Why Are There Hemp Seeds at Trader Joe’s?

I have heard many myths about differentiating hemp and cannabis. For example, that hemp is the male plant and cannabis is the female plant. But this and other rumors are incorrect. According to a study published in 1976, by the International Association of Plant Taxonomy, concluded “both hemp varieties and marijuana varieties are of the same genus, Cannabis, and the same species, Cannabis Sativa.

Hemp or Cannabis?

Hemp and cannabis both come from the Cannabis Sativa plant but it is how the plant is grown and utilized that will determine which term is correct. Thus, the difference between hemp and cannabis is essentially the level of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids found in the plant and is psychotropic.

The term cannabis (or marijuana) is used when describing a Cannabis Sativa plant that is bred for its potent, resinous glands (known as trichomes), which contain high levels of THC. Hemp, on the other hand, is used to describe a Cannabis Sativa plant that contains only trace amounts of THC.

Only products made from industrial hemp with levels of THC less than 0.3% is considered to be legal to sell and distribute.

What Does the Federal Government Say?

In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act strictly regulated the cultivation and sale of all cannabis varieties. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified all forms of cannabis — including hemp — as a Schedule I drug, making it illegal to grow it in the United States. The 2014 Agricultural Act (Farm Bill) was passed which enables the cultivation and processing of inductrial hemp. It removes hemp grown within a state pilot program out of the reach of the Controlled Substances Act. It allows states that have passed their own industrial hemp legislation to grow industrial hemp for purposes of research and development. In 2015 the Appropriations Act defunded the Drug Enforcement Agency from interfering from the transporation of hemp.

What Does the State of California Say?

The California Industrial Hemp Farming Act (Assembly Bill 566, Chapter 398, Statutes of 2013) was signed into law to authorize the commercial production of industrial hemp in California. The Act became effective on January 1, 2017, due to a provision in the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64, November 2016).

California established an Industrial Hemp Advisory Board. With assistance from the Board, California Industrial Hemp Program will further develop the registration process, fee structure, regulations, and other administrative details as necessary to provide for the commercial production of industrial hemp in accordance with the Act. Thus, California has passed a program that is in accordance with the 2014 Agricultural Act and hemp can be grown in accordance with the Industrial Hemp Advisory Board in California but has been distributed in California for longer.

Thus, the mystery of the Trader Joe’s hemp seeds has been solved. Are you incorporating your hemp or cannabis business in San Diego or California?

Coastal Pacific Law attorneys are experienced in business planning, and can help with your incorporation, contracts, trademarks or other issues in San Diego, California; and Austin, Texas. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (619)786-6563, or fill out a Contact Request Form.

This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.