Hemp's Legality

Hemp products include any material containing less than 0.3% THC derived from Cannabis sativa L. We use the terms 'industrial hemp,' 'hemp,' and 'hemp cannabis' interchangeably in this informational memorandum for the sake of clarity and simplicity.

Northspur is registered with one or more state departments of agriculture to handle hemp products and is engaged in market research, industrial-agricultural processing technology research, and agricultural research to gain a better understanding of how industrial hemp cannabis can benefit humanity and the ecosystems on which we rely. We are also looking into natural methods that can be used to convert state-approved medical marijuana into less-psychoactive formulations that have moderate cannabinoid levels and wider approval.

This type of research activity is authorized first and foremost under federal law, particularly the Agricultural Act of 2014 (commonly known as the 2014 Farm Bill, see Appendix I). The vast majority of states have passed laws enabling the use and research of hemp as shown in the map below [1].

State hemp map

Cities, counties, and states have various requirements, and every buyer is responsible for assuring that they are purchasing and using hemp products lawfully within their jurisdiction.

California, in particular, has legalized all forms of cannabis and allows cannabis to be used for research. California SB-94, also known as MAUCRSA, states "It shall not be a violation of state or local law for a business engaged in the manufacture of cannabis accessories to possess, transport, purchase, or otherwise obtain small amounts of cannabis or cannabis products as necessary to conduct research and development related to the cannabis accessories, provided the cannabis and cannabis products are obtained from a person licensed under this division permitted to provide or deliver the cannabis or cannabis products."

An excerpt from a Courier Journal story indicates that state support is strong [2]:

"Congress could not have been more clear that hemp research can occur in many ways," including "by testing market conditions in stores where the products are sold to consumers," according to a statement sent to Courier Journal in November from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. One of Kentucky's largest industrial hemp growers and CBD oil producers, Ananda Hemp, and its parent company Ecofibre, based in Australia, sought legal advice before issuing a statement last December that says in part, "We strongly believe that our farming operations and products ... are and will continue to be compliant and legal in all 50 states."

The states that do not have laws specifically pertaining to hemp and cannabis in general grant rights to their citizens by default to the Constitutional freedom of interstate commerce as regulated by the 2014 Farm Bill and the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Very few states, if any, have specific restrictions against hemp cannabis e-commerce.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution grants additional rights to American citizens: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." This means that the federal government and other governing bodies cannot apply the law differently to different individuals or groups based on their status.

Furthermore, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 (see Appendix IV), signed by President Donald Trump, includes provisions that have been renewed several years in a row to prevent the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration from interfering with state medical marijuana and hemp activities. No agency may use federal funds appropriated by Congress to work in contravention to these state programs.

An attempt by an individual agent of law enforcement to infringe on these rights would open that officer up to civil liability [3], which could be substantial considering that the documented domestic cannabis industry has grown to a size of over $5 billion.

Considering the massive damages that law enforcement personnel would be liable for if they mistakenly sought to prosecute a hemp or other cannabis operator or consumer, it would be irresponsibly negligent and go against their best interest to make such an attempt. By doing so, they would open up their department to questions of why they have not also prosecuted pharmaceutical companies and insider marijuana companies for developing THC and CBD drugs, including Dronabinol and Epidiolex, which have been approved by the FDA. The resulting whirlwind of media attention toward the offending law enforcement individuals could be very damaging to their organization's stated goal of managing a framework for consumer access to safe foods and drugs.

The government's unwillingness to prevent the expansion of the cannabis industry is a clear sign that this is not a priority for enforcement, especially with dangerous opiates, pharmaceuticals, and other dangerous drugs causing problems and deaths across the country that can be prevented with alternative natural treatment programs.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released a statement of principles regarding the national legalization of hemp, provided in Appendix III, that shows support for economic activity surrounding hemp and even indicates its commitment to providing grants for such activities.

Although the regulatory environment is sometimes contradictory, it is likely that access to hemp and other cannabis products will continue to grow over the coming years. It is our hope that this growth is not only captured by mega-corporations, but also by entrepreneurs, small businesses, and consumers who wish to leave the world a better place than they found it.

Sources

1. National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). State Industrial Hemp Statutes. Accessed Sep 6, 2018.

2. Beth Warren, Louisville Courier Journal. Nov 30, 2017. "Are you breaking the law when you buy hemp products?"

3. AELE Library of Case Summaries from the Civil Liability of Law Enforcement Agencies & Personnel.

 

Appendix I: Farm Bill Section 7606
Agricultural Act of 2014: Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research (February 7, 2014)
https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/2642/text

LEGITIMACY OF INDUSTRIAL HEMP
                         RESEARCH.

   (a) In General.--Notwithstanding the Controlled Substances Act (21
U.S.C. 801 et seq.), the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act
(20 U.S.C. 7101 et seq.), chapter 81 of title 41, United States Code, or
any other Federal law, an institution of higher education (as defined in
section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001)) or a
State department of agriculture may grow or cultivate industrial hemp
if--
           (1) the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated for purposes
       of research conducted under an agricultural pilot program or
       other agricultural or academic research; and
           (2) the growing or cultivating of industrial hemp is allowed
       under the laws of the State in which such institution of higher
       education or State department of agriculture is located and such
       research occurs.

