When the 2018 farm bill was passed, hemp and all its derivatives were legalized nationally as long as the hemp used didn’t exceed 0.3% THC on a dry-weight basis. In Missouri, one entrepreneur has made a seltzer using delta-9 THC extracted from hemp, and he believes his invention is perfectly legal since it isn’t made from marijuana and the total THC content doesn’t exceed the threshold set for industrial hemp.
Joshua Grigaitis, the owner of a company called Mighty Kind, is the man who seems to be pushing the legal limits of the 2018 farm bill. He asserts that his lawyers, bankers and insurers along with the test labs he uses all agree that the seltzer doesn’t exceed the 0.3% cap for hemp. He also asks an intriguing question: why would he sell his hemp-derived product in a cannabis retail shop or other such highly regulated sales outlet when bars, CBD shops and even grocery stores can suffice?
However, not everyone agrees with the way Grigaitis views his THC drink. For example, Jonathan Miller, the Hemp Roundtable’s general counsel, says the 0.3% THC cap for hemp refers to how much of this cannabinoid is present in a hemp plant rather than in a hemp-derived product.
Others are concerned that products such as those made by Grigaitis can easily be accessed by underage youth since no age restrictions exist for the sale of those products, in contrast to the careful scrutiny exercised before one is allowed to buy a marijuana product.
As things stand, Grigaitis isn’t alone in exploiting the apparent legal loopholes in the law legalizing hemp. CBD Oracle published a study in April this year showing that at least 120 products containing delta-9 THC derived from hemp were on sale on the internet.
Delta-9 THC extracted from hemp isn’t the only hemp-derived cannabinoid exploiting legal gray areas in the farm bill of 2018. Many hemp-derived products also contain delta-8 THC, another intoxicant that isn’t as potent as delta-9 THC. Several states, including New York and Colorado, have banned products containing this cannabinoid.
Since the 2018 farm bill expires in 2023, advocates hope that the 2023 bill will address some of the concerns and loopholes that have emerged during the implementation of this expiring farm bill. Some advocates, such as the Hemp Roundtable, hope that lawmakers will include provisions that regulate the quantity of THC found in finished products instead of the existing limit referring to plant matter. How the final bill shapes up is likely to have implications for an array of cannabis industry actors, including Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC). Meanwhile, Grigaitis’ home state of Missouri will have an opportunity to decide on Nov. 8, 2022, whether recreational marijuana becomes legal or not.
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