Can police testing kits tell the difference between marijuana and hemp-derived THC? Have K9 units adapted to hemp legalization? And what could you expect if you get pulled over with a bag of gummies?
Find about all of this and more as Hometown Hero CEO & Co-Founder Lukas Gilkey sits down with former Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Captain Aaron Grigsby to discuss the evolution of law enforcement amid the emergence of hemp-derived cannabinoids in the video below:
And if you're curious about the Compassionate Use Program, hemp laws, the DEA letter, and the documentary mentioned in the interview, you can learn more about them below.
Senate Bill 339 - The Texas Compassionate Use Program
In June 2015, Governor Greg Abbot signed SB 339 into law, known as the Texas Compassionate Use Act. This law allowed for marijuana, at no more than 0.5% Delta-9 THC by dry weight, to be used by patients with certain conditions.
Since then, the Texas Legislature expanded the program in 2019 and 2021 to give access to patients with other conditions (such as cancer and PTSD) along with a higher Delta-9 THC cap (1% by dry weight).
Hemp vs. Marijuana - 2018 Farm Bill
Before 2018, hemp and marijuana were the same in the eyes of the federal government. In other words, Uncle Sam saw all cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance.
With the 2018 Farm Bill (Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018), Congress defined what constitutes "hemp" and legalized it on a federal level. Hemp is cannabis with a 0.3% or lower concentration of Delta-9 THC by dry weight. Marijuana is cannabis that contains any concentration higher than that.
One should know that there is no scientific basis for what separates hemp and marijuana. Both hemp and marijuana are the same species, and U.S. lawmakers determined these distinctions.
But that didn't legalize hemp across the United States. It only meant that hemp could legally cross state lines and that federal law enforcement would not interfere with the cultivation or sale of hemp.
It was then up to individual states to draft their legislation regarding hemp. Many of them initially followed the federal government's guidelines.
[Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018]
HB 1325 - Texas Legalizes Hemp
In June 2019, House Bill 1325 passed through the Texas Legislature with bipartisan support and was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott. This bill legalized hemp in the Lone Star State.
HB 1325 matched up with the 2018 Farm Bill's definition of hemp at or below 0.3% Delta-9 THC by dry weight.
DEA Letter To The Alabama Board of Pharmacy
In just about any state, you'll have a Board of Pharmacy. These agencies regulate and examine the legal distribution of prescription drugs.
In a letter dated August 19, 2021, Dr. Donna C. Yeatman, Executive Secretary of the Alabama State Board of Pharmacy, requested from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) the status of Delta-8 THC under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
The DEA responded with a letter that clarified that Delta-8 derived from hemp is not a controlled substance. The reasoning is that cannabinoids extracted from hemp containing no more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC on a dry-weight basis do not fall under the category of marijuana.
[Letter from U.S. Department of Justice to Dr. Donna C. Yeatman]
Bonus Video: Ride with Larry
And for your reference, here's the clip from the documentary that Aaron mentioned in the interview.Please note that the content above is for informational purposes only and is not intended for use as medical or legal advice