Legal or Not: The Precarious Place of Hemp in North Dakota
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By Matthew Van Deventer


Outside Hettinger, North Dakota, a small town of about 1,200 residents in the state’s southwest corner, Lyle Freerksen was at work when he got a call from someone claiming to be from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. They needed to take samples of his hemp crop for a routine THC test. This was no surprise to him, and he had nothing to hide. Freerksen had given all of his contact information to local authorities and made himself available for any and all questions or concerns. More importantly, he had a valid license to grow hemp from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) and understood that at some point they would need to test his crop.


Later that day, Freerksen called the NDDA representative to offer his assistance and meet him at his house for the samples. However, they had already taken samples and needed to meet Freerksen to sign some papers.


“Which I though was kind of fishy, because I felt like I should be present for when they take their samples, because who knows where the samples are coming from,” says Freerksen. “But then again, I had no reason to suspect foul-play of any kind. I thought I was being open and honest with everything.”


When Freerksen got to the meeting location, there was a uniformed police officer and another man in plain clothes; nothing beyond what he would expect of a routine crop inspection. However, they arrested Freerksen and charged him with cultivation of a controlled substance and intent to distribute.


By then, the Bureau of Criminal Investigations had searched his house, confiscated his guns, cash, unused pipes and a bong, and burned down all 273 hemp plants he’d been cultivating.


Freerksen asked if they had tested his plants. They said they had, and Freerksen asked what the THC level was. They didn’t know.


“I gave it my test and my test said it’s marijuana,” Freerksen remembers the plain clothes officer saying. They threatened him with 20 years in jail. However, Freerksen was only in jail for about three days, and the charges were lowered to possession of paraphernalia.


He estimates his crop was worth about $140,000. Freerksen said once he got out of jail, he heard that every road leading up to his house was blocked off a half mile away, police were heavily armed and reinforcements had come from several surrounding towns. When he returned home, he found they had burned his hemp plants by circling them with his own firewood and cut every watering hoses about six inches from the spigot, burning those as well.


“What Mr. Freerksen had was a permit from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture for the growing of hemp. They were very clear in the letters they sent to him and in the permitting process that that does not, by itself, give him permission to grow hemp,” says State Attorney Aaron Roseland of Adams County, North Dakota, who was charged with reviewing the case.


Roseland says, the permit “opens the door” for Freerksen to apply to the state’s pilot program or work with a university, so that he can grow hemp under an entity licensed with the Drug Enforcement Administration.


While Freerksen denies getting any such communication from the NDDA saying he couldn’t grow hemp, he says they did warn him he wasn’t protected federally.


“I knew that growing cannabis would be illegal under federal law regardless of a state permit, yes. As is everyone else in the country currently growing hemp or marijuana under any state law that may exist in that state, medical or otherwise,” says Freerksen. To his knowledge, no DEA agents were involved in the raid.

Stripped hemp farm in North Dakota.

So he reapplied for a permit on his own, went through all the necessary steps, including a background check and finger printing, and soon got a certified letter in the mail with his hemp license. After that, he heard nothing from the NDDA despite repeatedly trying to establish a connection with them and regularly inquiring about THC sampling.


According to the North Dakota Century Code, residents can grow industrial hemp so long as they have a license from the Department of Agriculture to do so.


“That’s why there was no case maintained against him and the charges are dropped. There are no criminal charges now pending against Freerksen.” Roseland continues to clarify, “Because upon review, I found there was not a factual basis to support the maintaining of a charge.”


“They gave him a license. They knew he was growing hemp. Now, if they had a question about it, why would they send out law enforcement with a search warrant—it was just completely uncalled for and heavy handed,” says Eric Steenstra, current president of Vote Hemp. “If they had a real question about it, they could have gone down there and talked to him. There had to be some confusion or major error. I have no idea what led to this, but clearly it was unfounded, because they dropped the charges.”


Steenstra was the Executive Director of Hemp Industries Association when he heard about Freerksen’s case. They offered to defend Freerksen, but he declined and took the plea. Steenstra did do some digging at the time, but North Dakota officials “weren’t forth coming about what really happened.”


