On Monday, Virginia legislators approved the use smokable hemp within the state, even though they said that they do not understand why a person would want to smoke hemp.
Hemp is legal under federal law, but Rep. Danny Marshall said that he wanted to clear up any confusion surrounding smokable hemp. Although hemp is similar to marijuana in terms of smell and appearance, their only difference is in THC concentration. Hemp contains minute traces of THC, which makes it non-psychoactive, while cannabis is psychoactive. THC induces the high effect.
Marshall introduced the bill on smokable hemp to make it clear that it is okay to smoke hemp. He represents a district within Virginia where farmers have embraced the cultivation of industrial hemp.
Marshal further said that the approval of the bill cements the fact that hemp cigarettes are legal. He noted that during a local sheriffs’ race, one accused another of not enforcing the state law because he allowed hemp flowers to remain on store shelves.
Hemp flowers are now readily available at specialty stores and some gas stations, although they are experiencing challenges with law enforcement officers who can not distinguish between hemp and illegal marijuana easily. The forensics lab in Virginia is working on a way to differentiate between the two.
Hemp products are sought after by consumers because of their CBD content, which is non-psychoactive and is used by patients to manage seizures and anxiety.
According to the legislation, hemp products meant for smoking are included in the section of the state code dealing with cigarettes, and it is permitted for people aged 21 and above, which is the same age limit for tobacco use within the state.
On Monday, the legislation passed the General Assembly, and then the Senate on a vote of 37-3. The next place for the bill is on Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk where it will be signed into law.
While presenting the bill on the Senate floor, Senator Edwards, D-Roanoke, used a bemused tone. He told his colleagues that he does not understand why anyone would buy hemp products with the intention of smoking.
As Virginia clears the use of smokable hemp, other states such as Kentucky, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Indiana have banned this way to consume hemp in their respective states.
North Carolina has also introduced legislation seeking to ban the sale of dried hemp flower, pre-rolled hemp joints, and hemp cigarettes as well as other smokable hemp products. But, farmers and hemp businesses within the state are opposing the ban. They argued that the state would be violating federal law, which legalized hemp production.
Analysts say that the position taken by Virginia is likely to be welcomed by hemp industry actors like HTC Extraction Systems (TSX.V: HTC) (OTCQB: HTPRF) since it is regarded as unfair to outlaw some forms of hemp yet the plant and its derivatives is federally legal.
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