Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is a plant that contains over 100 different compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The legal status of marijuana varies greatly across the world and has undergone significant changes in recent years.
At the federal level in the United States, marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970. This classification means that marijuana is considered to have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use. As a result, the possession, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana are illegal under federal law.
However, many states have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use. As of 2021, 36 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use, and 15 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Additionally, several states have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, meaning that possession is considered a civil infraction rather than a criminal offense.
The legal status of marijuana at the state level has led to a complex legal landscape. The Rohrabacher–Farr amendment, a federal spending bill rider, prohibits federal prosecutors from using funds to interfere with state medical cannabis programs, but it has been repeatedly renewed as part of larger spending bills. However, this amendment does not protect recreational use and marijuana businesses operating in states where it is legal.
In addition, the Cole Memorandum, a policy issued by the Obama Administration, instructed federal prosecutors to refrain from targeting state-legal marijuana operations. However, the current administration has rescinded the Cole Memorandum, leaving it unclear how the federal government will enforce federal marijuana laws in states where it is legal.
Marijuana and hemp are both varieties of the cannabis plant, but they have distinct differences in their chemical composition, legal status, and uses.
The main difference between marijuana and hemp is their THC content. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive compound found in cannabis that is responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana use. Marijuana plants typically contain high levels of THC, typically above 0.3%. In contrast, hemp plants contain very low levels of THC, typically below 0.3%.
Another difference between marijuana and hemp is their CBD content. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis that has been found to have therapeutic benefits. Both marijuana and hemp plants can contain CBD, but hemp plants typically have higher levels of CBD than marijuana plants.
Hemp was removed from the CSA in the 2018 Farm Bill, and hemp cultivation is now legal under federal law.
All of Small Axe products, as of Jan 2022 are made from US grown hemp and are shipped to all 50 states.