by Brenée Goforth
Media Manager & Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
This week, Carolina Journal’s Kari Travis reported on a new development in the laws surrounding hemp. Travis writes:
You can’t criminalize smokable hemp, a federal judge has told Indiana lawmakers. The decision could affect North Carolina.
Judge Sarah Evans Barker, from Indiana’s Southern District, wrote Sept. 13 in a preliminary injunction that a Hoosier law preventing the manufacture, finance, delivery, and possession of smokable hemp is overridden by the federal farm act of 2018. That bill, signed into law by President Trump in December, removed hemp from the federal list of controlled substances.
Travis says the law struck down by the court in Indiana is similar to a provision in the “North Carolina Farm Act of 2019,” which would ban smokable hemp. Travis explains:
Hemp, the non-psychoactive cousin of the marijuana plant, is low in the THC component that gets people high. The federal government’s reclassification of hemp “evinces a clear congressional objective to legalize all forms of low-THC hemp, including ‘smokable hemp,’” the Indiana court said.
…The House wants to outlaw smokable hemp flowers by May 1, 2020. Last month, [the bill’s sponsor Sen. Brent Jackson, R-Sampson] said he would block Senate concurrence with that version of the bill. He recently released multiple statements in support of the hemp industry, encouraging lawmakers to reject the ban.
The story references a statement from Jackson:
“Although this [Indiana] injunction does not mark the end or final decision of the lawsuit, it is our belief that it has answered a lot of outstanding questions regarding the intent of the 2018 Federal Farm Bill,” Jackson said in a Sept. 26 statement.