Is Smoking Hemp Flower Legal In My State?
Hemp flower is slowly but surely becoming mainstream in the Untied States.
This follows the introduction of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, more commonly referred to as the Farm Bill, which made hemp federally legal. Absurdly, hemp was previously lumped into the Controlled Substances Act for close to 50 years alongside hard drugs like heroin, LSD and amphetamine, as well as THC-rich cannabis, or ‘marijuana’.
Law-makers have now recognized that hemp has no potential for abuse and represents a major boost for the country’s flagging agricultural industry. They didn’t think people were going to start smoking hemp, however. You see, a demand for smokeable hemp flower (which can look and smell just like illegal THC-rich cannabis) has given rise to a new set of challenges for authorities.
In order to avoid confusion with psychoactive THC-rich cannabis, many states have expressed interest in banning smokable hemp flower, while some have gone further and actually enacted bans.
To help make sure your use of hemp is within the law, this article will explain what each state’s stance on smokable hemp flower currently is.
Before we dive into details, we would like to remind you that the best available high-CBD hemp flowers, are only available to the subscribers of the CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter. Subscribe below and get our weekly product recommendations, straight to your inbox, every Thursday morning.
The rise of smokable hemp flower
There’s been an explosion of CBD-containing products over the last few years. It’s in everything from coffee to intimate oils. This is largely thanks to its many purported health benefits. And while products made with CBD extracted from hemp flower are massively popular, some people prefer the unadulterated flower over a processed product.
That’s because once you have the raw, dried hemp flower, you can use it in a number of highly effective ways. You can vape it using a dry herb vape, make your own CBD oil or CBD edible, or, as is proving most popular, you can smoke it. Yep, you can grind it up, roll it up, burn and inhale just like the high-inducing THC-rich cannabis.
The only difference is that it won’t get you ‘high’ or ‘stoned’. Instead, the combination of CBD, terpenes (smelly plant compounds), and perhaps some minor cannabinoids will have you feeling relaxed, care-free, and soothed. That’s because CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic (anxiety reliever).
How do you buy hemp flower?
CBD flower can be purchased from vape shops, head shops, and a variety of online stores across the country. Many hemp farms also have their own online store, allowing them to sell their crop directly to the consumer rather than through a middle man.
Hemp flower is routinely sent through the mail in well-designed packaging that retains any suspicious odours and ensures the contents are undetectable. After all, hemp flower looks just like illegal cannabis.
The 2018 hemp bill explained
The 2018 Farm Bill included the Hemp Farming Act., which removed cannabis with less than 0.3% THC from the Controlled Substances Act. Following its passing, the act allows hemp farmers to have access to the national banking system, crop insurance, water rights and federal agricultural grants.
While the new provisions also allow states to adopt their own regulations for hemp, no state can prohibit the transport of hemp across its borders, provided the hemp was lawfully produced.
What states have banned smokeable hemp flower?
While hemp is now federally legal, it hasn’t stopped a small number of states from trying to prohibit smokeable hemp flower. Just as states can legalize cannabis should they wish, they can also legally ban the sale and possession of hemp flower. However, thanks to the Farm Bill, they can’t prohibit the transportation of it.
What follows is a list of states that have brought in some sort of ban. All other states allow smokeable hemp flower.
- Kentucky – prohibits the sale of smokeable hemp and licence needed for possession.
- Virginia – licence needed.
- South Carolina – can’t possesses without a license .
- Massachusetts – prohibits the sale of unprocessed or raw plant material.
- South Dakota – hemp illegal in all forms.
- Louisiana – banned by the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control in Louisiana, possibly overstepping their jurisdiction.
- Idaho – illegal in all forms.
- Mississippi – illegal in all forms.
- Texas – smokable flower banned .
- New Hampshire – all forms illegal.
- North Carolina – proposed to reschedule smokeable hemp flower as marijuana in late 2020, but that seems to have been thwarted .
- Indiana – banned smokeable hemp legislatively Recent preliminary injunction orders the state not to enforce the law however.
Please note that not all these bans are actively being enforced and sales often continue despite them. Additionally, most online stores will ship to all 50 states, citing the 2018 Farm Bill as proof of legality.
Hemp flower is becoming more popular across the country, but its legality is an area of concern
Is hemp flower being suppressed?
Just as hemp gains acceptance federally, it seems a number of states have stepped up their efforts to keep it from flourishing within their borders. Is this because of a concerted effort to keep a highly therapeutic natural product from the people?
Maybe, but it’s more likely that the answer is rooted in old-school perceptions of cannabis among law-makers. That and the fact that hemp flower looks just like illegal THC-containing cannabis, which will make enforcing cannabis laws very difficult.
