A Lehigh County resident is put behind bars following a cannabis test that showed above allowable THC level on his deliverable goods, causing confusion on hemp legalization in the state of Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania State Police seized suspicious package reeking of the distinct marijuana smell last February 27 and April 4. The said goods were shipped from an Allentown business address of a certain Kenneth Grossman, which was set to be received at a New York address.
Law enforcers found unknown substances filled in packets and jars, which they suspected to contain cannabidiol or CBD. The CBD is a chemical derived from hemp flower, which contains medicinal properties like pain relief.
CBD in Pennsylvania
Despite the Food and Drug Administration still tying strings for CBD regulation, several pharmacies and stores in Pennsylvania are already selling CBD-infused items like sweets, lotions, and sprays.
Although CBD is known to be non-psychoactive, the samples that were found to contain THC, the chemical responsible for a marijuana user’s high.
Hemp, which is sourced from the same plant species as marijuana, is considered a legal crop provided that it only has trace THC amount of less than 0.3%.
More about the Case
Standard police field test for suspicious goods only determine THC presence and not the concentration.
Grossman’s storage unit and vehicle were searched by police last May 29; some of the items seized include CBD-containing candies and other CBD products.
Drug-sniffing dog from Pennsylvania police pinned the storage unit, and the sample sent to the laboratory came back positive. It was noted that the inventory sheet did not mention marijuana or THC.
Grossman was seized and charged on account of criminal conspiracy relating to illegal substances.
Detailed lab reports and product packaging later revealed that the THC on the products didn’t go over 0.3% allowable amount. Jordan Sonka, a police trooper, stated during the trial that he cannot verify the truth in such claims.
Grossman’s son Jason introduced his father to CBD. Grossman doubted the chemical’s legality, but Jason insisted that the laws have recently changed. They attended a number of trade shows and planned to acquire a warehouse for later use.
Both father and son told Sonka upon interrogation that they were in the early phase of establishing a wholesale distribution enterprise for CBD products.
Neither of them was a hemp cultivator but are only resellers, ordering products from a certain Jamal who was also only a distributor from Oregon who bought his supplies from local farmers.
Sonka stated that the Grossman’s retailers were mainly gas stations and stores in the locale, and as well as to New York and DC connections. He also questioned the legality of the Grossman’s business, New Labs, due to lack of registration details in police databases and internet search.
However, the suspects’ Attorney James Heidecker was able to present a business license from Allentown during a preliminary trial last June. Heidecker made snide remarks on Snoka for failing to check the business’ validity in Allentown, where the accused actually resided.
Gray Areas in the Field Test
Hemp sat at the federal government’s Controlled Substances roster for a long time, despite it not having psychotropic traits. It was only after the 2018 Farm Bill that industrial hemp got delisted and instated as an agricultural crop.
However, one case from Idaho still saw a trucker hauling hemp from Oregon being arrested after a drug-sniffing dog and field test showed positive for THC.
These methods are currently rendered impractical, as a simple test strip cannot gauge the THC level of a product, states National Hemp Association Chairman Geoffrey Whaling. He further stated that the state should clarify its law on controlled substance law to clear up the air regarding hemp legalization.
Although the bill to permit hemp-infused products is yet to be taken up, hemp cultivators from the state are protected by the existing mandate in relation to the Farm Bill.
Before a farmer is allowed to grow hemp, they must be licensed, their plants tested for THC levels, and their fields tracked with GPS coordinates.
On the other hand, no permits are needed to sell and trade hemp products.
Massachusetts Raises Regulations in Light of CBD Craze
Many people are lauding CBD as a wonder remedy especially for pets, but as much as CBD or cannabidiol oil is enjoying explosive popularity these days, so do regulations get set in stone.
Some known CBD products have been banned recently in Massachusetts, which led to a lot of surprise and confusion not only to pet owners but also local farmers who cultivate and harvest Cannabis sativa, the source plant from which CBD is derived.
Local Entrepreneur’s Plight
Business partners Andrew Wilkinson and Adam Souza told Boston25 News that they were supposedly a couple of months away from their first harvest of industrial hemp. They have been researching the industry for a time and made several surprising discoveries along the way.
Wilkinson and Souza learned that there was a lot to be uncovered regarding the cultivation of hemp, which is where CBD is derived from. It seems like the growers are at a standstill, what with half the farmers unable to plant their crop in a 750-acre, government-approved land for hemp.
This occurrence may be attributed to the fact that recently rolled out state regulations indicate that most commercially saleable CBD-containing products are banned from being sold. These include food that is mixed with CBD and as well as consumable CBD-infused items that are claiming medicinal or therapeutic effects.
Pet CBD Industry Affected
Some popular CBD oil products for pets are affected by the ban, too.
Angell Animal Medical Center Veterinarian Virginia Sinnott-Stutzman stated that most pet owners use CBD oil for virtually any condition such as urinary incontinence, seizures, and anxiety, among others.
She reiterated, however, that CBD oil does not have any clinical proof relating to the efficacy of such product for animals.
Dr. Sinnott-Stutzman further added that some of the claimed positive results by pet owners are mostly due to CBD’s placebo effect. This is the involvement of a user’s belief in the substance’s ability to cure an ailment.
This rings true for pet owners who firmly believe that their pet’s condition improved after using CBD oil.
CBD oil might be a flourishing product in the pet industry, but it also finds a place in other markets, as Souza and Wilkinson asserts. CBD-infused products like salves, lotions, bath bombs, and cartridges are also fairly available for commercial use.
Wilkinson added that local farmers are deeply affected with such crippling regulations; however, they also cannot do anything save waiting for a turnaround.
