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What is the legal definition of hemp?

This question can be important from a law enforcement perspective. In some states, such as New Hampshire, possession of any amount of marijuana, even for personal use, can result in serious legal trouble.

Marijuana plants with no detectable Delta-9 THC, or a concentration lower than .3% are now characterized and defined by federal law as “hemp.” Hemp is not a controlled substance. So, possessing hemp is not the same thing as having an illegal pot stash. But, a zip lock bag or mason jar containing industrial hemp flower looks and smells the same as the version that gets people high. How is a police officer simply trying to do his or her job supposed to know the difference? Are they expected to take someone’s word for it? Also what is the legal definition of “hemp” – and is there a consistent definition for the whole country, or does the meaning vary state by state?

Legal Definition of “hemp”

There is a constitutional law doctrine called “preemption.” This doctrine says that federal law trumps state law. So by application of the Farm Bill Act 0f 2018, also known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (cited as Pub. L. 115-334) a judge would have to dismiss a prosecution for criminal possession — provided that the defendant could show that the Delta-9 THC content of what they had was not above .3%. This could be done through a certificate of analysis from the company that sold the hemp flower, or independent laboratory testing.

 

A link to the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 is here: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/PLAW-115publ334/pdf/PLAW-115publ334.pdf.

 

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Wentworth Hemp Farm’s logo and website

Wentworth Hemp Farm has a new domain name and logo.  This site (Wentworthhempfarm.com) now hosts the farm’s blog about growing hemp. A shopping cart/e-commerce functionality is in progress. In the future, visitors will be able order our organic hydroponic hemp flower online. The first seedlings will be under grow lights soon!

 

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The CBD Health Debate

It is a good idea to do your own research, and take advice from your primary care physician before making a decision about using products with CBD, including hemp flower. It is important to consider any bold health claims with skepticism. For example, the website of a fly by night company offering CBD oil as cure for aging, diabetes, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis – would not be a credible source of information. Generally speaking, the best sources are: a) Medical Doctors; b) Peer-reviewed studies published in legitimate scholarly journals; c) Official U.S. Government publications. Research articles written by scientists can be hard to understand without a medical or scientific background, and many of them are behind a paywall. Below is a short list of articles from the internet that are helpful in educating oneself about whether CBD has health benefits.

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Coming Soon: New Hampshire-Grown Hemp!

Starting in the Spring of 2022, we will be one of the first farms in New England to legally grow hemp – thanks to the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, and permission from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Is it hard to get a license to grow hemp?

There is a simple application with a very slow turn around time. Applicants have to be fingerprinted and furnish a current FBI criminal record check. And, there are a lot of rules to follow to keep a hemp license. To maintain compliance, licensed hemp farmers must closely adhere to the USDA’s “final rule” titled “Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program.” One of the requirements is that the hemp crop must be tested at specific intervals before harvest – and contain no more than .3% total delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as delta-9 THC). USDA licensed hemp growers are subject to strict requirements on defining and reporting exactly where they grow hemp, called a “plot.” Every hemp plot must be on file with the local county USDA Farm Service Area office, and receives an official identification number associated with the grower’s license number. Legal hemp growers are also subject to annual inspections and audits administered by the USDA on a random basis. Obviously, an important goal of the USDA’s hemp program is to keep out growers who would use a hemp growing license as a cover for an illegal marijuana grow operation.

Can a person get high smoking hemp?

While hemp has many historical uses, including fiber for rope, smoking hemp has only become “a thing” in recent years. A naturally occurring chemical within the plant called Cannabidiol (CBD) is the reason. Smoking (or cooking with) hemp flower or “bud” from specially selected strains of hemp with high CBD is increasingly popular. With THC content of .03% or less, it would be very difficult to “get high” or “stoned” smoking (or ingesting) hemp.

If smoking hemp doesn’t result in a high, then why would anyone do it?

Most informed consumers of hemp are only after the CBD content. They smoke CBD/hemp in pursuit of CBD’s purported health benefits. Fortunately, it is possible to enjoy CBD while avoiding the personal, professional, and legal consequences that sometimes result from using the psychoactive drug9-THC.