Due to its low THC content (> 0.3%) it can be legally shipped across the United States. However, much like other products in the cannabis space, low-THC smokable flower has its challenges. 

 

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AUTHOR: Heather Allman

PUBLISHER: CANNABIS LAW REPORT

 

The smokable hemp flower market is becoming a fast-growing and lucrative industry with sales estimated to skyrocket in 2021

 

Due to its low THC content (> 0.3%) it can be legally shipped across the United States. However, much like other products in the cannabis space, low-THC smokable flower has its challenges. 

With varying laws from state-to-state, hemp industry experts share insight on properly navigating the nascent market:

  • Closely Following Individual States Regulations:

As states continue to attempt bans on smokable hemp sales, it can still legally be purchased and consumed from companies operating within their individual state’s legislature allowing national sales direct-to-consumer. 

  • Federal Legalization Allows Interstate Commerce

Online vendors will continue to operate under the 2018 farm bill which allows interstate commerce, allowing businesses to continue to be able to ship directly to the consumer.

 

On March 5, 2021, I talked in-depth with Zach Dorsett and Trina Johnson of Blue Forest Farms, and Will Trienens of Cannaflower about why they see the smokable hemp market as a promising venture for the burgeoning hemp industry. 

 

Cannabis Law Report: As if talking to an educated, discerning hemp brand or business owner, explain the basics of the current smokable hemp market. 

Blue Forest Farms: Smokable hemp is an alternative to tobacco, marijuana or other smokable herbs and provides immediate access to the therapeutic compounds in the plant. This new market sector is also allowing farmers to cultivate and share the benefits of this plant within their community. 

 

Cannaflower: While some states have attempted to make their own legislation to regulate smokable hemp flower, the federal 2018 Farm Bill is what actually paved the way for a booming direct-to-consumer online market that shows no signs of slowing down.   

 

CLR: Tell me about the future of smokable hemp and what it means for the national hemp program and individual hemp brands.

Blue Forest Farms: Smokable hemp provides a high-value commodity for the hemp farmer. As the market for raw biomass utilized for extraction evolves, smaller farmers are being left behind. Smokable hemp provides farmers an opportunity to grow and create products that facilitate healing in the community.

Additionally, the smokable hemp flower market has given direction to plant breeders and seed companies like Blue Forest Farms. We have developed strains specifically for the smokable hemp market that feature massive bud structures with tight internodal spacing and loud terpene profiles that are pleasing to the nose and enjoyable to smoke.

Cannaflower: Hemp is merely the legal product classification for a cannabis genetic with an alternative cannabinoid profile. When THC levels are no longer seen as the sole metric for quality and price, a larger market of consumers will appreciate the merits of premium cannabis with lower THC contents.

 

CLR: Are there currently any barriers to entering the smokable hemp market, or can you speak to the unrealistic nature of the DEA’s THC-limit policy and the variance in THC between raw hemp and the final manufactured products. 

Blue Forest Farms: The current THC limits present a major challenge not only for producers, retailers and consumers of smokable hemp but also have a direct impact on other sectors of the industry like extraction and hemp biomass farming in maintaining compliance.

However, genetics offer an advantage. We’ve mapped genes for THCA synthase production inside the plant and are able to measure the THC potential right at the seedling stage. Farmers should preliminarily screen their genetics before they make a significant investment.

Cannaflower: Many of the challenges of the smokable hemp market are not dissimilar to the cannabis market in terms of sourcing alternatives around basic financial services. We would welcome more liberal legislation in regards to THC limits to account for current genetic limitations. But  innovative business models can currently find success operating with full compliance at both the state and federal levels. 

 

 

CLR: Discuss any specific obstacles currently being faced by your organization or brand, noting how the current rules will specifically hinder current/ongoing progress in the hemp program, regarding smokable hemp? 

Blue Forest Farms: One of the biggest challenges that we face as a company is the constantly changing landscape of the industry. Tracking the individual state labeling requirements, ever-changing rules for hemp and hemp-based product sales, and managing the complex timeline to implement various layers of federal and state rules for seed production, are just a few barriers we face on a daily basis. If hemp were treated like any other agricultural commodity, consumers would be safer with protected regulations that are manageable to maintain.

Cannaflower: Currently, some states are attempting to initiate additional legislation for hemp and specifically hemp flower, posing some challenges in terms of everchanging compliance at both state and federal levels.

 

CLR: What are the bonuses of smokable hemp for the national market? state markets? local markets and communities?

Cannaflower: Smokable hemp flower introduces an alternative vertical and promising revenue opportunity for those willing to enter this market. Tax and employment opportunities will continue to bolster growth in this new market sector. Additionally, low-THC cannabis options fill a gap in the current cannabis market. 

 

CLR: Discuss specific positives currently seen by your organization or brand, noting how smokable hemp will specifically help current and ongoing progress in the hemp program? 

Cannaflower: Providing consumer education speaking directly to the therapeutic qualities of hemp demystifies the historically demonized cannabis plant.

 

CLR: In light of a new smokable hemp market skyrocketing, what is one key element or overarching plans you have to maintain existing high caliber hemp brands, businesses, and ancillary services?

Cannaflower: From the beginning, Cannaflower’s mission has been to provide premium smokable hemp flower with stellar customer service. To this end, we are constantly reevaluating our product offerings to ensure they meet the highest quality and compliance levels in the industry. 

 

 

 

CLR: What responsibility does your company or organization feel to consumers and the public, concerning smokable hemp? 

Blue Forest Farms: We take responsibility not only for the product that we put out there and what it brings to the community but also for the way that the plants are grown in harmony with the natural ecosystem.

We grow according to the organic standards set by the USDA, and we integrate biodynamic farming practices into our work. 

Cannaflower: Brands in this space have a responsibility for providing consumer education and a secure customer experience.

At Cannaflower, we seek to bring an enlightened perspective to a historically stigmatized product by focusing on a holistically approachable customer experience.

 

CLR: As key players in the hemp market, what keeps you awake at night?

Blue Forest Farms: Working with a plant with over 50,000 capabilities, there is only a shortage of time, never of purpose. Our team often wonders how hemp is going to impact the construction industry, revolutionize energy storage and biofuels, and healing opportunities for livestock and wild animals nutrition. We’re always thinking forward to what may be next. 

Cannaflower: The potential for sudden tectonic shifts in the industry has continually been a part of the marketplace. While much has changed, we will always keep a close eye on what may directly affect our operations, such as merchant processing or banking changes.

 

CLR: What is your personal vision or hopes for the national hemp program, and smokable hemp specifically, by 2022? 

Blue Forest Farms: The future of our industry should prioritize social equity, inclusion and diversity, from policymakers to business owners and consumers. Additionally, we hope to see FDA approval for the inclusion of hemp cannabinoids and hemp-based products in food and dietary supplements. We have so much work to do.

Cannaflower: Cannaflower’s main focus on consumer education around hemp flower in light of potential legislation changes, as well as what this product has to offer to customers, are things we are very enthusiastic about spotlighting in the coming year to spur broader acceptance of this unique product category.