Image Credits: Houston
Despite the federal law legalizing hemp derived cannabinoid, many airport officials have been seizing CBD oil and its products in the U.S. The federal agents have warned people using CBD oil that it could possibly land them in trouble if they try to take it with them to the airport.
According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, at least 41 travellers at Bush and Hobby airports had their CBD oil seized by the federal agents in 2018 alone.
Alicia Tellez, a watch commander for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol at the Bush airport said that passengers should be aware of the stringent regulations against carrying CBD oil at the airport. She further added that even travellers crossing through the ports of the entry gate may have their luggage checked and searched for CBD oil, including their carry-ons.
TSA officials say that while their focus is not just searching illegal drugs on domestic flights, if in case, anything is found suspicious, they do involve the police officials. CBD is now a legal compound after the Farm bill passed in December 2018. It is known to be an anti-inflammatory compound which helps relieve pain, stress, anxiety, depression and improves sleep patterns.
CBD is derived from hemp plant, a cannabis genus plant which is non-psychoactive in nature. It is also known to treat severe ailments such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and cancer. But there are no recognized research or study backing up these claims, just real-life experiences from patients.
The federal law allows CBD with 0.3% of THC, tetrahydro cannabinoid, another compound found in cannabis plants which is a psychoactive chemical that alters the state of mind. It is also the main compound which is responsible for the ‘high’ that users get while smoking weed.
Despite of the legal threshold limit for THC concentration in CBD products, many states are following the previous limits – 0% THC concentration – which is making it difficult for people to buy and carry CBD products, especially through airports.
Airport Customs and Border Protection agents are armed with kits that can easily determine the purity of a bottle of CBD oil on the spot without any delay. Tellez said that if a passenger is suspected of carrying a controlled substance, they will test that substance and it would hardly take a few seconds to reveal the concentration of CBD and THC present.
If any traces of THC are detected, the Houston Police narcotics officials are called to the scene and arrests are possible.The Customs and Border Protection agents did not clarify on the amount of THC a passenger could get trouble in, but they said that even if someone is found carrying CBD oil, they could get arrested.
Fox 26 asked Houston Police about the seizing incidents and arrests for CBD oil at the Bush and Hobby airports. They didn’t have much information ready at the hand, but said they were working on it.
With different states taking CBD legalization differently, it is becoming quite confusing for people to understand whether CBD is legal in their state or not. Some states are boosting the decision by giving permits to universities for further research and study in CBD and its effects, others are putting massive barriers even for patients to get a bottle of CBD oil for their treatment.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows CBD in a drug which is used to treat two rare forms of epilepsy. The agency announced a public hearing in May to discuss the effects of the drug and how it could be safely implemented in the current market to serve to people’s needs. It will form a regulatory framework to monitor the use of CBD in products and also build an internal team of members which will ensure CBD is used effectively.
Till then, the confusions stay afloat amongst companies that are looking forward for creating CBD based products and for people who are looking out for CBD as an alternative treatment for their ailments.
Texas Bill Receives The Green Signal Of Legalizing Hemp, Awaits Final Nod Of Legislature
Amidst massive confusion pertaining to the sale of CBD products in Texas, a bill has been approved by state lawmakers for legalizing the production of industrial hemp. House Bill 1325 received unanimous votes in its favor from the Senate on Wednesday. The ultimate decision now rests upon the House lawmakers who can either agree or disagree to the amendments made by the Senate to the bill.
Possibilities Of The Bill
The bill would go straight to the desk of governor Greg Abbott for his signature or veto if the House agrees to the same or negotiators are named by both the chambers for hashing out their differences and ultimately signing off the deal. Rep. Tracy King is hopeful about Abbott signing the bill and giving it the recognition of a proper legislature in upcoming days.
King, D-Batesville announced after the Senate vote that, “I’m excited, I’m excited.” He further added that “A lot of folks around the state are looking forward to clarity on the issue — and the ability to grow and participate in industrial hemp.”
Controversy Surrounding CBD
Both marijuana and hemp fall under the same cannabis plant family. However, hemp has low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC which is the psychoactive compound infamous for making us feel high following its consumption. Hemp has been removed by the federal government from its list of controlled substances and a similar move was replicated in Texas last month.
Unlike the 42 other states, Texas has not opted for industrial hemp production. Products having any form of THC content is still deemed to be illegal in Texas as the state law has defined both hemp and marijuana in similar lines. The only exception to this general philosophy happens when hemp or marijuana is used in accordance with the state medical cannabis laws.
