Cannabidiol, or CBD oil, is no longer considered to be marijuana in Michigan under a new legal framework created by the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill and a state law that takes effect this March.
Instead of categorizing “all things green and smelly” by default as marijuana, the federal government has defined that the cannabis sativa L. plant that has less than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight as hemp, said Michael Komorn, a lawyer and president of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association.
Yet state officials have not yet determined how it will be regulated.
CBD oil is typically derived from hemp — though it can be derived from marijuana — and contains less than 0.3 percent THC, the active component in cannabis that makes someone high. CBD oil is rising in popularity for treatment of pain, anxiety and depression.
“CBD and other cannabinoids extracted from the plant are not criminalized anymore but would be subject to FDA regulations,” Komorn said.
In May 2018 officials at the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs announced that they regarded CBD oil as marijuana — which sparked backlash from users, who didn’t like the idea of getting a medical marijuana card just to buy a product that contained relatively no THC.
State Rep. Steve Johnson, R-Wayland, sponsored a law to change that — as a number of his constituents complained. Johnson’s law — House Bill 6331 — takes effect in March, and he said it means CBD oil should be treated as hemp. The law was a companion to House Bill 6330, which creates a framework for a hemp farming program in Michigan.
Hemp regulation is in the hands of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, which is tasked with rolling out a hemp farming registration program as required by the new federal law.
However, the agriculture department referred all questions regarding CBD oil to the licensing and regulatory affairs department, LARA.
LARA is still sorting through differing legal definitions of hemp in state laws and has yet to issue any advice as to how it will regulate CBD oil in the future. The department has dropped all references to CBD oil in its online materials, and did not include HB 6331 in its legal update it issued last week.
There still may be more laws needed in Michigan to clarify the industrial hemp program and CBD, according to Johnson.
“I think we’re going to make some changes in Michigan to accommodate the Farm Bill,” Johnson said.
Hemp farming in Michigan — though there has been high interest — may face its own delays.
Even though the new state law became effective Jan. 15, Michigan officials can’t start issuing registrations or hemp licenses until their state program is approved by the USDA.
“The current partial federal government shut down may result in additional delays in receiving approval,” reads a statement on the state’s hemp website.
“It seems very unlikely they’ll get to the farmers in time to put their crops in the ground this year,” Komorn said.
Post time: Jan-23-2019