Is hemp flower legal in the rest of the world?
Alongside its booming popularity in the U.S, smokeable CBD flower is also exploding in the UK and mainland Europe. In fact, Switzerland has been the leader of the industry for almost three years now thanks to a law that allows the production and sale of cannabis with less than 1% THC.
A lot of CBD-rich hemp flower is also being grown in Italy, where they have a 0.6% THC limit. France, Austria, Belgium, as well as a number of Eastern European countries, are also seeing sizable markets established. Most have a THC limit of 0.2%.
The future of hemp flower
The U.S. hemp industry has been unfairly held back for almost five decades. Now that it’s federally legal, expect the industry to blossom. In fact, thanks to its versatility coupled with the already waning tobacco and dairy industries, it cannot be overstated how important this plant could be for the U.S. in the coming years.
A large part of the demand for hemp will be driven by the massive interest in CBD – it’s already more popular than vitamin C and vitamin D supplements. And, as one of the most effective CBD products (and the least processed), hemp flower will represent a big chunk of the market.
Therefore, expect hemp flower to catch on and bloom into a massive industry of its own. Expect strains to improve and variety to increase. The bottom line; expect big things for hemp flower in the near future.
Looking to buy high-CBD hemp flowers? The best available CBD flowers, are always reserved to the subscribers of the CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter, where you can find weekly product recommendations, exclusive deals and limited time offers.Hemp flower is slowly but surely becoming mainstream in the Untied States, but is it legal across the board or does it vary by state?
Are Hemp Buds Legal in the UK?
Are Hemp Buds Legal in the UK?
Although in the UK the CBD industry is growing rapidly, there has been a lot of confusion around the rules and regulations of hemp cultivation and the legality of hemp flowers and leaves.
Industrial Hemp is a strain of the Cannabis Sativa plant and hemp buds are the flowers of the hemp plant, which hold higher amounts of cannabinoids compared to the rest of the flora. 1 The laws surrounding hemp can be a little confusing if you are new to the world of Hemp and CBD. Perception of hemp has changed dramatically since the Tudors, when King Henry VIII established a law stating farmers must grow hemp due to its incredible nutritional value. Today, hemp has become too closely associated with marijuana, and it is this confusion that has led to its illegality, making hemp legal to grow in the UK only under very strict conditions and regulations.
What is hemp and how does it differ from marijuana?
Cannabis is the umbrella term for both hemp and marijuana and although some may find it difficult to tell the difference between the two, there are a variety of key things to look for; For example, hemp has skinny leaves and very few branches or leaves grow below the top part of the plant. Comparatively, marijuana tends to have broader leaves, a tight bud and can look like a nugget with small hairs. Hemp often grows to be a skinny and tall plant, whereas marijuana often looks short and fat.
Hemp bushes are usually grown in close proximity to each other and it is able to grow in a large variety of climates. 2 In contrast to this, marijuana has to be grown in a warm and humid environment for it to be able to grow properly. It is also important that hemp and marijuana don’t grow together because if they do, the pollen from the hemp will dilute the marijuana’s psychoactivity.
Hemp is a form of the cannabis plant that, unlike marijuana, can be used in a variety of ways. It is known to have 25,000 possible uses, ranging from beauty products and dietary supplements to clothes, food and even construction materials 3 . It is only recently that people have started to smoke it, be it through “buds” that look like marijuana or in the form of pre-rolled cigarettes. Although smoking hemp bud won’t give the user a high in the same way marijuana does, the cannabinoids contained within the plant have been found to enhance wellbeing.
The laws of hemp cultivation
In the UK, farmers have to apply for a license from the Home Office that allows them to farm Industrial Hemp 4 (also known as low-THC Cannabis). Each license costs £580 (and renewals cost £326), and as part of the application process, the individual must undergo a Disclosure and Baring Service check to ensure that they are eligible for a license. Once approved, a compliance visit may also be imposed and the Home Office may place restrictions on where the crop can be planted.
Even if a license has been granted by the Home Office, growers are only permitted to harvest part of the plant. The leaves and flowers have a higher concentration of cannabinoids so it is illegal for them to be cultivated. However, the seeds and stems have a much lower concentration of CBD and practically no Tetrahydrocannabinol (or ‘THC’ – the psychoactive compound in marijuana) and are allowed to be cultivated. 5
To explain this further, hemp is only allowed to be grown in the country for the creation of non-controlled hemp products that are made from the seeds and fibre.