What To Expect Next
A federally approved program is expected to be set up by the King’s bill for Texas farmers so that they can grow hemp as a crop. This shall include procedures of sampling, testing, and inspection. All hemp or hemp-derived products having less than 0.3% THC content will also receive the green signal of being legally purchased in Texas. CBD or cannabidiol will receive a legal standing once the bill turns into law and provided it contains a low level of THC
What About Marijuana
Marijuana, however, shall still remain illegal. This fact was especially underlined by the senators during Wednesday’s debate. Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, enquired the bill sponsor, “Can this stuff be smoked?” before adding that, “Nowadays people smoke anything.” Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, answered negatively to this question stating that the bill expressly prohibits both manufacture and processing of hemp products which are meant to be smoked. He further added that retailers who are selling CBD products meant for human consumption need specific registration with the state.
Perry was backed up in this point by his fellow Republicans. Sen. Pete Flores, R-San Antonio said, “This is no slippery slope toward marijuana.” GOP Sen. Charles Schwertner of Georgetown pointed out that, “I want to clarify so the people of Texas know — this is not legalized marijuana.”
Perry feels that this bill is going to tremendously help farmers who can cash in on this craze for producing this drought-resistant crop. He was quoted as saying that, “When Texas does something and does it right, we usually become the market leaders.” Once this bill becomes a solid law, this will mark a meaningful change in hemp and marijuana legislation of Texas. Although this particular bill marks the beginning of a paradigm change in the cannabis industry, various other bills for expanding medical cannabis laws of the state and bringing down penalties for marijuana possession are in the pipeline of being implicated.
New Zealand to become the first Asian-Pacific Country to legalize medicinal marijuana
The world is shouting out loud for legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes! From the western skies of the United States to the royal United Kingdom’s and every member in between is deciding whether to make cannabis legal or not.
New Zealanders will be voting on cannabis legalization in a referendum next year. The draft law under consideration would permit people over the age of 20 to legally purchase the drug. The referendum will be held during the 2020 general election, the government announced on Tuesday.
Justice Minister Andrew Little said that the vote would be binding, but it will ultimately be in the hands of the next administration whether they want to enact the legislation or not.
Outline of the leaked cannabis paper for 2020 referendum
Andrew said that the voters would be asked a simple ‘Yes/No’ question on the basis of a draft piece of legislation. Questions in the draft would include some important things that will be considered after the legalisation of cannabis like-
- The minimum age for using and purchasing recreational cannabis.
- Regulatory framework and commercial supply controls, maintaining a balance in cannabis use and sales to licensed premises.
- Marketing reforms about cannabis-based products and their advertising.
- Checks on home-grown and private cultivation of cannabis.
- A public education program to discuss about the safe use of cannabis for medical purposes and reduce the stigma associated with it.
These points were drawn from what seems to be the leaked cannabis paper which will be discussed in the referendum. It outlines the crucial points for discussion and voting, and also talks about the questions that will be asked in the referendum.
Paula Bennett, National’s Drug Reform spokesperson said that the cabinet will consider all the 4 questions laid out in the Cannabis paper, however it seems that irrespective of what option is chosen by the legislative, it will have huge loop holes. These loop holes will need to be filled in and taken care of before they adversely affect the consumers.
The leaked paper is quite light on the details and discusses about cannabis legalization briefly. It doesn’t talk about taxation imposed on marijuana, fiscal revenues related to the drug, consumption and distribution regulation and many other important things.
If the reform fails next year, cannabis legalization would be put on hold for another good amount of years making users wait and patients suffer.
Biggest opportunity for cannabis legalization reforms
Andrew said that the coalition government was committed “to a health-based approach to drugs, to minimize harm and take control away from criminals.” The referendum would bring more clarity on the subject. In fact, it was part of a confidence and supply agreement the Green party negotiated with the governing Labour party.
Green Party MP, Chloe Swarbrick said that the vote presented the “greatest opportunity for cannabis law reform our country has seen in 40 years.” She further added that the draft legislation will outline concise and clear regulatory regime to avoid any potential of a ‘Brexit’ situation because people will know how their actions would change the future course of action and how these changes will be implemented in their lives.
What if a the majority votes are a ‘yes’?
The situation about cannabis legalization is quite dicey in New Zealand, even if the motion gets majority votes to legalize cannabis, it is not imperative that the laws would be implemented right away. It could probably take years before the laws are enacted and come into action.
Andrew said that the voters choice would be binding because all the parties that form up the current government have committed to respect the outcome from the voting. Butthe poll is scheduled to take place during the 2020 election, which means it will be a new parliament that will finally decide whether to legalize cannabis or not. The opposition centre-right National Party has not yet said whether it will honor the referendum for cannabis legalization or not.
After the federal law which created a statutory defense for terminally ill patients to use cannabis without the fear of getting arrested or charged, New Zealand is also on its way to incorporate cannabis in their structure. A majority of ‘Yes’ votes in the next year’s referendum could make New Zealand the first Asian-Pacific country to approve of marijuana for recreational purposes.
Retailers Walk The Safe Path With CBD Infused Beauty Products
Mainstream retail agents are slowly opening up to the vast possibilities of CBD or cannabidiol for manufacturing beauty and wellness products. CBD is extracted out of hemp and does not cause a high like that of marijuana. These products are gaining record popularity amidst legal confusions for being of great assistance in helping tackle sleep problems and reducing anxiety.