For law enforcement to break down doors and burn down crops and ask questions later, only to find little prosecuting evidence is a rarity in the hemp industry. In fact, it’s the first time Steenstra has heard of something like this, and there was little to no media coverage about the case. Even the local press in a town of 1,200 hadn’t gotten wind of it.


“We were really disappointed about it. To be honest with you, I think there was some confusion there; that’s a relatively new program for them,” says Steenstra.


Today, Freerksen’s case is closed, and he has yet to see any test results from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, who declined to comment for this story.


Freerksen says when the arresting officers returned his personal belongings he had a chance to ask them why he was arrested. One officer told him his license says he must be a part of the pilot program or a research university. THC reviewed the license and that is not the case. The other officer said the permit was illegal and that the state had no right to issue the permit, because he wasn’t a part of either of those programs, which also is untrue, according to North Dakota legislation.


To wrap it all up, Freerksen, who does not consume cannabis, got his paraphernalia back: “The last stickler, that I can’t figure out, is when I was talking to these cops about what had transpired, the cop hands me the bong in the middle of the street right in front of the courthouse. So the paraphernalia that I pled guilty to being in possession of, they handed it right back to me.”


Originally published in the Spring 2017 National Issue of The Hemp Connoisseur

CBD Fights Back: Lawsuit Filed Against DEA
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by DJ Reetz

A lawsuit filed on January 13, 2017 aims to push back against a recent DEA decision to create a separate tracking number for “marihuana extracts” under the Controlled Substances Act, effectively codifying all cannabinoids derived from marijuana or hemp as Schedule I controlled substances. The lawsuit was filed by the Hoban Law Group in the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on the same day the new ruling was set to take effect, and seeks judicial review of the decision, claiming that the DEA has overstepped their authority in adding this definition of “marihuana extract” to the controlled substance schedule without following proper procedures to do so as outlined in the CSA. Serving as plaintiffs in the lawsuit are the Hemp Industries Association, Centura Natural Foods, and RMH Holdings.     

The DEA’s announcement in the federal registry published on December 14, 2016 raised concerns amongst many in the cannabis industry that the DEA would begin to target producers and distributors of hemp-derived CBD, which would fall under the definition of “an extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis” outlined in the DEA’s final ruling.

“This is an action beyond the DEA’s authority. This final rule serves to threaten hundreds, if not thousands, of growing businesses, with massive economic and industry expansion opportunities, all of which conduct lawful business compliant with existing policy as it is understood and in reliance upon the federal government," said Hoban Law Group Managing Partner Robert Hoban in a press release.

The DEA has claimed that the ruling presented in the recent federal register amounted to little more than a clerical decision carried out in order to make tracking cannabinoid extracts easier, but many in the hemp CBD industry saw it as the first step toward a federal crackdown on the non-psychoactive cannabinoid that has thus far operated nationally in somewhat of a legal gray area.

The true impact of the classification will likely be seen in the coming months and years.


How to Create More Diversity in the Cannabis Industry
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by Ngaio Bealum

There have been umpteen different articles written about how the cannabis industry needs more diversity, and a few more about how white people (white men in particular) are poised to get rich by selling cannabis, while people of color (the people that have been disproportionately affected by the extremely racist “war on drugs”) have been systematically shut out of the new cannabis industry. What can be done to fix this imbalance? I am glad you asked. And away we go…

Hire More Black and Brown People
It sounds simple, but it just doesn’t happen. Many employers don't even notice that their workforce is somewhat monochromatic, and while you may not notice, people of color pay attention to these types of things. Having a diverse workforce means you will attract a diverse customer base. It is up to the people that do the hiring to make sure that their business reflects the diversity of cannabis culture. Steve DeAngelo, owner of Oakland’s Harborside Health Center (known for being the largest cannabis dispensary in the country) likes to say, “Our new industry should enthusiastically embrace diversity as a strength, not grudgingly accept it as a legal duty.” He is correct. Studies show that businesses (any businesses, not just canna-businesses) with a diverse employee base make more money and are more successful. Having a diverse workforce helps the bottom line, so even if “social justice” isn’t part of the business plan, if the only goal is to make money, it still makes sense to be diverse.

