The Attorney General of Virginia, Mark Herring, spoke at the Virginia 2020 Cannabis Conference about marijuana decriminalization in the Commonwealth. The event was organized in Richmond on Sunday by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
Herring said that he supports the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana, taking action to address previous convictions and leading towards regulated and legal adult use.
Herring told the crowd that the time for marijuana reform has come. He further added that justice demands it, even the Virginians want the reform to take place and he is going to ensure that they get it done.
A single proposed bill would change the normal possession to a $50 civil fine and clear off the records of people with past convictions.
Contrarily, a few Republican lawmakers have said that any significant changes in the criminal laws could have drastic and unintended consequences.
Journey of Cannabis Decriminalization
The U.S. federal government legalized hemp, Cannabis Sativa plant, back in December 2018 under the Farm Act.
It removed hemp from the list of Controlled Substances and thereby declared that hemp is an agricultural crop that can be grown like any other usual crop. However, the government set some stringent regulations about the quality and concentration of hemp to ensure public safety.
Hemp contains an abundance of cannabinoids, out of which cannabidiol, or CBD is the most popular one. CBD is an anti-inflammatory chemical that is widely known to treat inflammation, muscle spasms, chronic pain, headache, nausea, and many other health problems. Since it is a non-psychoactive component it does not produce any hallucinations or get the user “high” like with marijuana.
Cannabidiol garnered the trust of thousands of consumers as it gave positive results. It helped people treat their anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia, seizures and even alleviated the symptoms of deadly ailments like cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Tourette.
The federal government put a higher cap limit on the concentration of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, to 0.3% per dry weight. So CBD products with 0.3% THC per dry weight or less than this are legal. However, if a product contains a higher concentration of THC, it will be considered illegal and may result in a positive drug test.
Despite the regulations set by the federal government, many companies started selling CBD products with high medicinal claims and apparently, what seems like high levels of THC.
THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana that causes the “high” when people smoke weed. It often triggers seizures and also leads to mental health damage.
Legitimate CBD products are a bit high priced, which paves the way for smaller organizations to grow multifold in the illicit black market of CBD.
Despite regular warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, companies continue selling CBD products with high claims of medical value. The agency recently issued warning letters to 15 companies.
Some of them were selling illegal products with a higher concentration of THC, others were marketing their products as alternatives to pharmaceutical prescriptions and some of the tested products didn’t even contain CBD at all.
The agency also warned customers to be aware of illicit products and buy CBD and its derived products only from legitimate stores and brands.
Research suggests that CBD is a potent substance and has the power to treat a variety of ailments. Nonetheless, the lack of evidence and extensive research is what the FDA seems to be worried about.
With the legal clearance from the federal government, CBD products are now easily available on the internet as well as brick and mortar stores. From CBD infused oils to topicals, creams, tinctures, ointments, capsules, isolate, vape pens, gummies and much more, you can find an array of CBD products.
Stigma Busted Around Marijuana and its Products
Marijuana and its related compounds have come a long way. With the stigma around marijuana decreasing, the potential for research, especially in medical sciences has gradually increased.
Many universities are stepping up to conduct research on the medical and recreational use of marijuana and its related products like hemp. Whether it is celebrities like Jennifer Aniston or athletes like Mike Tyson, many people seem to be accepting cannabis products.