As an experienced Omaha drug crimes defense lawyer, Daniel Stockmann knows the ins and outs of Nebraska’s cannabis-related legislation. In fact, the cornhusker state has some of the tightest laws and toughest legal consequences anywhere in the country, but it’s not alone in being a holdout where low-THC and CBD products are concerned.
Federal Laws Continue to Make Cannabis Illegal
Before getting into what other states are doing, it’s important to note that the US government considers marijuana to be a Schedule I substance. That means they treat it similarly to drugs like heroin, LSD, and cocaine and believe that it has no medicinal value, plus has the high likelihood of being abused or is addictive. While the Obama administration once issued a memo saying that they agreed to stay out of it when individual states made moves to legalize marijuana, the Trump administration has changed the policy. In other words, there isn’t even a “handshake” agreement between states that have legalized and the feds. Even in states that have legalized, there’s still the potential for individuals, growers, and dispensaries to be nailed by the federal government. However unlikely it may be, it remains a possibility because marijuana is illegal on a federal level.
CBD vs THC vs Marijuana vs Hemp vs Cannabis
To start at the root of the trouble, US laws don’t differentiate between cannabis, various plant types, or compounds. They’re all illegal. State laws also don’t always take into account that the various cannabinoids, or chemical compounds within cannabis plants, are unique. Two of the most well-known cannabinoids are CBD and THC. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is the compound associated with medicinal benefits. Depending on the particular cannabis strain, a plant can be high in CBD or low in it. Medicinal users typically seek out the high CBD varieties or use CBD oil. THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is the compound associated with the “high” of marijuana. Again, cannabis plants will have varying levels of THC. Canada actually uses the THC content of cannabis plants to distinguish industrial hemp from marijuana. If it has 0.3% THC or less, it’s hemp.
Most States Have Compound-Specific Laws that Allow CBD
Here in the US, Mississippi, among others, also uses the THC levels to distinguish legality. Extracts, oils, and resins with 0.5% THC or less typically make the cut and are now allowable within Mississippi for treating epilepsy. Alabama didn’t “legalize” it, but they did decriminalize CBD for those with epilepsy. Out of 50 states, 29 have comprehensive medicinal marijuana legislation that allows for some form of medicinal use. Of the remaining 21, 17 at least cover the use of CBD and give certain groups access to it. In other words, throughout most of the United States, CBD, low-THC-products, and even high-THC products in some cases, is legal to some degree, but four states are total holdouts.
Only Four States Don’t Allow CBD/ Low-THC Products
Idaho, South Dakota, Kansas, and yes, Nebraska, are the only states which don’t allow low-THC products. In Idaho, a petition to put medical marijuana on the ballot in 2018 is circulating. With more than 90% of the population supporting the initiative, there’s a good chance residents will have access soon. Residents of South Dakota ran a similar petition, but the secretary of state declared the initiative did not get enough valid signatures, meaning their proposed laws will not go up for a vote this year. In Kansas, there is no petition process to get things on the ballot. No matter how much residents may want to vote on something, the decision has to be made at a state level. Moreover, legislators seem to have no interest in pursuing medical marijuana. Their house of representatives just squashed medical marijuana in a 54-69 vote this past March. That brings us to Nebraska. Like Idaho and South Dakota, Nebraska offers a pathway for citizens to get things on the ballot, and there are presently petitions for two distinct marijuana-related initiatives circulating. The “Right to Cannabis” would amend the state’s constitution, essentially legalizing on the whole. A second initiative, which appears to have the potential to go before voters and pass, would decriminalize the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. That said, at the end of this voting session, there will in all likelihood still be 3-4 states that continue to outlaw low-THC products, including Nebraska.
Speak with an Experienced Omaha Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer
If you are caught with any amount of any type of cannabis product—plant or compound—with any THC concentration, and for any reason, you will likely face charges in the state of Nebraska. Right now, the only thing that might change this is the one-ounce law which may be on the ballot this year. Failing that, your reputation, livelihood, and freedom may be on the line if you’re arrested. Having an experienced Omaha drug crimes defense lawyer on your side to protect you is essential if you want to move on with your life as quickly as possible. Daniel Stockmann is that attorney. With nearly two decades in the field and a firm that focuses on helping people fight their drug charges, Mr. Stockmann can help you too. Call (844) 906-0641 for a no-obligation consultation.