Reach Out
The idea that being in the cannabis industry is a good way to have a legitimate career is still a new concept. A lot of people with good business acumen and a skill set that aligns with what this new industry needs have yet to consider the cannabis industry as a viable option. With a new wave of legalization on the horizon (five states have adult-use cannabis legalization initiatives on the ballot this year); there has never been a better time for people to get involved. While the legal risks are still higher for minorities than they are for white people, the odds that the federal government will choose to prosecute legitimate cannabis businesses acting in accordance with state law are extremely low. There are some groups (the Minority Cannabis Business Association and the newly formed California Minority Alliance come to mind) that can put employers in touch with qualified prospects. Throw a job fair, go to under-served communities and let them know that the cannabis industry is hiring.

Ancillary Businesses Should Get Involved
The cannabis industry isn't just growers and budtenders. Accountants, lawyers, engineers, event planners, architects, carpenters, food service professionals, marketers, IT professionals, graphic designers, copywriters and other businesses can all find a spot in the circle. Entrepreneurs of color should seek out cannabis businesses and look for ways to get involved. Alaska based activist Charlo Greene produces a series on cannabis diversity summits in different towns across the country (www.gogreene.org). These events can be a good way to network with folks that are already in the cannabis industry.

Lower the Barriers to Entry
Getting started in this new industry is expensive. New permits sell for thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many folks don't have the financial backing to get involved. Just going to a cannabis business conference can cost upwards of two or three thousand dollars once you include the costs of travel and accommodations. Conferences and Associations need to start offering scholarships and no cost/low cost options to those who may have the desire and the skills, but not the money to get started. Making sure that the people that have been most affected by the drug war at least get a chance to be a part of the new paradigm is vitally important.

Remember how this started
Cannabis legalization wasn't always about millions of dollars of revenue and profits. Sure, money has always been a factor in the argument, but really, folks just wanted to stay out of jail and smoke weed free from the threat of arrest. California’s Proposition 215 (The 1996 medical marijuana initiative that got this whole joint rolling) was started because activists wanted to keep the police from arresting people living with HIV/AIDS and cancer. I hate to sound like an old hippie, but to ignore the compassion and equality ingrained into the history of cannabis legalization in favor of naked capitalism is to invite bad karma. Working to address the harms done to communities of color by cultivating business and hiring from within those communities invites good karma.

All of these suggestions are fairly simple to accomplish. It just takes a little willpower and a bit of mindfulness. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day actions of running a successful business, but it is vitally important to be aware of and to respect the vitality and diversity of the entire cannabis community.


Originally published in the Fall 2016 National Issue of The Hemp Connoisseur

Does CBD Convert to THC When Ingested? The findings from one study conclude it is possible.
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by Dr. Nicola Davies

Many people may be aware that cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant. New research, however, seems to indicate that this isn’t actually correct.

Cannabis strains high in CBD are popularly used as anti-inflammatories, as muscle relaxants and as general analgesics. Cannabis plants with high levels of delta 9–tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), on the other hand, are often smoked or ingested in order to produce feelings of euphoria and concomitant reductions in stress. Though high-CBD strains are often associated with indica varieties and high-THC with sativa varieties, this is not necessarily the case.

Executive Director of Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM), Valerie Corral, wrote in a 2007 unpublished study titled “Differential Effects of Medical Marijuana Based on Strain and Route of Administration: A Three-Year Observational Study” that, “Patients did not note major differences between the cannabis sativa and cannabis indica strains.” Corral concluded, “We hope that a reliable and accessible means of analysis will become available in the near future.”1 Corral’s hopes for the future are closer to being realized. New research carried out by Kazuhito Watanabe (PhD) and his associates at Daiichi College of Pharmaceuticals, Japan, resulted in a paper titled, “Conversion of Cannabidiol to Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and Related Cannabinoids in Artificial Gastric Juice, and Their Pharmacological Effects in Mice.”2 The research has shown that variations in gastric juices can lead to a different result from that expected when taking CBD. So far, testing has only been carried out on mice and artificial gastric juices have been used, but the results provide food for thought and may pave the way for further studies with human participants.