For hemp to be considered legal it must remain below the maximum level of THC, which is 0.2%. This ensures that those who use it are unable to feel any psychoactive effects at all. If people are caught harvesting hemp without the proper license the law will regard them in the same way as if they were growing products with high amounts of THC.
Farmers have been forced to destroy their crops
In 2019, two hemp farmers told The Guardian that they were devastated when they were forced to destroy 40 acres of their crop.
Patrick Gillett and Ali Silk said the Home Office told them they were no longer allowed to harvest their crop for cannabis oil, or CBD. They told the publication they were confused as to why they received the order and believed it to be an unjust decision made by the Home Office. Since the order, they have launched a national campaign to have the policy reversed.
“For three years we operated openly and always kept the Home Office informed over what we were doing,” Mr Gillett told The Guardian. “It was devastating to have to rip the entire crop up just because the Home Office changed its guidelines. In fact, one of their guidelines is that any cannabis oil extracted from the hemp plant only contains 0.2% of THC [tetrahydrocannabinol, the substance that produces a psychoactive high], which we also stuck by and indeed were upfront with the Home Office. We kept them informed every step of the way when we started this business in 2015.”
Ms Silk estimated that their company lost approximately £200,000 as a result of the destroyed harvest. Although they had held a hemp grower’s licence it is believed that their application to renew the licence had recently been rejected by the Home Office. 6
The call for hemp legalisation in the UK is growing
Although the CBD industry is growing in the UK, the hemp industry has remained minuscule. This has led to people sourcing CBD from Europe as the laws surrounding the production of hemp are less strict.
A YouGov survey conducted in 2019 shows that three-quarters of CBD users living in the UK believe the laws and restrictions hemp farmers have to follow should be lifted. Internationally the legalisation of cannabis has proven to be a very lucrative industry, which is one the UK is missing out on. Currently, only the medical use of cannabis is allowed but only very few people have access to this.
“The scale of opportunity for hemp’s numerous industrial applications is considerable and global. [There are] major societal and economic benefits possible for the UK, ” the British Hemp Alliance (formerly the British Hemp Association) said. “Farmers are unable to harvest, extract, transport or process the leaf or the flower; it has to be destroyed on-site. The flowers are the most profitable parts of the plant that contain the highest concentration of CBD (cannabidiol). At present all CBD extracts used in the UK are imported from Europe, China, Canada and the USA, where it is legal to harvest the hemp flower.” 7
The association has said that increasing the legal dose of THC from 0.2% to 1%, the same as Australia, Ecuador, Uruguay and Switzerland, would be beneficial. This would still have no psychoactive effect but the plant would be healthier and will be able to produce better crops and flowers. 8
The British Hemp Alliance has said that a thriving hemp industry will provide the UK with a variety of agricultural and environmental benefits stating “It can be used for a range of environmentally friendly and carbon-negative products, while actively contributing to mitigating climate change. A thriving domestic hemp industry can kickstart a new green industrial revolution, boost local economies, and help to seed a brighter future in a post-Brexit landscape. 9
The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) is another organisation that has said the current hemp farming rules need to be changed. In their report ‘CBD in the UK’ they expressed concern over the viability of the industry in the UK if the restrictions continue, stating “The hemp industry is not financially viable in the UK long-term unless it can compete on a level playing field with other hemp producers ”. 10
Perception of hemp has changed dramatically since the Tudors, when King Henry VIII established a law stating farmers must grow hemp due to its incredible nutritional value. Today, hemp has become too closely associated with marijuana, and it is this confusion that has led to its illegality, making hemp legal to grow in the UK only under very strict conditions and regulations.
However, despite the issues with hemp flowers and leaves being grown and utilised in the UK, CBD is not a restricted substance in the UK as long as the THC levels in the product are undetectable (less than 0.05%). It is for this reason that CBD Oil products that meet the strict UK guidelines are legal for sale (if you’d like to read more about why CBD Oil is legal, you can here).
All Hempura products are manufactured using top-grade industrial hemp imported from Eastern Europe into the UK – hemp that is tested comprehensively for quality and regulation purposes before it is brought into the UK for precision extraction. All of the farms we use are carefully selected, regulated and compliant EU growers and the plants are organically grown and therefore herbicide, pesticide, fungicide and GMO-free, so even though the hemp used in the manufacture of our CBD products aren’t sourced in the UK at the moment due to strict legislation, we can guarantee the highest quality ingredients are used in the production of Hempura CBD products.Are Hemp Buds Legal in the UK? Are Hemp Buds Legal in the UK? Although in the UK the CBD industry is growing rapidly, there has been a lot of confusion around the rules and regulations of hemp ]]>