In 2018 the federal government legalized the use, growth and sale of hemp in the United States. This has led many people to believe that they can possess and use this plant anywhere in the country. However, that is not the case. It is important to know the facts surrounding its legality to ensure that they are in compliance with the law and do not risk being criminally charged. The more that is known about how each state is treating this, the less likely it is to be facing serious issues in the future.
Each state has handled this change in a different manner. Some believe that the federal government has the final word on whether or not, but that is not the case. States have the right to make things illegal, even if the federal government considers it legal. They only do not have the right to make things legal that has been deemed illegal by the federal government. This can be confusing since there are a number of states that have done exactly that. It is similar to alcohol use and sales being legal federally, but municipalities and states are able to determine their own restrictions, such as liquor sales only being allowed by the state or counties in which alcohol can not be sold.
Even if someone is confident that they live in a state that has permitted them to use and possess hemp flower, it is important to know the status of other states. Traveling in a state that has deemed it to be illegal or has additional restrictions that may not be present in the state in which they live, could potentially lead to serious legal consequences.
First one must fully understand exactly what hemp flower is. It is a plant that is the same species as marijuana, however it does not contain the high concentration of THC, which is what produces the high that users experience. It does however have potentially traceable amounts of THC. To be considered hemp it must have a concentration of less than .3 percent or .003. This concentration is so low that it does not produce any effects, but can make it illegal in states that have a no tolerance policy for THC.
There are three states in which the possession of hemp flower is absolutely illegal. Those states include Idaho, South Dakota, New Hampshire, the District of Columbia and Mississippi. Being caught with this plant can lead to a fine or possibly incarceration. The consequences vary from state to state and even from county to county. This could change in the future, as bills are being proposed to legalize it with regulations, but as of now it is illegal.
There are other states in which is legality is not clear. They are commonly referred to as being grey states as there is not yet a consensus as to whether or not it is legal. One factor is the judgement of the officer that encounters the plant as they can and do use discretion, especially when the plant has been converted into a lotion or oil. This is also partly due to the fact that it can test positive for containing THC and not all law enforcement officers or court systems take measures to test the percentage that it contains. These states include Texas, Alabama, Nebraska, Louisiana, Indiana, Hawaii, Ohio and Delaware. Those that live in these states should take measures to fully understand the law so that they know exactly what level of risk they are taking.
Even in the states that it is legal there may be a number of regulations. For example, residents may need a license in order to grow or sell it. There also may be age restrictions on possession and purchasing of the plant and any products that contain it. Knowing the law is critical to ensuring that there isn’t a risk for prosecution that was not known.