Essentially, the study by Watanabe and his team has demonstrated that when CBD comes into contact with an artificial gastric juice, the non-psychoactive CBD is converted by those juices to the
psychotropic element delta 9–tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as well as 9α-hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol (9α-OH-HHC) and 8-hydroxy-isohexahydrocannabinol (8-OH-iso-HHC). These two latter cannabinoids, known together as HHCs (hexahydroxycannabinols), were found to have THC-like effects on the laboratory mice. The researchers do point out, however, that the effects of the HHCs were not as strong as those of actual THC.

The main objective of the research was to show that THC is not the only psychoactive component of cannabis. The results suggest that sufficient attention needs to be paid to HHCs and their effect when they are combined with gastric juices during the digestive process. This could explain the anomalies in results for previous studies when the effects of CBD were tested on humans. As studies have so far only been conducted on mice, further research is required with humans to establish its applicability in the real world.

What causes the change to occur?
When people ingest cannabis in cakes or cookies, these usually contain some kind of sugar. The stomach becomes more acidic due to the sugars in these foods, as well as in any alcoholic drinks consumed when smoking or ingesting CBD. This acidity accelerates the change from CBD into THC, two HHCs and cannabinol (CBN).

What did the scientists measure?
The researchers began from the baseline of what has already been established about the effects of THC on the body: loss of sensation, drop in body temperature, prolonged sleep and reduced pain perception. The four aspects they chose to test were catalepsy (the loss of sensation or consciousness, inducing a rigid body), hypothermia (an abnormal drop in body temperature), pentobarbital induced sleep (deeper sleep when a barbiturate is given) and antinociception (the reduction in sensitivity to painful stimuli).

How did they do it?
Watanabe and associates isolated and purified THC, CBD and CBN from cannabis leaves using previously tried and tested methods. They placed the cannabinoids into an artificial gastric juice to observe the effects. Using a gas chromatograph, a sample solution was injected into the instrument, which then entered a gas stream of either helium or nitrogen used as carrier gas. The sample was then directed into a tube that separated the components. Results showed that CBD broke down into THC, two HHCs and CBN. To test the effects of these CBD components, the researchers administered small quantities to their experimental mice.

...when CBD comes into contact with an artificial gastric juice, the non-psychoactive CBD is converted by those juices to the psychotropic element delta 9–tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)...

How were changes measured and what did they find?
To test catalepsy, 24 mice were separated into three groups of eight and injected with THC, HHCs and CBN. Researchers waited fifteen minutes for the cannabis to take effect, then placed the front paws of the mice on a bar. If the mouse did not move its paws within 30 seconds, it was regarded as having a rigid or cataleptogenic reaction. The injection of THC affected the mice the most, and the HHCs were less effective than THC, but more so than CBN, which had very little effect.

For the hypothermic reactions test, mice were again divided into groups of eight and injected with THC, HHCs and CBN, respectively. Two hours later, their rectal temperature was taken. The results were consistent with the test for catalepsy, with THC causing the highest temperature drop. HHCs had an effect, but not as pronounced as THC, while injections of CBN did not produce any significant drop in temperature. Through its action on the central nervous system, THC prolongs deep sleep, so for this test, the researchers injected the mice first with the cannabinoids, and then gave them sodium pentobarbital fifteen minutes later to see how their sleep was affected. As expected, the mice given the THC slept the longest, those given HHCs slept less and those given the
CBN were least affected.

For the sensitivity to pain test, the mice were again given injections of the various cannabinoids, then twenty minutes later were given a 0.7 percent acetic acid solution and assessed on the amount of writhing produced by measuring abdominal contractions. Again, the results were consistent: THC produced the strongest block to pain with least writhing, the HHCs were somewhat effective, but less than THC and CBN had very little effect on pain blocking compared to the placebo group. 

