Support for legalization has steadily grown over the last several years. Today, medical marijuana is legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia. And even federal officials have begun to soften their stances. Last fall, outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder signaled his support for removing marijuana from the list of Schedule I narcotics. “I think it’s certainly a question we need to ask ourselves, whether or not marijuana is as serious of a drug as heroin,” Holder said. This summer, Chuck Rosenberg, the acting administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, acknowledged that marijuana is not as dangerous as other Schedule I drugs and announced his agents would not be prioritizing marijuana enforcement. Still, as long as marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the haphazard system in which it is studied, produced, and distributed will remain, and Americans will not be able to take full advantage of its medicinal properties.
The gateway effect may appear due to social factors involved in using any illegal drug. Because of the illegal status of cannabis, its consumers are likely to find themselves in situations allowing them to acquaint with individuals using or selling other illegal drugs.[256][257] Utilizing this argument some studies have shown that alcohol and tobacco may additionally be regarded as gateway drugs;[258] however, a more parsimonious explanation could be that cannabis is simply more readily available (and at an earlier age) than illegal hard drugs. In turn alcohol and tobacco are easier to obtain at an earlier point than is cannabis (though the reverse may be true in some areas), thus leading to the "gateway sequence" in those individuals since they are most likely to experiment with any drug offered.[249]
In modern times, the Rastafari movement has embraced Cannabis as a sacrament.[124] Elders of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church, a religious movement founded in the United States in 1975 with no ties to either Ethiopia or the Coptic Church, consider Cannabis to be the Eucharist, claiming it as an oral tradition from Ethiopia dating back to the time of Christ.[125] Like the Rastafari, some modern Gnostic Christian sects have asserted that Cannabis is the Tree of Life.[126][127] Other organized religions founded in the 20th century that treat Cannabis as a sacrament are the THC Ministry,[128] Cantheism,[129] the Cannabis Assembly[130] and the Church of Cognizance. Rastafarians tend to be among the biggest consumers of modern Cannabis use.

State policymakers have taken action to address various policy issues — the definition of hemp, licensure of growers, regulation and certification of seeds, state-wide commissions and legal protection of growers. At least 41 states have passed legislation related to industrial hemp, such as defining hemp and removing barriers, and at least 39 states have allowed for hemp cultivation and production programs. Some states establishing these programs require a change in federal laws or a waiver from the DEA prior to implementation.
Indoor marijuana grows provide the most control over growing conditions. With a simple setup including a tent, proper lighting, and an air circulation system, home marijuana growers can produce consistent yields. Both soil and hydro systems can be utilized for indoor marijuana grows. Soil setups are generally cheaper and more forgiving, but hydro systems tend to be more common.

Marijuana looks contrastingly different from hemp. When you observe their leaves, marijuana’s shape tends to either be broad leafed, a tight bud, or look like a nugget with organd hairs.  Hemp, on the other hand, has skinnier leaves that’s concentrated at the top. Few branches or leaves exist below the top part of the plant. When you observe the plants from afar, marijuana looks like a short fat bush. Hemp is typically skinnier and taller (up to 20 ft). At times, it almost looks like long ditchweed – hemp was actually found to grow among weeds in Nebraska. In general, when you compare a marijuana farm with those of industrial hemp, you’ll notice that they are clearly very different from one another.
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Hemp is a multi-purpose agricultural crop delivering seeds, fibers and bio-active chemicals for a number of uses and markets. Industrial hemp is defined in federal and Montana statute as Cannabis sativa L. that contains no more than 0.3% delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Industrial hemp is authorized as an alternative agricultural crop by the Montana Legislature, Section 80-18-101 through 80-18-111 of Montana Code Annotated.
