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2024 Cannabis Legality Update


There are a number of changes taking place across the national landscape this year. From Federal rescheduling of cannabis to multiple state legalization efforts, as well as the DEA's focus on hemp derived cannabinoids.


Federal Rescheduling of Cannabis

 

There is a strong expectation that cannabis will be rescheduled from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act. This will not change a person's access to cannabis federally as much as it is anticipated for cannabis businesses to have increased access to banking and financial services with the addition of potential tax benefits by eliminating some of the current restrictions.

 

Hemp in front of American Flag
Cannabis Legalization in 2024

State Legalization Efforts

 

Ohio has legalized recreational cannabis, becoming the 24th state to do so. This change is expected to influence bordering states and puts the United States one step closer towards federal legalization with almost half of the 50 states choosing to legalize recreational cannabis.

 

Minnesota (the 23rd legalized state) is preparing for its launch of adult-use cannabis sales during the first quarter of 2025. Recreational consumers will be allowed to purchase and possess up to two ounces of flower and store up to two pounds at home.

 

Midwest and East Coast states such as Nebraska, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire are also considering legalization measures, with potential ballot initiatives this year. This trend shows continued support for expansion of legal cannabis markets across the United States.

 

 Hemp Derived Cannabinoids

 

There are efforts to regulate hemp-derived cannabinoids like Delta-8, Delta-10, and THCA more strictly, potentially integrating them into the same regulatory framework as cannabis-derived cannabinoids. This could involve closing loopholes in the 2018 Farm Bill that currently allow these products to be sold in states where recreational and medicinal cannabis is not legal yet.

 

Recently, the DEA clarified that THCA does not meet the legal definition of hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill. According to their interpretation, THCA must be counted towards the total THC concentration when assessing compliance with the bill's requirement of 0.3% delta-9 THC on a dry weight basis. This decision effectively treats THCA, which converts to delta-9 THC when heated, as equivalent to delta-9 THC itself.

 

The 2018 Farm Bill does not specify the required type of lab testing for THC levels. Currently, two main methods are used: liquid and gas chromatography. Gas chromatography converts THCA into THC during testing, potentially categorizing many hemp products labeled as THCA as THC products instead. Conversely, liquid chromatography preserves cannabinoids in their original state, allowing products labeled as THCA to remain compliant if they contain under 0.3% delta-9 THC. The outcome of this ruling remains uncertain, with potential legal challenges ahead regarding the labeling and sale of THCA products as “hemp-derived."


With a bright legalization frontier ahead of us, we will have plenty more cannabis updates coming soon.



Written by Jason L. Knox

July 2nd, 2024



References


Federal Rescheduling

 

 

 

 

State Legalization Efforts

 

 

 

Hemp Derived Cannabinoids

 

 

 


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