Further studies needed
Much research has involved the administration of THC and CBD to patients for symptoms such as fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease and insomnia, but researchers have been circumspect in declaring their results and have called for further testing. Watanabe’s research, though conducted on mice, may hold true for humans – but that must be the subject of future studies. As Georgetown University Medical School’s Dr. Robert du Pont pointed out, there are an estimated 400 components in the cannabis plant, making it difficult to determine exactly which component is providing relief when cannabis is ingested for medical reasons.3 

Could anomalies in results have resulted from the way gastric juices break down CBD within the human body? In a 2016 study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, by John Merrick and associates, it was noted that, “In recent epilepsy research, pediatric subjects receiving orally administered CBD showed a relatively high incidence of adverse events (≤44%), with somnolence (≤21%) and fatigue (≤17%) among the most common.”4 This led the researchers to more closely investigate the accepted premise that CBD is non-psychoactive. They came to the conclusion that, “Gastric fluid without enzymes converts CBD into the psychoactive components Δ9-THC and Δ8-THC, which suggests that the oral route of administration may increase the potential for  psychomimetic adverse effects from CBD.”

From recent studies, it seems that there is a need to find delivery methods that decrease the risk of psychoactive cannabinoids forming during the digestive process. To this end, Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc. has developed an innovative transdermal synthetic cannabinoid treatment that bypasses the gastrointestinal tract, thus avoiding bioconversion to psychoactive THC.5 This may be the way forward in using CBD to assist patients with medical conditions without them inadvertently experiencing unwanted psychoactive effects. 


1. Corral, V.L., 2001. Differential effects of medical marijuana based on strain and route of administration: a three-year observational study. Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, 1(3-4), pp.43-59.

2. Watanabe, K., Itokawa, Y., Yamaori, S., Funahashi, T., Kimura, T., Kaji, T., Usami, N. and Yamamoto, I., 2007. Conversion of cannabidiol to Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and related cannabinoids in artificial gastric juice, and their pharmacological effects in mice. Forensic Toxicology, 25(1), pp.16-21.

3. Kleber, H.D. and Dupont, R.L., 2012. Physicians and medical marijuana. American Journal of Psychiatry, 169(6), pp.564-568.

4. Merrick, J., Lane, B., Sebree, T., Yaksh, T., O’Neill, C. and Banks, S.L., 2016. Identification of Psychoactive Degradants of Cannabidiol in Simulated Gastric and Physiological Fluid. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 1(1), pp.102-112.

5. Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 2016. First and Only Synthetic CBD Formulated as a Permeation-Enhanced Gel Being Developed for Refractory Epilepsy, Osteoarthritis and Fragile X Syndrome. [ONLINE] Available at: http://zynerba.com/in-development/cbd-gel-zyn002/. [Accessed 21 July 2016].

Heppermint Lip Balm by Clover's Hemp
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reviewed by Hazy Cakes

Clover’s Hemppermint Lip Balm is made with natural and organic ingredients. The list is minimal and includes shea butter, hemp oil and beeswax. The delightful mint scent/flavor is produced through a blend of peppermint and spearmint essential oils. Your lips feel smooth and moisturized after application and it lasts for a very long time. All of Clover’s products are free of artificial fragrances, dyes, sulfates, parabens, and unnatural preservatives. Get yours at www.clovershemp.com.

Beautifying Hemp Facial Cream by The Wonder Seed
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reviewed by Hazy Cakes

If you are a like us and are always looking for the perfect face cream to make your life complete, we may have found it! The Wonder Seed produces several quality products to make you look and feel more youthful and beautiful. This facial cream is free of all the things that you don’t want in a beauty product; no parabens, sulfates, gluten, artificial colors or fragrances. It is made with all natural ingredients and is 100 percent vegan and cruelty free.

The water lotus scent is derived from essential oils and is refreshing, not overpowering. After using this product your skin feels highly moisturized without feeling greasy. It soaks in completely, leaving nothing behind but soft supple skin. With regular continued use it can improve the texture of your skin over time. Check it out at www.thewonderseed.com.