Cannabis (/ˈkænəbɪs/) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Cannabaceae. The number of species within the genus is disputed. Three species may be recognized: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis; C. ruderalis may be included within C. sativa; or all three may be treated as subspecies of a single species, C. sativa.[1][2][3][4] The genus is widely accepted as being indigenous to and originating from Central Asia, with some researchers also including upper South Asia in its origin.[5][6]
Despite its centrality in human cultures across the globe, the European taxonomists who bequeathed Cannabis sativa its name didn’t quite get it right. When Carolus Linneaus came to naming the marijuana plant’s genus, he thought there was only one species, instead of the three we now know exist. Hence the confusion surrounding the fact that there are three distinct species of the genus Cannabis sativa, one of which is the sativa species.
Dehulled (i.e. hulled) hemp seed is a very recent phenomenon, first produced in quantity in Europe. Hemp seeds have been used as food since ancient times, but generally the whole seed, including the hull, was eaten. Hemp seed was a grain used in ancient China, although there has been only minor direct use of hemp seed as food by humans. In the past, hemp seed has generally been a food of the lower classes, or a famine food. Peanut-butter type preparations have been produced from hemp seed in Europe for centuries, but were rather gritty since technology for removing the hulls was rudimentary. Modern seed dehulling using mechanical separation produces a smooth, white, gritless hemp seed meal that needs no additional treatment before it is consumed. It is important to understand, therefore, that the quality of modern hemp seed for human consumption far exceeds anything produced historically. This seed meal should be distinguished from the protein-rich, oil-poor seed cake remaining after oil has been expressed, that is used for livestock feed. The seed cake is also referred to as “seed meal,” and has proven to be excellent for animals (Mustafa et al. 1999).
Environmental sex determination is known to occur in a variety of species.[38] Many researchers have suggested that sex in Cannabis is determined or strongly influenced by environmental factors.[26] Ainsworth reviews that treatment with auxin and ethylene have feminizing effects, and that treatment with cytokinins and gibberellins have masculinizing effects.[14] It has been reported that sex can be reversed in Cannabis using chemical treatment.[39] A PCR-based method for the detection of female-associated DNA polymorphisms by genotyping has been developed.[40]
Via CB1 receptor activation, THC indirectly increases dopamine release and produces psychotropic effects.[137] Cannabidiol (CBD) also acts as an allosteric modulator of the μ- and δ-opioid receptors.[138] THC also potentiates the effects of the glycine receptors.[139] It is unknown if or how these actions contribute to the effects of cannabis.[140]
"Industrial hemp" means a fiber or oilseed crop, or both, that is limited to types of the plant Cannabis sativa L. having no more than three-tenths of 1 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contained in the dried flowering tops, whether growing or not; the seeds of the plant; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin produced therefrom.
bNumber of patients treated plus number of patient controls may not equal number of patients enrolled; number of patients enrolled equals number of patients initially recruited/considered by the researchers who conducted a study; number of patients treated equals number of enrolled patients who were given the treatment being studied AND for whom results were reported.
As of November 2016, 28 states and the District of Columbia legally allow cannabis for personal medical use. Rules surrounding the use of medical cannabis (medical marijuana) vary by state. The first state in the union to legalize the medical use of marijuana was California in 1996. States that allow medical marijuana include: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia. It is important to recognize that these state marijuana laws do not change the fact that using marijuana continues to be an offense under Federal law.
The following sketch of hemp cultivation is insufficient to address all of the practical problems that are encountered by hemp growers. Bócsa and Karus (1998) is the best overall presentation of hemp growing available in English. The reader is warned that this book, as well as almost all of the literature on hemp, is very much more concerned with fiber production than oilseed production. McPartland et al. (2000) is the best presentation available on diseases and pests, which fortunately under most circumstances do limited damage. The resource list presented below should be consulted by those wishing to learn about hemp production. Provincial agronomists in Canada now have experience with hemp, and can make local recommendations. Particularly good web documents are: for Ontario (OMAFRA Hemp Series, several documents):; for Manitoba (several documents):; for British Columbia: (BC Ministry of Agriculture and Foods Fact Sheet on Industrial Hemp, prepared by A. Oliver and H. Joynt):
In May of 2018, Mount Vernon planted an industrial cultivar of hemp on the four-acre Pioneer Farm site. Under the 2015 Industrial Hemp Law enacted by the Virginia General Assembly and working with the industrial hemp research program of the University of Virginia, Mount Vernon planted hemp to expand its interpretation of George Washington’s role as an enterprising farmer. As the first historic home of the founding fathers to plant hemp, Mount Vernon will use the plant as an interpretative tool to help better tell the story of Washington’s role as a farmer.
