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Disproportionate Impact of Drug Laws on Hemp and Cannabis

Disproportionate Impact of Drug Laws on Hemp and Cannabis

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    As society progresses, regulations and drug laws on hemp and cannabis should ideally keep pace, ensuring alignment with evolving values and needs. Yet, a troubling disjunction has emerged, where the rigidity of legal frameworks struggles to match the dynamic contours of societal progress. Nowhere is this disparity more evident than in the realms of hemp and cannabis, where outdated laws risk impeding growth and perpetuating injustices.

    Navigating the twists and turns of US legislation surrounding cannabis can be confusing. The US has witnessed shifts from the early taxation of marijuana to its classification as a controlled substance at the federal level. Now, with most states legalizing cannabis in some capacity—whether for medical use, recreation, or decriminalization—the question arises: do these changes go far enough?

    Key Points About the 2018 Farm Bill

    Disproportionate Impact of Drug Laws on Hemp and Cannabis

    The Hemp Dilemma: Is CBD a Drug?

    Hemp, being very similar to cannabis, stands as a beacon of versatility and sustainability, celebrated for its multifaceted applications and eco-friendly qualities. Yet, despite its non-psychoactive nature, hemp remains entangled in a web of legal ambiguity. The 2018 Farm Bill marked a significant milestone, granting CBD newfound legitimacy and catapulting it into the mainstream consciousness. However, the regulatory spotlight has largely fixated on Delta 9 THC, leaving other cannabinoids, such as Delta 8 and HHC, in a legal gray area.

    As the research into novel cannabinoids accelerates, lawmakers find themselves grappling with the urgent task of crafting regulations to navigate this rapidly evolving terrain. Adding to the confusion, many states have varied regulations for hemp products even if they allow for recreational cannabis too. States can decide on whether any THC is allowed with hemp products and may even limit the types of products, such as vapes or edibles, to be allowed as well.

    The 2018 Farm Bill marked a significant milestone, granting CBD newfound legitimacy and catapulting it into federal legality.

    Social Justice Issues in the Hemp Industry

    Adding onto the issues surrounding hemp and cannabis comes with racial disparities in arrests and incarceration rates underscoring systemic biases within our criminal justice system, perpetuating cycles of poverty and disenfranchisement. Moreover, there are still issues when it comes to employers requiring drug testing for hiring as well as those who are still serving time in prisons due to cannabis infractions that occurred before any laws had changed. According to prisionpoliicy.org in 2024, 1 out of 5 incarcerated people are locked up for a drug offenses.

    Amidst these challenges, voices of advocacy rise, advocating for reform and social justice. Grassroots movements spearhead the charge for equitable drug policies, demanding an end to punitive measures that perpetuate injustice. Legal challenges and legislative efforts echo these sentiments, striving to dismantle the structural barriers entrenched within our current system.

    Incarceration rates underscore systemic biases within our criminal justice system, perpetuating cycles of poverty and disenfranchisement.

    Bridging the Gap in Drug Laws on Hemp

    Moving forward, the focus must stay on fairness and justice in drug policy. Decriminalization, along with reinvesting in communities, offers hope for marginalized groups, and continued education is vital for dispelling myths and ending the stigma around drug use. But real change requires everyone to come together, advocating for policies that uphold social justice and human rights. 

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    CEO | Craig Henderson

    Extract Labs CEO Craig Henderson is one of the country’s top experts in cannabis CO2 extraction. After serving in the U.S. Army, Henderson received his master’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Louisville before becoming a sales engineer at one of the nation’s leading extraction technology companies. Sensing an opportunity, Henderson began extracting CBD in his garage in 2016, putting him at the forefront of the hemp movement. He’s been featured in Rolling StoneMilitary TimesThe Today Show, High Times, the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies, and many more. 

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