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Reefer Madness hits CBD in Connecticut

The state of Connecticut has set a precedent for cannabis legislation that is putting us back decades and erasing years of work to destigmatize plant-based medicines. 

Dr. Kevin Sabet, President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana Action (SAM Action) and a former drug policy advisor to Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton, released a statement following the passage of Connecticut HB 6699, which will require the placement of warning labels about the alleged negative mental and physical health impacts of today’s so called high-potency THC products, saying that “Connecticut’s legislature should be commended for coming to grips with the stark reality that commercialized pot products are dangerous and can harm the mental and physical health of users."

This is entirely untrue and thousands of everyday cannabis patients can attest to this. It took less than 12 hours for the reefer madness crowd to latch onto this legislation and use it to further their anti-science agendas. 

He continued by saying "The passage of HB 6699 confirms the industry's claims are a lie. Today’s commercial pot products––laced with THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana––are increasingly associated with depression, suicidality, IQ loss, psychosis and schizophrenia, especially for young people."

Before we go any further I find it imperative to point out that pot products are not "laced with THC". THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in a plant. As is CBD. And our bodies have a naturally occurring endocannabinoid system. Ok. Let's carry on.... 

Dr. Sabet also labored on by stating that "Among the most concerning consequences of legalization and commercialization has been the rise in marijuana use during pregnancy." Let's save my thoughts on a man discussing pregnancy and women's health issues for another day, shall we? 

Aside from propaganda groups like his co-opting this legislation to further their agendas around discouraging use of plant-based medicines, HB6699 replaces federal rules that allow hemp-based products to be sold under what’s called a dry-weight basis with new THC limits. We have taken "states' rights" and modified federal law to make it more restrictive to small businesses for the benefit of four Multi State Operators. 

CBD stores, myself included, would be restricted to selling edible products with no more than 1 milligram per serving and no more than 5 milligrams per package. Different THC limits would apply to tinctures and lotions but in each case, the new limits would fall well below products available in regulated dispensaries. 

So let's break this down in more digestible chunks. The 2018 Hemp Farm Act made hemp products federally legal in all states so long as they fell under the 0.3% THC limit on a dry-weight basis. This was an arbitrary number but one adopted by most states as it was a federally accepted number. In fact, while I was at a NECANN panel in Boston a local expert from Massachusetts spoke about how they were considering INCREASING that number in their state. Let's just remember that number of 0.3% THC though. 

Currently, at Sugar Leaf, we carry a number of both locally sourced and nationally recognized CBD brands. Everything was personally vetted and COA's are available online. In many cases, I know the farmers themselves. The gummies we carry are fully federally legal at 0.3% THC.

Remember, this amount of THC is permissible in every single state. Every. Single. State. It's why it was okay to have a website. It's all federally legal, remember?

I just now picked up a container of our best selling gummies off of a shelf. They are 25mg of CBD, full-spectrum and a nationally recognized brand. Incredibly popular. In fact, when I researched these figures I found a Forbes article on the brand and CEO, but I digress....

These gummies have 4mg of THC per gummy and 25mg of CBD. They are within the 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. There are no intoxicating effects whatsoever. Never in a million years would you feel intoxicated off of these gummies; however, they have a known efficacy for pain management, anxiety relief and sleep assistance. This is an effective, full-spectrum CBD product. At 4mg of THC these will become illegal in the state of Connecticut unless sold by a "licensed retailer" because they would now be four times the allowable limit for an "unlicensed retailer". These would be "High THC Gummies" sold by an "unlicensed retailer". See how that sounds but isn't accurate? 

OK. I bet at this point you're thinking, "Well, just get a license to sell the gummies and other products. How hard can that be?" Near impossible. These licensed retailers are only folks licensed to sell cannabis and that is currently a complete monopoly by 4 Multi-State Operators. Fees to become a cultivator or dispensary are as high as 3 million dollars. The only adult use dispensaries are hybrid medical/adult use because we gave the existing corporate behemoths a huge first mover advantage. 

It would appear that advantage wasn't enough. They had to squash small hemp farmers. Not only were hemp farmers told "No. You can't have a piece of the cultivation pie" via HB6700 but they were also told "You can't make any products for CBD stores either" through the passage of HB6699. Stand-alone CBD stores will cease to exist because at 1% THC, 4 times less than the federally allowable limit that has a shown efficacy, we'd be selling snake oil. Anything we could carry would be utterly useless. 

Somehow, with a press conference and a flashy photo op holding Spicy Fritos, we destroyed an entire community of small business owners and small farmers. Each and every one of us who testified before the General Law Committee in support of local hemp farmers and businesses can be proud of our efforts. Unfortunately, our words didn't land the same way the words of lobbyists and corporate donors did. This was never about protecting children from "High THC products" and it was always about protecting corporate interests. 

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