In early April, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he will soon introduce legislation that could legalize hemp in the United States and make it an agricultural commodity.
“It’s now time to take the final step and make this a legal crop,” McConnell said in a statement to lawmakers in his home state of Kentucky. If the legislation passes, McConnell noted, hemp will be removed from the controlled substances list.
So, does that mean marijuana will be legalized? Put simply no, because it’s an entirely different crop. Keep reading to learn more about the key differences between hemp and marijuana if this legislation gets enough “yey” votes.
What exactly is hemp?
Hemp is a genetic cousin to marijuana and both live within the cannabis family, but there are a few key differences in the two plants.
While marijuana may contain higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), AKA the stuff that gets you high, hemp contains little to none. Sadly, because all types of cannabis were added to the Controlled Substances Act in 1970 both hemp and marijuana were made illegal to produce, sell, and consume on a federal level.
So, can I get high off of hemp?
No, you can’t. As the Ministry of Hemp noted, the average batch of marijuana contains anywhere from 5-20 percent THC. Hemp, however, has a max THC level of 0.3 percent. Furthermore, hemp has super high cannabidiol (CBD) content, meaning you’d have to smoke a whole field at once to get a buzz because CBD typically counteracts the effects of THC.
Does hemp look like marijuana?
Sort of, but not enough to confuse the two. Hemp is tall and skinny, with thin leaves. Marijuana is a shorter, fat bush with broad leaves.
Can hemp and marijuana be grown in the same place?
No, not really. Hemp, Dan Sutton of Tantulus Labs told Leaf Science, is typically grown outside in large fields while marijuana must be carefully cultivated in specifically-designed environments with stable light, temperature, humidity, and more, to ensure it grows.
What is hemp generally used for?
Literally anything. From food to plastics to ropes and more hemp has a plethora of uses that make it valuable to both humans, the environment, and the free market.
So, is hemp good for me?
Absolutely. Hemp is great for you from the inside out including as skin care for its moisturizing properties and for its seeds and their high nutritional value. So go ahead and support a Republican who wants to help legalize hemp. It’s a step in the right–and bipartisan–direction.