Hemp is legal now. Confused? Here’s some basic info.

Hemp is legal now. Confused? Here’s some basic info.

Max Yasgur is best known for owning the property where the 1969 Woodstock festival happened. But he was, first and foremost, a farmer.

Now the late Yasgur and his fellow farmers can celebrate again. When President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill this week, the US officially legalized hemp.

For the first time in 80 years, American farmers can legally grow hemp. (Hemp is a cannabis sativa plant with negligible amounts of THC.) Finally, federally-insured banks will be able to support the fledgling industry. This is a big step towards full cannabis legalization.

There are major differences between hemp and weed.

When people talk about “cannabis,” they’re usually referring to pot, the version of the cannabis sativa plant which has psychoactive properties. Hemp only contains trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid. Hemp cannot get you high.

Bot hemp and pot contain another cannabinoid, called cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD is noted for its anti-inflammatory properties. It has been found to be useful in treating a wide variety of diseases. Cancer patients have reported positive results from using CBD as treatment.

For a cannabis sativa plant to officially be considered hemp, its THC levels must be below .3 percent. This is not enough THC to get you “high.” (However, it works synergistically with CBD, in what some call the “entourage effect.” The cannabinoids complement each other, providing maxium efficacy.)

That’s why some medical experts believe, in order for that cannabinoid synergy to work most effectively, you need a higher percentage of THC.

This is bad news for anyone who doesn’t live in a cannabis-legal state, who still wants to reap the medicinal effects of CBD.

According to the federal government, cannabis is sitll a Schedule I drug, like heroin or LSD.

Technically, that means the US government considers pot to have “no medicinal benefits.” But the federal government also holds a patent (Patent number 6630507, if you’re curious.) This patent gives the goverment sole control over the proposed medical research on cannabis. So when medical research yields promising results and products, the patent guarantees future profits for patent holder. And the patent holder is the federal government.

Today, cannabis industry members and investors lobbying lawmakers to “de-schedule” cannabis — so it will no longer be a Schedule I drug.

And it’s not just about money. It’s also about justice. While people fight over how to profit off this plant, thousands of people remain behind bars for pot posession charges. It’s time to change that.