Wingtip Native Fresca 6-Panel Strapback by Grassroots California
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reviewed by Lisa Fay

Grassroots California’s strapback hats are the perfect all around hat. The design of this striped beauty works with whatever style strikes you. This hat goes to the slopes to hide helmet hair and to the beach to shield the sun. Since the size is adjustable, the fit is perfect. You will surely turn a few heads wearing this stylish strapback.

Grassroots has a variety of clothing and hats for both women and men at a price that won’t drain your wallet. On top of that, they are dedicated to helping local communities and communities abroad by donating a portion of every purchase. Grassroots’ diverse style has artists that range from Ann Taylor to Method Man and so many more. You are sure to find a unique and stylish addition to your wardrobe from Grassroots. Check out their selection at www.grassrootscalifornia.com.

The Black, White and Gray of Cannabis Regulation
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by David B. Bush

Talk about cannabis, especially in the realm of industrial hemp, invariably leads somebody to offer up the bromide that there are “gray areas” of the law. The law is vague and confusing, so it is said, which creates uncertainty about what is legal and what is illegal. But when I read the black letter of the law, I find little if anything that anyone would ever call gray. Federal drug laws may be a lot of things, including silly, counterproductive, and downright bad, but they are not vague or confusing. I find no shades of gray.

Make no mistake about it, cannabis plants, all cannabis plants, are classified under federal law as marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance. Not only that, but most parts of the cannabis plants are also considered marijuana; in particular, the leaves and flowers. Nor does the law stop there. “Every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation” of marijuana is also classified as marijuana.

All varieties of cannabis plants contain dozens or hundreds of chemical constituents. These include cannabinoids, nitrogenous compounds, amino acids, proteins, glycoproteins, enzymes, sugars, hydrocarbons, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, simple acids, fatty acids, esters, lactones, steroids, terpenes, non-cannabinoid phenols, flavonoids, vitamins, and pigments. To the extent that any are derived from the leaves or flowers of cannabis, federal law classifies them as marijuana. One might challenge the wisdom of that definition all day long, I certainly do, but disagreement over what the law says does not make it any less clear.

Colorado is experiencing a boom in the market for cannabinoid products derived from cannabis. Most noteworthy perhaps is Δ-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, the multisyllabic psychoactive goody that we have all come to know and love as THC, popularly consumed throughout the ages for its recreational and medical benefits. But there is a veritable alphabet soup of cannabinoids found in cannabis besides THC, dozens or hundreds of them. They include tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabigerol (CBG) and a host of others.  Every single cannabinoid meets the federal definition of marijuana, because they are all derived from the leaves and flowers of cannabis. Every single one of them is a Schedule I controlled substance, making their unauthorized manufacture, possession and distribution a federal crime.

There is a flawed popular perception that the key to illegality in the world of cannabis is THC. But THC appears nowhere in the federal definition of marijuana.  Federal law does not care whether a cannabis plant is chock full of THC or has any measurable concentration of the substance at all. It simply does not matter whether the stuff made from cannabis could give one a buzz or not.  It is all equally illegal in the eyes of the law.

Many wish to believe that industrial hemp is different. A number of states, including Colorado, define industrial hemp to mean cannabis with a below-threshold concentration of THC in the plant tissue, generally recognized as no more than 0.3 percent by dry weight. Other than the narrow exception for academic research and development articulated in the 2014 Farm Bill, no similar distinction exists in federal law. But low concentrations of THC in industrial hemp does not help the plant avoid the onus of federal prohibition. Cannabinoid products are all classified as marijuana, regardless of the variety of plant from which they were made and regardless how much or how little THC the plant or the product made from it might contain.