Although the legal status of CBD remains under a veil of confusion, retailers are trying to reap the biggest benefits out of this booming industry. As per Investment firm Cowen & Co., retail sales of CBD consumer products are estimated to have crossed over $2 billion in 2018. This figure is expected to hit the $16 billion mark within 2025.
CBD Future Plans
Growing demand has led to a market filled with CBD infused offerings ranging from bath balms to dog treats in the past few months. Martha Stewart a domestic diva has been associating for the past few months with Canada’s Canopy Growth Corp. for coming up with fresh bunch of CBD products.
Simon Property Group, one of the nation’s largest mall owner collaborated with a manufacturer of CBD goods to open around 100 kiosks within mid-summer in its U.S. malls. Similarly, Authentic Fitness is targeting the fall months for launching its CBD oils, foot creams and soaps under the brand name of Nine West. CVS Health is also going to initiate the sale of CBD-infused lotions, creams, salves and sprays in its 800 plus stores sprawling across its seven states. Its big-time rivals Rite Aid and Walgreens are also expected to follow suit in days to come.
The high-end CBD retailers can charge anything ranging from $12-$150 per ounce for their offerings. While Barneys New York has sprung up an outlet in Beverly Hills, California for selling CBD-infused creams apart from accessories like hand blown glass bongs, Neiman Marcus has added to its existing product line-up with five new CBD-infused lotion soaps, balms and masks.
Matthew Mazzucca, the creative director at Barneys New York was quoted as saying that, “There’s definitely a huge opportunity for expansion.” However, he was aware of the legal hurdles which can slow down the entire process.
Brands like Walmart are placing a safe bet by waiting for accompanying legislation to take shape. Target on the other hand is currently monitoring the situation. It is imperative note here that Target sold products having hemp extracts in 2017 but yanked them once the legislative setup started getting heated up.
Online giant Amazon is also steering clear of CBD related products as of now. According to its spokeswoman Cecilia Fan, the company presently prohibits the sale of CBD-infused products and remove them as and when the same gets posted on their portal.
CBD is known to treat anxiety and pain while also assisting people suffering from sleep deficiency so that they can concentrate more on upcoming work. However, most of these studies were conducted on mice and rats in test tubes which creates serious doubt regarding its authenticity and applicability on humans. Although research has also been conducted on humans, the number is not substantial enough.
Drugs which have passed the scrutiny of U.S. Food and Drug Administration can be marked as completely safe and effective means of preventing diseases and treating medical conditions. But in many cases, CBD-manufacturers try to trick the general public by beating around the bush with misleading and confusing words.
Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist and professor at Golden Gate University in San Francisco feels that, “We are a more anxious society and people are looking for cures. There’s a growing distrust in business and pharma and so people are wanting to find cures that seem more real and wholesome.”
Former food scientist from Indianapolis, 46-year-old Amy Nichols has been using CBD oils for fighting various symptoms of an autoimmune illness for quite some time now. “For me, this is a more natural solution to treating symptoms that I am having instead of taking pain killers,” added Nichols who is presently working as a sales representative of the CBD oil brand which she has been using for health benefits. “I have more energy. I get more done. I am in less pain. I am more active,” she happily concludes.
Patchy Legislative Framework
The regulatory framework pertaining to CBD has been varying between states and cities. The regulators of New York city have completely prohibited outlets from selling CBD-infused beverages and foods. Retailers have also been threatened with levy of hefty fines if they break the guidelines by any chance. States like California and Ohio have also followed suit.
The governor of Maine on the other hand has signed an emergency bill for showing a green signal to the production of CBD-infused products after warnings were given by state inspectors for pulling them off shelves earlier this year. A farm bill was passed in the latter half of last year which gave regulatory authority to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and several of its states to regulate the production of industrial hemp thus opening the floodgate for production of more hemp-derived CBD products.
However, FDA was given the ultimate authority to regulate food supply. The agency recently warned about the illegality of adding THC or CBD to any form of animal or human food or beverages. Even dietary supplements with CBD infusions have been branded with an illegal tag.
Bigger market players like Walgreens and CVS have decided to go ahead with lotions and creams as FDA has not expressed any concern in this department. Others are taking a chance and selling CBD-infused supplements and drinks with the hope of earning profit. Whitt Steineker, a Birmingham, Alabama, attorney feels that,“They have determined the reward is worth the risk.”
Although the landscape of CBD future still remains unclear with further scope of guidance and rules for being written, Steineker holds the view that, “Now that hemp is legal, I think the USDA and state departments of agriculture are interested in seeing what type of crop it will be and what its applications are. They’ll move with the speed governments often move with … (but) by the 2020 growing season, people will have a better understanding how to operate within the law.”
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