Lack of Clarity on Hemp Products Leaves States Scrambling to Establish Rules

There’s no polite way to put this: The situation this past week has constituted nothing less than a shitshow at the FDA, and by extension for the broader marijuana legalization efforts in different states.

We’ve been put on the back foot by nothing less than negligence on the part of the governmental agency. This time around, it’s vendors of high-quality THC products that represent the only advocates on behalf of the public.

If you haven’t yet heard, the uproar in question centers around the effective legalization of Delta-8 THC and other impurities thanks to a vaguely-formulated bill back in 2018, known as the Farm Bill.

Mulling The Problem Over

As marijuana advocates, we’re forever intent on clearing hurdles toward the broader legalization of high-quality marijuana products. But when the FDA turns that hurdling track into a mosh-pit with bad actors running amok, it’s downright disrespectful towards the public, not to mention high-quality vendors.

Federal guidelines set back in 2018 define marijuana as constituting more than 0.3 percent THC. All that was fine and well for a while. But then it came to light that this limit on THC didn’t include other “intoxicants” that might also produce a similar high to high-quality marijuana products. Delta-9 is the naturally-occurring form of THC we all know and trust. Delta-8 is the synthetic additive that threatens to drive down the quality of licensed marijuana on the market.

Delta-8 THC usually only occurs in trace amounts in natural strains of marijuana. It’s chemically similar to honest-to-god THC. The trouble is that there’s no research into its side effects in the massive quantities in which it’s being found on the market.

Wide-Ranging Complications

The FDA, it turns out, has all but jumped ship, with some state legislatures running around in total confusion trying to deal with the problem in their own capacity. This includes states, like Tennessee which, to be fair, aren’t trying at all. Their example is analogous, with a bevy of dazed rabbits paralyzed in the headlights of public safety. They’ve apparently jumped ship too, leaving the vulnerable public and marijuana advocates to fend for themselves.

Needless to say, a whole series of problems are at stake for the different state legislatures, for society at large, and for the law-abiding vendors who have been jumping through countless hoops to get their high-quality THC products on the market thus far. All thanks to the lax policies of the FDA that can’t even differentiate between hemp and marijuana at this stage.

Inconsistencies Reach To CBD Products

Not only is each State Legislature now destined to create its own inconsistent laws on what legal marijuana means, but the general reputation of quality vendors is at stake. The implications of Delta-8’s legal inclusion in hemp products stretch to CBD too. There is no law that prevents manufacturers from extracting CBD from hemp and chemically altering it lately. This throws into question the actual definition of CBD too.

High-quality marijuana advocates with public safety in mind want this issue to be resolved on the federal level. This will keep quality standards high, and prevent marijuana’s reputation from going to ruin in its high-quality marijuana products form. But it seems that this is unlikely to happen. The US Food and Drug Administration was given the mandate to regulate CBD and THC products, but now it seems they’ve lapsed into total confusion.

We weren’t betting on it but we could at least have hoped that the definition of hemp insofar as it differs from high-quality marijuana products had been squared away in 2018 with the Farm Bill of that year. Now federal guidelines are up in the air and every State has to sort out the problem on its own, creating plenty of inefficiency in the system and complications down the line. While we’re waiting for these issues to be resolved, potential reputational damage to honest vendors of high-quality marijuana products is probably a given.

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