Manufacture of cannabinoid products in Colorado is booming. But they are not being regulated in a consistent manner. Cannabinoid products made from what the state has defined as marijuana are strictly controlled under complex and pervasive regulations promulgated and administered by the Marijuana Enforcement Division in the Department of Revenue. In contrast, the only aspect of state-defined industrial hemp that is subject to regulation is cultivation, by the Department of Agriculture. Processing and sale of cannabinoid products made from industrial hemp is not regulated at all. In fact, Colorado law actually accords statutory immunity to anyone who processes and sells products made from legally registered and cultivated industrial hemp. Section 108(2) of the hemp regulatory statutes provides as follows: “[A] person engaged in processing, selling, transporting, possessing, or otherwise distributing industrial hemp cultivated by a person registered under this article, or selling industrial hemp products produced therefrom, is not subject to any civil or criminal actions under Colorado law for engaging in such activities.”

The stark difference in Colorado between the regulation of marijuana and industrial hemp presents a particular challenge to federal drug enforcement. In a now-famous memorandum authored by Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole on August 29, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice effectively gave the nod to states such as Colorado to experiment with regulated cannabis markets. Federal law enforcement policy since issuance of the Cole Memorandum generally has been to avoid prosecution in states where cannabis is legal, provided that actors play by state rules and avoid implicating certain federal law enforcement priorities. One of the enumerated law enforcement priorities is to prevent the diversion of marijuana from a state where it is legal to another state where it is not. Therein lies the problem in Colorado. Diversion of cannabinoid products made from industrial hemp is now occurring on a large scale.

Transporting cannabinoid products made from industrial hemp across state lines places them in the stream of interstate commerce, where federal law, not Colorado law, controls. And federal law is clear: any product made from the leaves or flowers of any cannabis plant is marijuana. Interstate sales of cannabinoid products cannot be characterized as anything other than trafficking in a Schedule I controlled substance. Such activities not only break federal law, but they implicate at least one of the law enforcement priorities set forth in the Cole Memorandum, against diverting marijuana out of state.

So far, the federal government has been remarkably tolerant of interstate sales of cannabinoid products, other than for those rich in THC. Relatively few attempts have been made to impede their transport outside of Colorado. But that does not reflect any change in the law, only a relatively lax attitude by the current administration in Washington. That could change dramatically with the next administration, or for that matter, at any time. The current situation cannot continue. It exposes the regulated cannabis market in Colorado to the risk of significant intervention by federal law enforcement.

Recent calls have been made in some circles in Colorado for implementation of regulations that would apply to all cannabinoid products, without regard to the source material from which they were made. Such regulations would include licensing, standards for quality and content, labeling, and prohibitions against export out of state, as long as the products remained federally illegal. Not surprisingly, some in the industrial hemp sector have reacted with vehement indignation to such proposals. The very thought of having their industry lumped in with marijuana offends their self-image of moral superiority and entitlement to special protection. But the reality is otherwise.  There is but one plant, cannabis. There is but one body of federal law against it. Cannabis has but one future. We must all sink or swim from the same boat.

Federal drug laws are bad and need to be changed. Prohibitions against cannabis, all cannabis, both marijuana and industrial hemp, should be abolished. But until that day comes, the State of Colorado must rationalize its current regulatory system to avoid implicating federal law enforcement priorities set forth in the Cole Memorandum.

As an industrial hemp attorney, I support regulation of the processing and sale of cannabinoid products, including those made from industrial hemp. I have little doubt that it is coming. Resistance to regulation might delay the day of reckoning, but cannot forestall the inevitable. The industrial hemp sector can choose to be part of the problem, by denying that there is one. Or it can be part of the solution, by working to create a sound, reasonable and fair system of regulation. I would respectfully counsel the latter.




David B. Bush is the managing member of David B. Bush, L.L.C. dba David’sLaw, a business law practice dedicated to furthering the successful development of industrial hemp in Colorado and throughout the United States. His web page is www.davidlawcolorado.com and he may be reached at [email protected].

The Hemp Connoisseur Championship 2015
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Thank you to all our competitors, judges and sponsors!

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Thank you to everyone that came to the awards party on Sunday! We had a blast and hope you did as well! 

Here is the list of all of the THC Championship winners!!

