T.The species of Cannabis Sativa has been grown around the world for more than 12,000 years and is considered to be one of the first plants to be grown by mankind. It is a plant that intersects with more industries and cultures than any other on the planet and has been used throughout human history for clothing, paper, food, and medicine, among other things. In fact, the oldest evidence in the cannabis industry is an 8,000 year old piece of hemp tissue.
Cannabis was introduced to the western hemisphere in the 16th century through the slave trade on ships with sails, ropes, and nets made of hemp. At a time when electricity at sea was a strategic necessity, saltwater-resistant hemp fiber was a crucial resource, and all of the major maritime powers relied on healthy crops to sustain their fleets.
Not only was cannabis an integral part of civilization for millennia, but an integral part of American history since the dawn of colonization – the sails and ropes that drove Christopher Columbus to America were made of hemp, and he carried cannabis seeds his men planted and carried to feed as soon as it arrives.
Later, hemp was viewed as an essential commodity by early colonialists (including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson) and viewed as a patriotic duty to grow. The first drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper, the first American flag was made from hemp fabric, and Henry Ford even made an early automobile prototype from hemp.
For those unfamiliar with the term, hemp is a word primarily used to talk about cannabis when used for its fibers in cloth, rope, or paper. In America, cannabis is legally considered hemp if it contains less than 0.3 percent THC. (When cannabis is grown for grain or fiber, it contains fewer THC molecules).
Cannabis in its many forms has been around for so long and there have been so many formal and slang names that the dictionary can be confusing. Martin Lee writes in his book Smoke Signals: “It has been said that language reflects the soul of a people. Eskimos have dozens of words for snowflakes – which underscores the central importance of snow in Inuit culture. Even with cannabis nomenclature, the versatile herb has spawned an abundance of terms in many languages. “
Slang words for cannabis in English include: grass, reefer, tea, jug, sensi, dope, weed, bud, skunk, stump, cowboy tobacco, hippie salad, spliff, and mary jane. However, 18th century scientists gave it two different Latin species names (Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica), which continues to cause confusion about strains to this day. And a great many people want to know if cannabis is the same as marijuana, a Spanish word for cannabis that was used in the early 20th century.
When the government tried to tax the hemp industry and determine who can and cannot grow cannabis in the 1930s, they used the exotic-sounding word as a propaganda tool to scare farmers, who otherwise would likely have objected, and marijuana to transform into an oversized, race-based American myth. Therefore, the name marijuana has no concrete definition and is now more of a collective term for cannabis that contains more than 0.3 percent THC and is therefore not qualified as hemp.
When cannabis contains more than 0.3 percent THC, it is typically grown and extracted for its therapeutic properties and in medicine. In this case, it is not the fibers that come into play, but the biomolecules such as THC and CBD. These molecules are made by resin glands on the outside of the cannabis plant called trichomes, and they make compounds known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are defined by their ability to interact with receptors in the endocannabinoid system that regulates human health and homeostasis. THC is the only cannabinoid that has noticeable psychoactive effects, and therefore its presence is used to differentiate between categories of cannabis.
This rope and rope, fiber and flower paradox, which currently determines the legal status and path of the facility through the supply chain, has created inconsistencies in state and federal legislation, disconnecting potential distribution channels across the country – and it is a problem that only gets more complex the deeper we look.
The duality of cannabis is evident everywhere: it can uncouple habits in the head, but excessive and chronic use can also take getting used to. Cannabis is bimodal and acts on both the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system – a unique and interesting combination. Cannabis has two-phase properties and acts as a stimulant or sedative, depending on the dose.
Today, cannabis is recognized as both ancient and innovative, and legal and illegal in states like Utah, which have legal cannabis laws in place.
Support for legalization is one of the fastest-evolving non-partisan social problems in the US today. According to the Pew Research Center, 67 percent (more than two-thirds) of Americans support some form of legalization. Currently, 36 states plus the District of Columbia (DC) have legalized cannabis for medical use, and 15 states plus DC have legalized it for adults. Those numbers bring the total population of U.S. citizens living in a state with legalized cannabis or adult cannabis to 235 million, or 71 percent of the population.
While cannabis (even hemp due to misinformation) has developed a reputation as an illicit drug through years of prohibition, new research and clinical trials are rapidly changing how and why people use the plant. For many, it offers relief from chronic pain, debilitating seizures, and digestive problems; Relief that may not have been available through other forms of medication.
Cannabis helps relieve chronic pain (while opioids, despite their prescription and use, are only effective for acute pain) and also helps patients with opioid withdrawal symptoms. Opioid addiction and death are a huge problem in Utah, and cannabis will be an integral part of the solution. (Data on states and counties with access to medical cannabis shows over 20 percent decrease in opioid deaths in the first year after legalization).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, while opposed to the use of cannabis for non-medical purposes, now approves it for medical purposes when deemed necessary by a legitimate provider. To some in Utah, it seems like the production, distribution, and sale of cannabis moved from a serious crime to an “essential business” overnight. In the grand scheme of things it has.
The only factor that catapulted the cannabis industry in 2020 and cemented its role as a generation investment opportunity was the COVID-19 pandemic. Cannabis sales soared during the economic disruption caused by COVID in 2020 and are estimated at over $ 20 billion for the year. With the majority of regulated states declaring cannabis “essential” during the COVID lockdown, companies have seen legal cannabis sales increase by 40 percent compared to the second quarter of 2019.
Additionally, average patient spending skyrocketed in the second and third quarters of 2020, with per capita spending increasing 1.3 times and 1.4 times their respective period in 2019. As a result, states saw significant increases in cannabis revenues. The accelerated growth caused by the pandemic has not only resulted in higher sales, but also increased patient participation in markets dedicated to medical use only. In the second quarter of 2020, medical markets saw patient numbers grow, particularly in countries with lower barriers to entry and more accessible markets.
From an industry perspective, democratic scrutiny offers both legislative and executive a timely opportunity for cannabis reform. The industry will most likely operate with confidence that compliant state operators will not face federal sanctions – a signal that will make industry growth less risky for the next four years and protect local, domestic markets. Even so, other pressing legislative priorities are at the forefront of domestic policy, so it is unlikely that comprehensive federal cannabis legislation will take place in 2021.
As the FDA and DEA learn more about the nature of cannabis, the hemp / CBD supply chain, and the complexities of the cannabinoid extraction process, they will be forced to consider how to regulate hemp / CBD during the processing stage at THC, according to all state and federal laws, the values are 3 percent well above the legal limit. This is an inevitable part of the extraction process and not one that stop gap solutions are likely to overcome.
Given the deadlock in Washington, DC, there is little likelihood of product bonuses being granted during this “hot” period, and the most legally viable path forward appears to be tougher regulations and increased barriers to entry across the board, suggesting continued consolidation within the Industry indicates.
However, to achieve its full economic and social potential, lawmakers must look at cannabis through a longer lens to focus on the plant as a whole rather than a kaleidoscope of end uses. It will be up to states to draft and implement responsible cannabis law that will boost local supply chains, support small businesses, and provide a clear path for the consumer (or patient) through a profitable regulatory framework.
Until a state decision by the FDA on CBD is made, larger publicly owned companies remain on the sidelines as they continue to be excluded from interstate trade. This means that when the state makes it its business to create a sheltered island market, it is giving SMEs much-needed first mover status – by stimulating the local economy, promoting job growth, and making Utah businesses competitive holds, as the nation approaches, adequate system of regulation and rapid commercialization of hemp / CBD and cannabis products.