   (b) Definitions.--In this section:
           (1) Agricultural pilot program.--The term ``agricultural
       pilot program'' means a pilot program to study the growth,
       cultivation, or marketing of industrial hemp--
                   (A) in States that permit the growth or cultivation
               of industrial hemp under the laws of the State; and
                   (B) in a manner that--
                         (i) ensures that only institutions of higher
                     education and State departments of agriculture are
                     used to grow or cultivate industrial hemp;
                         (ii) requires that sites used for growing or
                     cultivating industrial hemp in a State be
                     certified by, and registered with, the State
                     department of agriculture; and
                         (iii) authorizes State departments of
                     agriculture to promulgate regulations to carry out
                     the pilot program in the States in accordance with
                     the purposes of this section.
           (2) Industrial hemp.--The term ``industrial hemp'' means the
       plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether
       growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol

[[Page 128 STAT. 913]]

       concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight
       basis.
           (3) State department of agriculture.--The term ``State
       department of agriculture'' means the agency, commission, or
       department of a State government responsible for agriculture
       within the State.

 

Appendix II: FDA Disclaimer
The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from healthcare practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.


Appendix III: USDA Statement of Principles on Industrial Hemp
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/08/12/2016-19146/statement-of-principles-on-industrial-hemp

USDA, having consulted with and received concurrence from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), therefore, is issuing this statement of principles to inform the public regarding how Federal law applies to activities involving industrial hemp so that individuals, institutions, and States that wish to participate in industrial hemp agricultural pilot programs can do so in accordance with Federal law.

  • The growth and cultivation of industrial hemp may only take place in accordance with an agricultural pilot program to study the growth, cultivation, or marketing of industrial hemp established by a State department of agriculture or State agency responsible for agriculture in a State where the production of industrial hemp is otherwise legal under State law.
  • The State agricultural pilot program must provide for State registration and certification of sites used for growing or cultivating industrial hemp. Although registration and certification is not further defined, it is recommended that such registration should include the name of the authorized manufacturer, the period of licensure or other time period during which such person is authorized by the State to manufacture industrial hemp, and the location, including Global Positioning System coordinates, where such person is authorized to manufacture industrial hemp.
  • Only State departments of agriculture, and persons licensed, registered, or otherwise authorized by them to conduct research under an agricultural pilot program in accordance with section 7606, and institutions of higher education (as defined in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001)), or persons employed by or under a production contract or lease with them to conduct such research, may grow or cultivate industrial hemp as part of the agricultural pilot program.
  • The term “industrial hemp” includes the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part or derivative of such plant, including seeds of such plant, whether growing or not, that is used exclusively for industrial purposes (fiber and seed) with a tetrahydrocannabinols concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis. The term “tetrahydrocannabinols” includes all isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers of tetrahydrocannabinols.
  • For purposes of marketing research by institutions of higher education or State departments of agriculture (including distribution of marketing materials), but not for the purpose of general commercial activity, industrial hemp products may be sold in a State with an agricultural pilot program or among States with agricultural pilot programs but may not be sold in States where such sale is prohibited. Industrial hemp plants and seeds may not be transported across State lines.
  • Section 7606 specifically authorized certain entities to “grow or cultivate” industrial hemp but did not eliminate the requirement under the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act that the importation of viable cannabis seeds must be carried out by persons registered with the DEA to do so. In addition, any USDA phytosanitary requirements that normally would apply to the importation of plant material will apply to the importation of industrial hemp seed.
  • Section 7606 did not amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. For example, section 7606 did not alter the approval process for new drug applications, the requirements for the conduct of clinical or nonclinical research, the oversight of marketing claims, or any other authorities of the FDA as they are set forth in that Act.
  • The Federal Government does not construe section 7606 to alter the requirements of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) that apply to the manufacture, distribution, and dispensing of drug products containing controlled substances. Manufacturers, distributors, dispensers of drug products derived from cannabis plants, as well as those conducting research with such drug products, must continue to adhere to the CSA requirements.
  • Institutions of higher education and other participants authorized to carry out agricultural pilot programs under section 7606 may be able to participate in USDA research or other programs to the extent otherwise eligible for participation in those programs.

 

Appendix IV: H.R.1625 - Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1625/text

SEC. 729.
None of the funds made available by this Act or any other Act may be used—

(1) in contravention of section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 5940); or

(2) to prohibit the transportation, processing, sale, or use of industrial hemp, or seeds of such plant, that is grown or cultivated in accordance with subsection section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014, within or outside the State in which the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated.

SEC. 537.
None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (“Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research”) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113–79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.

SEC. 538.
None of the funds made available under this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, or with respect to the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico, to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.


Appendix V: Legal Disclaimer
Northspur has made every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information provided on this website. However, the information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Northspur does not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained on this website.

No warranties, promises and/or representations of any kind, expressed or implied, are given as to the nature, standard, accuracy or otherwise of the information provided in this website nor to the suitability or otherwise of the information to your particular circumstances.

Northspur does not provide any products or services for human consumption. Feed this stuff to your livestock or the birds. We have seen research showing that hemp, marijuana, and cannabinoids are safe for human consumption and effective at treating diseases, but the government does not like it to be marketed to humans for human consumption. Notwithstanding government requirements, we stand by the cleanliness and health standards of our products and services.