The cannabis industry, has been growing significantly in recent years as legalization has progressed in many states, with it having passed legislation for recreational use and more states likely following suit. The farm bill was passed early a year ago which allowed cannabidiol (CBD) to be permitted federally as long as my was from hemp.
Telling the difference between hemp and marijuana
One of the biggest challenges for the industry is that telling hemp apart from CBD can be almost impossible since the plant looks the same. And that’s made it more difficult for law enforcement to determine whether someone is transporting hemp or cannabis. Truck drivers are especially vulnerable and have gotten into legal trouble for transporting hemp because it isn’t easy for law enforcement to tell the difference between hemp and marijuana.
A recent study from the new York Times outlined another problem distinguishing the two. Id someone consumes CBD, a drug test could still could still come back positive for THC. In one of the examples, one gummy bears infused with with CBD was sufficient for someone to test positive for THC. This means users could be taking on sufficient risks by consuming medical marijuana, which is legal in over 30 states. As they still fail a drug test for THC and face criminal charges in a state where recreational pot is legal.
Having some levels of THC can be unavoidable in many types of CBD products, and whether you test positive for THC simply come down to the accuracy of the test that’s being administered.
Need for a reliable procedure is significant
There a real need for an accurate and reliable testing method to determine whether someone has consumed hemp, low levels of CBD, or THC. Id consumers don’t feel safe taking CBD products, the industry’s demand and growth is in jeopardy. And as long as THC isn’t completely legal across the entire country, then the issue isnt going to go away.
Even in canada, where marijuana has been legal for over a year, testing for roadside impairment continues to be a big issue today. Even though there’s a sativa-based test that’s been approved, there are still questions around its effectiveness and accuracy.
Major impact for companies getting in on the hemp haze
Hemp products, because of their low thc content, dont give users a high and are safer to use, which is a key reason why hemp has been legalized federally through the farm bill. If instances of CBD products causing problems for users become more prevalent, it could call into question the potential growth of the cannabis industry.
One company that is looking to take advantage of the growing hemp market is Cronos Group (NASDAQ:CRON). In August, the Canadian-based pot producer acquired Lord Jones , a company that makes a variety of CBD products, effectively giving Cronos a strong footprint im the U.S.
Cronos’ aggressive strategy for CBD got investors very excited about the stocks potential. Unfortunately, since the deal was announced in August, the stock has fallen more than 40% as pot stocks as a whole have struggled, largely due to the concerns relating fo the lack of profitability in the industry. Thats why there’s a lot at stake not just for Cronos, but dor other cannabis companies that are looking to tap into the hemp market, which could be much safer growth option for cannabis producers.