Cannabidiol or CBD is a non-psychoactive derivative of Cannabis sativa, the same source plant from which marijuana is made from. It recently became legalized in many states following the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill into law.
Although the regulations surrounding CBD is hazy, particularly since the FDA has warned against the consumption of CBD-infused products, many supporters are hoping to get fairer and clearer guidelines regarding the said substance.
Currently, CBD in Massachusetts is a topic of confusion, but it can be noted that CBD stores popping up everywhere.
Under the Federal law of the US, CBD oil extracted from hemp is legal.
Jersey Hemp First CBD Company Allowed in the British Isles to Produce CBD Oil from Hemp Flower Legally
History was recently made when a Jersey grower became the first and only British company to secure a license that allows them to harvest hemp flower to produce CBD.
Jersey Hemp is currently the only company to receive a green light from the government to harvest the flower of industrial hemp.
This license permits Jersey Hemp to procure hemp flowers to be harvested, processed and stored for cannabidiol or CBD extraction.
The company is the first of its kind to be granted a license in the British Isles, which was issued to give way to CBD production for different markets such as in food, nutrition, and cosmetics.
Jersey Hemp Statement
The license details an allowable estimate of 30 to 40 tons of dry hemp flowers in a year for the company, which is forecasted to have a 3% to 5% CBD concentration.
The Jersey Hemp spokesperson stated that the license would allow the company to compete with other internationally inclined commercial producers and manufacturers from Eastern Europe, Americas and China, wherein all CBD and its related products being sold in the UK usually come from.
The spokesman further said that for three years and a half, Jersey Hemp has cultivated and processed industrial hemp. This year, the company anticipates its third cultivation and the very first to involve hemp flowers.
Senator Lyndon Farnham, Jersey Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture said that she is delighted that the Government of Jersey has chosen Jersey Hemp as the first to receive the said license.
She further stated that the license provides an important economic opportunity for the British Isles. She noted how this significant event allows the island to begin the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp for CBD extraction, which is already a growing market in the UK and the rest of the world.
The locally produced hemp and CBD extraction allow the island to secure a place in the cannabidiol sector, which makes for reliable and controlled CBD supply that is a representative of the locality.
Farnham reiterated that Jersey has significant potential in the CBD market and that the said license is just proof of how they position themselves in the CBD industry, which they intend to excel at, particularly in areas of production, genetics, research, and intellectual assets.
More About CBD
Cannabidiol or CBD is a product derived from the cannabis plant, which can contain tetrahydrocannabinol but with a much lower level than that of marijuana. These are only a few of almost 100 different chemical compounds and cannabinoids in the plant.
CBD is currently trending in the UK and internationally because of users’ testimonies highlighting the efficacy of the said substance. However, there are not many known clinical trials that can prove the claims of such products.
As of writing, the only known legal cannabis-infused drug is Epidiolex, which is a purified liquid with CBD, which is used to treat epilepsy in both adults and children.
Texas Unable to Seize Marijuana Users Due to Rising Hemp Popularity
The Texas government has a made it clear that the bill they recently passed permits growing and selling hemp, but excludes the legalization of cannabis in the provisions.
Charles Perry, Republican senator, and sponsor to the said bill have stated that marijuana talks had no slippery slope, in an interview with the Dallas Morning News last May.
However, the bill signed into law by Greg Abbott last June has prompted prosecutors all over the state to drop charges on marijuana possession. They are also unwilling to press new charges due to the lack of laboratory paraphernalia to test for THC levels and distinguish marijuana from hemp.
Texas prosecutors have a huge jurisdiction between themselves—Houston, San Antonio, and Austin—that covers 1/3 of the state’s population, or over 9 million people.
Hemp-derived products have become a hot commodity that incidents such as this cause unintended leniency towards implementing the law. As states continue to take advantage of the growing opportunities to cash in, so does it give birth to consequences like the Texas prosecution is in.
CBD oils, gummy sweets, and other CBD-infused items are all the rage these days. These are processed from the same plant species as the marijuana but without the psychoactive properties that induce drug dependency.
Hemp Legalization is the Root of the Issue
Prosecutors and law enforcers in Florida are facing a similar dilemma after state laws recognize hemp as a legal product back in July.
Houston Forensic Science Center President Peter Stout claims that it’s not only Texas that struggles with cases like this.
Numerous cases have been dropped following the law, which involves more than simple misdemeanors. As of late, 32 cases of felony possession and marijuana delivery were dismissed, announced by Margaret Moore, district attorney for Travis County.
State officials including Abbot and the attorney general said the prosecutors should stop dropping cases just because of the House Bill 1325.
A letter to the prosecution office penned by Republican politicians stated that there is no decriminalization of Marijuana in Texas, and therefore finds no cause in the issue surrounding HB 1325.
Baseless Reasons for Leniency
Harris County’s District Attorney Kim Ogg insisted that one definite requirement for proving someone guilty of possession is a laboratory confirmation.
Prior to the legislative order, presence of cannabinoids was determined on marijuana flowers using a test strip. It takes only a few minutes, and the strip would turn purple if positive for cannabinoids.
Prosecutors defended that testing for all of the state’s marijuana charges would likely overwhelm the few labs available. Furthermore, prosecutors claimed that this would cause severe backlogs. Nevertheless, several prosecutors still go through with marijuana cases as per usual.
El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza declared that no cases were dropped following the legislation, as it does not have any effect in trials for possession of the illegal drug.
On the other hand, the issue has been a positive turnaround for people with felony charges.
Fort Bend county lawyer Brandon Ball said a client thanked him for the dismissal of her possession charges, although Ball insisted that it wasn’t his doing but the hemp legalization law.
The Bill further stated that test results are significant in trials since it could prove the suspect’s guilt and validity of the case.
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