A week or so ago, a friend and I were discussing the possibility of federal legalization. He wondered when I thought it would happen.
“Much faster than most think,” was my reply.
He seemed surprised, but I think federal legalization — or de facto legalization — is going to happen quite quickly now.
Here’s why: When we started to gather products for the big CBD section in the June 2019 issue of Marijuana Venture, one of the many products that landed on my desk was some hemp flower from Hemp Happy Farms in South Carolina. It was packaged just like the legal marijuana available in Colorado, Washington and Oregon and came in one-gram, eighth-ounce and quarter-ounce sizes. Pre-packaged hemp flower can be purchased from a wide range of retail outlets like tobacco stores and headshops, as well as online through Amazon or other e-commerce platforms.
When I looked at the Hemp Happy Farms bud closely, what stood out was that it looked exactly like marijuana. It looked like great bud, smelled like great bud and was trimmed like great bud. In other words, short of smoking it or lab-testing it, the Hemp Happy Farms hemp, which is essentially legal in all 50 states, was indistinguishable from high-quality, federally illegal marijuana.
Why is this so important?
First, there’s currently no field test for THC. Therefore, there is no simple way for a law enforcement official to tell THC bud from CBD bud out in the field.
I think it’s only going to take a few cases of people with legal CBD hemp flower being improperly arrested for possession of marijuana in Trump states like Alabama or Mississippi for there to be a big outcry. The lawsuits that follow those types of arrest get noticed quickly and often result in large settlements.
Second, district attorneys — just like the police — work on taxpayer dollars. When they can’t get convictions and are seen as wasting money, they quickly change gears.
It’s the district attorney who ultimately decides what to prosecute and what not to prosecute. It’s only going to take a few cases of improper hemp arrests for most prosecutors (smart ones anyway) to inform the police that pot arrests are off the table.
Finally, because of the first two points, illegal marijuana growers in states like Kentucky, Minnesota, South Carolina and Montana will quickly realize that because the plants look identical, the chances of arrest for growing marijuana are next to nil because the police can’t tell one from the other.
And because of that, my guess is that marijuana will very quickly be legal one way or another.
Either that or our brilliant politicians will have to recriminalize hemp. And that’s not going to happen, because the Senate is led by Mitch McConnell from Kentucky, a spineless old creep who’s afraid to confront an obvious crook in the White House, let alone face up to angry hemp farmers whose vote he needs to stay in power.
So there you have it: Marijuana will be legal faster than you think.