A chief argument that has been advanced in favor of developing hemp as a paper and pulp source has been that as a non-wood or tree-free fiber source, it can reduce harvesting of primary forests and the threat to associated biodiversity. It has been claimed that hemp produces three to four times as much useable fiber per hectare per annum as forests. However, Wong (1998) notes evidence that in the southern US hemp would produce only twice as much pulp as does a pine plantation (but see discussion below on suitability of hemp as a potential lumber substitute in areas lacking trees).
From 1982 to 2002 the EU provided the equivalent of about 50 million dollars to develop new flax and hemp harvesting and fiber processing technologies (Karus et al. 2000). Because of the similarities of flax and hemp, the technologies developed for one usually are adaptable to the other. In addition, various European nations and private firms contributed to the development of hemp technologies. Accordingly, Europe is far more advanced in hemp development with respect to all fiber-based applications than other parts of the world. The EU currently dedicates about 30,000 ha to hemp production. France is the leading country in hemp cultivation in the EU, and 95% of the non-seed production is used for “specialty pulp” as described below. Harvesting and processing machinery for fiber hemp is highly advanced in Europe, and some has been imported into Canada. However, there is insufficient fiber processing capacity to handle hemp produced in Canada.
Cannabis, also referred to as marijuana, has been an integral part of human civilizations for millennia. Both as a medicine and as a recreational substance, cannabis is the most popular illicit drug in the world. Today, the legal landscape that has prohibited marijuana for much of the twentieth century is giving way to decriminalization and full legalization. Legal, commercial cannabis businesses are already making an enormous economic impact.
About 9% of those who experiment with marijuana eventually become dependent according to DSM-IV (1994) criteria.[74] A 2013 review estimates daily use is associated with a 10-20% rate of dependence.[41] The highest risk of cannabis dependence is found in those with a history of poor academic achievement, deviant behavior in childhood and adolescence, rebelliousness, poor parental relationships, or a parental history of drug and alcohol problems.[129] Of daily users, about 50% experience withdrawal upon cessation of use (i.e. are dependent), characterized by sleep problems, irritability, dysphoria, and craving.[110] Cannabis withdrawal is less severe than withdrawal from alcohol.[130]
Jump up ^ Juliet Eilperin (February 11, 2013), "'Good seed' versus 'evil weed': Hemp activists eye legalization", The Washington Post – via The Japan Times Online, [A] couple of factors — the high taxes the federal government imposed on growing hemp in the late 1930s and again in the early '50s, and then the DEA's interpretation of the 1970 law — made producing hemp nearly impossible. Since the DEA only grants permits in rare instances and demands costly, elaborate security precautions, large-scale hemp growing in the United States is not viable.
Cultivated industrial hemp plants usually consist of a spindly main stalk covered with leaves. Considered a low-maintenance crop, hemp plants typically reach between 6 to 15 feet in height. Depending on the purpose, variety and climatic conditions, the period between planting and harvesting ranges from 70 to 140 days. One acre of hemp can yield an average of 700 pounds of grain, which in turn can be pressed into about 22 gallons of oil and 530 pounds of meal. The same acre will also produce an average of 5,300 pounds of straw, which can be transformed into approximately 1,300 pounds of fiber.
Hemp seeds can be eaten raw, ground into hemp meal, sprouted or made into dried sprout powder. The leaves of the hemp plant can be consumed raw in salads.[citation needed] Hemp seeds can also be made into a liquid and used for baking or for beverages such as hemp milk, hemp juice, and tea.[15] Hemp oil is cold-pressed from the seed and is high in unsaturated fatty acids.[16]