Overall Champion

Green Man Cannabis- Star Killer



1st Place - Connoisseur’s Choice - Best Tested

Medically Correct- incredibles Chocolate and Infused products - Affogato Bar

2nd Place

Medically Correct- Incredibles Pumpkin Pie Delight

3rd Place - People’s Choice

Sweet Mary Jane- True Confections


CBD Edibles

1st Place - People’s Choice - Best Tested

Medically Correct- Black Cherry 50/50 CBD Bar

2nd Place

marQaha- Mellow Mint Mist

3rd Place - Connoisseur’s Choice

Mountain High Suckers- Caramel Apple Lollipop


Adult-Use Sativa

1st Place - People’s Choice - Connoisseur’s Choice

Den-Rec- Cookie Dough

2nd Place

Green Man Cannabis- Ghost Train Haze

3rd Place - Best Tested

The Herbal Cure- Kong


Adult-Use Indica

1st Place - Connoisseur’s Choice

Den Rec- Pure Kush

2nd Place - Best Tested

Green Man Cannabis- Hell’s OG

3rd Place

The Herbal Cure- Chem Dawg OG

People’s Choice

Igadi LTD - Grape Stomper


Adult-Use Hybrid

1st Place - Connoisseur’s Choice - Best Tested

Green Man Cannabis- Motor Breath

2nd Place

Den Rec- OG18

3rd Place

The Herbal Cure- Frankenberry

People’s Choice

Denver Relief- Ultimate 91’ Chem


Medical Sativa

1st Place - People’s Choice

The Herbal Cure- Lemon Skunk

2nd Place - Best Tested

Green Man Cannabis- Moonshine Haze

3rd Place - Connoisseur’s Choice

Natural Remedies/Organic Greens- LA Kush


Medical Indica

1st Place - Connoisseur’s Choice - Best Tested

The Herbal Cure- OG Kush

2nd Place - People’s Choice

Natural Remedies- Natty Rems OG

3rd Place

Natural Remedies/Organic Greens- Banana


Medical Hybrid

1st Place - People’s Choice - Connoisseur’s Choice - Best Tested

Green Man Cannabis- Star Killer

2nd Place

The Herbal Cure- Love Triangle

3rd Place

Natural Remedies/Organic Greens- Girl Scout Cookies Forum Cut

CBD Extracts

1st Place - People’s Choice - Connoisseur’s Choice

EndoCanna- Critical Cure

2nd Place - Best Tested


3rd Place

The Green Solution- Ruby Mas



1st Place - People’s Choice - Connoisseur’s Choice

Dabble- Gelato

2nd Place - Best Tested

Sweet Leaf Marijuana Centers- Golden Goat

3rd Place

Standing Akimbo- Honey Banana

Best Tested

TR Concentrates- Stardawg
Igadi Grape Stomper
EndoCanna- Gorilla Glue
The Green Solution-Angel OG
The Green Solution-Rocky Mountain Fire


Solventless Extracts

1st Place - People’s Choice - Connoisseur’s Choice

Extracted Colorado- Scotty’s Sour OG Rosin Tech

2nd Place

The Green Solution- Sour D Rosin Tech Shatter

3rd Place

Premium Pete's Cultivation-Rosin tech Astral Kush



1st Place - Connoisseur’s Choice - Best Tested

Craft710- Lemon G

2nd Place-STATISTICAL TIE - Best Tested

TR Concentrates-Triangle Kush

3rd Place

Sweet leaf-Flo

People’s Choice

Sweet leaf-Kong

Best Tested

The Lab- Skywalker OG
The Green Solution- Kong Stomper


Deals Near You

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legal notice

This advertisement is for customer reference only and has no value and is not intended to be exchanged for any product. Leafbuyer (Leafbuyer Technologies, Inc) is not responsible for the content of any advertisement. All advertisements are the sole responsibility of the vendor publishing the advertisement. If an advertisement is not valid, please contact the vendor directly as errors may have been made in the creation of the advertisement. This advertisement is only intended to be viewed by those of legal age and in the state/local area where the product is legally open for sale. Additionally, all state and local laws and restrictions apply to all advertisements. Void where prohibited.

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