuming it on premises, during work hours, or lunch. They do take the policy to extremes, such as if an employee fails a drug test, they can be terminated (on a case by case basis). Although, some positions are too important –and dangerous— not to have this policy in place. Should be interesting keeping an eye on Michigan has they launch the legal cannabis industry.

On the state level, Senate Bill 1243, introduced by Senate majority leader Arlan Meekhof, tried to raise the tax rate on cannabis, and take out provisions allowing for growing cannabis at home and obtaining a “micro-grower” license. Currently, Proposal 1 allows for individuals to grow up to 12 plants and up to 150 plants with a micro-grower license. It’s good to note the Senate Bill 1243 was not even brought up in session, which is great news for Michigan. Proposal 1 is one of the most progressive of its type and will revive the city through a well-cultivated industry. Get ready for an influx of people, Michigan!

New Jersey

Unfortunately, NJ.com is reporting that there will be no vote on legalizing cannabis in the Garden State before the end of the year. The president of the State Senate, Sweeney, remarked that there are still disagreements holding back a final vote on the bill. Too bad, we had our hopes up. Sorry New Jersey, but 2019 is looking to be a big year for cannabis nationwide anyway, so you are going to just have to wait a little bit longer.

That said, the state Department of Health decided to double the number of dispensaries to fix the shortage that patients are facing. Last Monday (December 17th), the department selected 6 strong candidates which it will meet with early next year to discuss the details.

New York

Governor Cuomo announced last Monday that he intends to legalize marijuana “once and for all” in 2019. We covered that he did a complete 180 degree here. It’s important to note Cuomo took notice only after he saw the amount of support Cynthia Nixon got for her pro-stance on cannabis legalization during the primaries.

Cuomo even went as far as including cannabis legalization as part of his 100-day speech. Now that is easier said than done, especially after Governor Murphey’s experience in New Jersey, who also wanted to legalize marijuana in his first 100 days in office. Nevertheless, we are happy that another great state will be legalizing recreational cannabis very soon. Just the other day, Mayor DeBlasio announced his support for cannabis legalization, so all the pieces are set.

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North Carolina

The General Manager of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABC) stores in Asheville, NC, says that they are ready for the day that marijuana is legalized in the state. He cites the fact that they already have been dealing with a controlled substance (alcohol), and can easily apply that experience to regulate and sell cannabis should it become legalized. Looks like 2019 is going to be an important year for North Carolina.


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Founder of WeedUpdate, Cannabis legalization advocate.

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