2020 Election Update: Cannabis Wins
The 2020 election is sorta over and the overwhelming winner is…Cannabis!
That’s right. While most of us were watching vote getting counted and waiting to see who was going to be President for the next 4 years, 5 more states legalized cannabis.
Voters legalized the possession of marijuana by adults in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and in South Dakota. The measures in Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota each permit adults to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal use and establish a regulated retail market. Mississippi legalized medical cannabis use.
In total, 15 states have now either enacted or have voted to enact adult-use legalization laws, while 36 states have either enacted or have voted to enact medical marijuana access laws. 72% of the United States have legalized cannabis in some form. BUT, Cannabis is still Federally illegal and 38% of us live in a state with caveman marijuana laws – like me here in Georgia.
Does that mean that we who live in backward states are deprived of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis?
We are deprived of the very psychoactive, high THC cannabis products and flowers, but the Federal Government left the backdoor open for us when it legalized hemp in 2018 Farm Bill.
I’m going to tell you a little secret. Hemp, marijuana, cannabis, weed, trees, grass, gas, chronic, dro, headies, crippies, beasters, indo, 420, pot, and reefer is all the same plant – cannabis sativa L.
The difference between legal hemp and all those other scary and fun words is the amount of delta-9 THC that the plant produces. To qualify as legal hemp, the dried plant must have less than .3% delta-9 THC by weight. Other than that, it’s the same plant. While it looks and smells similar, the effects are quite different when you smoke or eat it. THC is primary psychoactive compound found in cannabis. A hemp plant can’t legally contain have more than .3% THC, while a high-grade marijuana plant has over 25% THC. The flipside is that the hemp plant may have 20% CBD and the marijuana plant only has .3% CBD. (Breeders have bred hybrid strains that are more balanced, but that’s for another blog.)
When it comes to smoking flowers, this makes a HUGE difference in the effect. A joint of .3% THC / 20% CBD is going to calm you down and straighten your head out. A joint of 20% THC / .3% CBD is going to send you to the moon for an hour or so. But I’m here to talk about how we create powerful therapeutic products from legal hemp, not smoking joints. That’s also for another blog, too.
The great thing about the Farm Bill is that it not only legalizes hemp, but also all of the extracts, derivatives, isomers, salts, etc that contain less than .3% Delta 9 THC.
What this means in English is that processors can extract and purify the individual cannabinoids found in hemp. This includes CBD, CBN, CBD, CBG, CBC, Delta 8 THC – anything that has less than .3% delta 9 THC in the final product. This is one of the ways that we can create consistency with every batch of products that we make. We can start with pure molecules and compound everything back together to legally recreate the experience of ‘marijuana’.
The other part of the law that allows us to do this is the language of “less than .3% delta 9 THC by weight”. Notice the two parts that I emphasized.
“Delta 9” means that only delta 9 THC is regulated. That means that when you convert legal CBD into delta 8 THC, you have a legal form of THC. We don’t know how this loophole is going to be open because the DEA already has issued a sternly worded Interim Final Review saying they think that delta 8 THC should be illegal because of the Drug Analogue Law or the Synthetic Marijuana Law. However, it doesn’t matter what they feel. It will take an act of congress to amend the Farm Bill to make Delta 8 illegal.
“By weight” is some great language. Now we’re gonna have some fun with math – for real.
Percentage is a variable number. For instance, .3% of $1000 is $3, but .3% of $10,000,000 is $30,000. $30,000 is way more than $3, but they’re both .3% of something. Percentages work the same way with mass (weight).
Remember when working with THC doses, we’re working in milligrams (mg). Milligrams are really small and light, so it doesn’t take a lot of them to get effective doses. Check this math out:
1 gram = 1000mg and .3% of 1000mg (1g) is 3mg THC (1000*.003=3)
3mg of THC doesn’t sound like a lot until you have some perspective. The highest dose of THC that an edible legally sold in a recreational dispensary in Colorado is 10mg. So, technically, a gummy that weighs 3.5g and has .3% THC has 10.5mg of THC. This is more than the dispensary gummy, but importantly, federally legal.
If you want to get crazy, let’s talk about a hemp cookie that weighs 2oz. 1 oz. is 28 grams. So, this 2 oz. cookie weighs 56,000mg (28g*2oz*1000mg) that is .3% THC contains 168mg of THC. Eating this much THC would ruin the next 8-12 hours for 85% of the population and I DO NOT recommend it.
I bet a lot of yall are wondering, “Doesn’t this kinda legalize strong marijuana edibles? Why doesn’t someone make a .3% THC cookie that is highly psychoactive and legal?
The answer to the first question is “not really” because the FDA is clear that they considerate illegal to put THC in anything that intended for human or animal consumption. You could maybe try that slippery language of “Not intended for human consumption. For research purposes only” on the packaging, but I’m not sure that would fly with a cookie because it’s universally accepted that cookies are for eating, not researching.
The answer to the second question is because no one has been brave, stupid, or reckless enough to try this. Even though our theoretical cookie is less than the limit of .3% THC, it is dangerously psychoactive. I think that most those of us who have the knowledge and resources to mass produce this .3% THC cookie don’t do it because we know that it would be incredibly irresponsible and most definitely lead to some type of legal problem. Nobody wants or needs legal problems, that’s why we’ve been fighting so hard to get cannabis legalized. This brings me back to fact that 5 more states legalized cannabis last week.
While this didn’t change anything in my home state of Georgia, it does prove a growing majority of Americans realize that marijuana prohibition is just as stupid and unsuccessful as was Alcohol Prohibition. 36 states and counting…it’s just a matter of time.