Marijuana Business Magazine - February 2018

COLUMN: HEMP NOTEBOOK Kristen Nichols ¬ t looked like a typo. But it turned out to be the biggest dilemma fac- ing the emerging hemp industry. Iowa’s largest newspaper was writ- ing about that state’s new CBD law and how the product would not get users high. Why? Because it would contain less than 3% THC. You read that right. No decimal there, no 0.3% THC threshold outlined by federal regulators as the differ- ence between hemp and marijuana, both Cannabis sativa L. but used very differently. So I checked Iowa’s CBD law, and the newspaper was correct. Iowa’s law gives CBD producers room to grow cannabis with 10 times more THC than federal law allows. The alleged typo that wasn’t underscored an important dilemma for the hemp industry. Hemp advo- cates have spent decades arguing that the plant is not marijuana. “It can’t get you high!” they insist. “It’s not a drug! Leave us alone!” But such pleas are futile. Put sim- ply, the science fails to back them up. Anyone who has grown this plant knows that botany isn’t as rigid as we’d like. Cannabis plants contain What Are We Talking About? Why it’s a silly waste of time to separate hemp from marijuana By Kristen Nichols different levels of THC at different points in their lifecycle, just like a woman can conceive a baby some days of the month but not others. And putting a seed in the ground and assuming it will produce a plant with certain characteristics can be as foolish as assuming the child of two gorgeous parents will be just as attractive as mom and dad. Politicians who write cannabis laws are starting to understand that the difference between hemp and mari- juana is arbitrary rather than clear-cut. Consider the following: • A Wisconsin hemp law signed in the fall says farmers won’t have to destroy hemp containing up to 1% THC – or 1.5% THC if the hemp was grown using Wisconsin-certi- fied seed. • Texas’ CBD law limits the THC concentration in medical oils, but not in the plants that produce it. In other words, marijuana can be used to create cannabidiol – as opposed to hemp only. • West Virginia considers any can- nabis plant below 1% THC to be hemp. • Uruguay, the first country with nationwide recreational marijuana sales, increased the amount of THC allowed in legal marijuana after a few months of sales. At Iowa’s law gives CBD produc- ers room to grow cannabis with 10 times more THC than federal law allows. 32 • Marijuana Business Magazine • February 2018