By Quinton Charles Op Ed Blogger
Election is changing the market on hemp
Recent law has changed in several states regarding the legality of cannabis. This all came on the heels of the recent election that also saw several legalizing states flip house, senate, and gubernatorial seats from Republican to Democrat.
On the ballot in Missouri and Utah, medical cannabis programs were approved (enabling people with medical conditions to have access to cannabis products containing, and not containing, THC), and, in Michigan, voters outright legalized cannabis (including variations containing THC). While the legalization of marijuana and THC containing strains of cannabis in no way affects the legality of CBD-based products, it does alter the market in one important way: an increase of the supply of cannabis on the market. What also is stipulated in the legislation passed is that cannabis, of all varieties, can be legally cultivated in those states. This is closely tied to the US 2018 Farm Bill, which, if passed, will legalize the cultivation of cannabis on industrial levels. Fingers crossed this is happening as your reading! This means more jobs, in fact it is one of the fastest growing industries for job openings. It will also impact availability and cost as some of these states get up and running.
Checking out the changes in different places
So let us look at different states, and what transpired in this most recent election. In Missouri, a state that, up until recently, had some of the harshest punitive laws regarding the possession and/or growing of cannabis in the country, legalized medical marijuana use and cannabis cultivation by individuals. This not only legalizes the conditional use of cannabis containing THC, but it also enables the growing of hemp for CBD purposes, as well as enables individuals to cultivate their own hemp for home use with exemption from punishment. The good news fr those of you living in states that still have not passed new laws is that it is likely that this development will lead to other, nearby states adopting similar laws once the negative perception of cannabis legalization abates.
In addition to Missouri, Utah, another state known for conservative laws regarding THC and CBD, voted to legalize cannabis along similar lines as those of the aforementioned state. This legalization would have similar effects as those that I mentioned regarding legalization in the state of Missouri. Individuals will be permitted to grow their own cannabis/hemp for home use, and both THC and CBD based products would be available to people with a qualifying medical condition.
Finally, Michigan fully legalized the use, distribution, and cultivation of cannabis statewide. In addition to having similar effects as other states with less inclusive legalization (legalization of home growing, increased supply, etc.), the legalization, the result of a popularly-voted proposal (that still would require the confirmation of the legislature, hints at something else that I have not touched upon: popular demand for cannabis and/or hemp products. While marijuana (containing THC) and CBD-based products differ, they are often carried in dispensaries side-by-side and sold by businesses that specialize in cannabis-derived products. It is likely that, due to a support of legal marijuana in the state of Michigan, CBD goods will experience an uptick in sales and interest as people are no longer driven away by the erroneous assumption that CBD-based products are illegal.
There is another bill up for consideration in Texas, SB 90. This bill would enact similar standards and requirements for cannabis use and cultivation as those in Utah or Missouri. Currently, this seems likely to pass, and the city of Austin already is saturated in dispensaries and CBD selling establishments.
It needs to be noted that, while the legal status of marijuana and cannabis changed in these three states (and is proposed to change in a fourth), the legal status of CBD under federal law, has never been under any threat within the last decade. The laws that changed in states regarded cannabis with high THC levels not Hemp based products with .3% or less of THC; so, while the legalization affects the supply of cannabis plants within states, and perhaps increases the demand for similar, salutary products derived from hemp or cannabis, it does not affect the legal status of CBD itself. CBD will still be available to sell and ship throughout the US when it is from a hemp plant and that level of THC is .3% or less.