Law enforcement balks at Hemp revolution for all the wrong reasons

These aren't the flower tops you're looking for, move along:

"Law enforcement cannot discern the difference between smokable hemp and marijuana, and our State Crime Lab cannot discern the difference because they can't discern the level of the THC that it contains," Peg Dorer, director of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, told members of the Senate Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources committee on Thursday.

The farm bill would create a presumption in state law that licensed hemp farmers aren't growing marijuana, but Dorer said that creates a loophole that would basically legalize marijuana in the state. "Law enforcement will not be able to seize or arrest for marijuana because they can't tell, and prosecutors will have a very difficult time and will not be able to prosecute any violations of marijuana laws," she said.

Um, good? Prosecutors are already looking at a mountain of prior convictions that will need to be re-evaluated and expunged once marijuana is decriminalized, the last thing they need to be doing is adding to that pile. As far as police are concerned, this could actually make their jobs easier, and free them up to pursue violent criminals (you know, rapists and murderers and such). And here's another obvious truism: Decriminalization or outright legalization of marijuana for recreational use will decouple the kind bud from the supply chains of other narcotics like opioids and cocaine, better isolating the purveyors of such. On a separate but related note, I was not aware that smokable hemp even existed, but it's apparently a pretty big deal:

Farmer Lori Lacy told lawmakers that she had never heard of smokable flowers before she started growing hemp in rural Macon County. But now, they're key to her bottom line.

"I don't want our infrastructure, everything we've done to this point, to go away," Lacy said. "I will have to fire people or let them go. I will not have positions that I currently have for people that are working for me right now."

Rod Leary said smokable hemp flowers are keeping his third-generation greenhouse business going. A ban would close his doors, he said.

"It was a concern because there's so many contracts out there that we have, and we worry about it crippling our business," Leary said.

For what it's worth, Nicotine derived from tobacco (nightshade family) is a Parasympathomimetic Alkaloid that serves as a stimulant, and can play hell with your autonomic system. It can also be used as a deadly poison in highly-concentrated form. In other words, smoking hemp flower tops is likely a lot more safe than cracking open a pack of Marlboros.




It's a tough situation for the farmers if they are counting on making their money on folks smoking hemp. Most of the folks I know who've tried it (including myself) found it moderately amusing for fifteen seconds, but not amusing enough to try more. It has no addictive properties, so I don't think it will be a long term economic boon for this use. I'm very disappointed that more aren't getting into the less sexy but truly "industrial" reasons for growing hemp:

Unfortunately I see the SBI's point - it is difficult to tell them apart, and some folks may have bought the hemp flower and recycled the packaging for their kind bud. Legalize marijuana for adult use, and folks will be able to smoke/vape/eat whichever cultivar of the plant they choose from .03% THC to 20% THC - check out some of the shops in California where you can really choose your ratio! None of us are free while some of us are chained...

Sadly, there are folks who are more outraged that folks are being arrest for possession of hemp than they have ever been over the ~33,000 charged annually for possession of >1/2 oz of marijuana.

Ann Twitty Caughran