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Michigan is more than a Great Lakes state, it’s also building a reputation as one of the “greenest” states in America’s Midwest. When we say green, we’re referring to its cannabis policies. Both hemp and marijuana fall under this category.
Back on November 6, 2008, the state implemented the Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative. This made medical marijuana legal for chronically ill patients with life-threatening diseases. Then 10 years later to the day, on November 6, 2018, recreational marijuana became legal for adults 21 years and older.
On the heels of this law, came the passage of the state’s Industrial Hemp Program. This made it legal, with the proper license, of course, to grow and process hemp flower in Michigan. We’ll get into the details of what all these laws mean, especially as they pertain to hemp.
Michigan hemp laws
Under the Hemp Ag Pilot Program and the Industrial Hemp Research & Development Act (Public Act 641), it’s legal to grow hemp in Michigan. The Pilot Program is set up for universities, colleges, and the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) to grow hemp for research purposes.
And Public Act 641 allows those who want to grow, process, handle, or market hemp for commercial purposes to do so in a legal setting. This act became effective on January 15, 2019. As of this date, the MDARD became responsible for overseeing and regulating the state’s Industrial Hemp Program.
That means they must review and process applications from interested farmers or businesses. Those who meet the qualifications and pay the required fees will become registered or licensed by the Department.
Furthermore, another major responsibility of the MDARD is to ensure testing of hemp crops gets performed. In particular, the test pertains to THC levels. Under the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills as well as Michigan’s Hemp Program the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels cannot exceed 0.3% on a dry weight basis.
Before the harvest takes place, this test must occur. If a plant has more than 0.3% THC it can get retested up to two more times. But, if the plants fail to pass the test, the crops must get destroyed.
However, the Department did send comments to the USDA in January 2020 asking them to reconsider some of the current laws. One of its requests related to the 15-day window between testing and harvesting. Also, they asked for the law that enforces crop destruction when THC levels test above the 0.3% threshold be reconsidered.
Instead, the MDARD proposed an alternative option such as utilizing the plants in another way or selling them to a different market. This way, farmers wouldn’t lose thousands of dollars due to the destruction of their crops. This not only hurts the individual farmer but the state’s agricultural system as a whole.
As Michigan awaits feedback from the USDA on their comments and on approval of their Industrial Hemp Program, they’ll continue to operate under both the Pilot Program and Public Act 641.
Michigan’s first hemp growing season
The first year industrial hemp farming took place was in 2019. And according to Gary McDowell, Director of the MDARD, the growing season went well. He commented as follows, “with the inaugural year of growing hemp for the first time in decades under our belt, Michigan is focused on taking the next steps with this emerging crop.”
During the year, hemp grew on more than 3,600 acres outdoors, while over 400,000 square feet of hemp grew indoors throughout many of the state’s counties. To be specific, hemp grew in 58 of Michigan’s 83 counties.
Is CBD flower legal in Michigan?
Yes, buying and possessing CBD flower in Michigan is legal. Since recreational and medical marijuana became legal before hemp did, the state didn’t have to worry about something many other states worry about — the similarities between hemp and marijuana.
You see, marijuana buds, which are illegal in several other states look, feel, and smell just like hemp buds. So, some states legalized hemp but didn’t want to legalize the flower because they look similar to the marijuana plant. Fortunately, this dilemma doesn’t exist in Michigan.
In fact, having up to 2.5 ounces or 71 grams of marijuana is legal, so following this same guideline, you could have this same amount of CBD hemp flower. Although there’s no limit imposed on hemp flower yet and maybe not ever, this is a good rule of thumb to follow for now.
As we said, the two plants are hardly distinguishable from one another. And there’s no quick or accurate way for a civil service member, like a police officer, to tell them apart. So, to stay clear of any problems, try not to have more than 2.5 ounces with you at one time.
What is CBD hemp flower?
We’ve talked a lot about CBD hemp flower, but what is it exactly? To step back a bit, let’s talk about the major components of the hemp plant. There’s a stalk, big fan leaves, flowers (or buds), their stems, seeds, and small sugar leaves. The buds or nugs as they’re often called, contain high levels of CBD. In fact, only the buds and the sugar leaves contain cannabidiol.
The stalks have hundreds of industrial uses, while the seeds are a nutritional powerhouse. As you can see, each part of the plant has its purpose and benefits. Yet the flower is most often added into pre-rolled CBD joints, packed in a pipe to smoke, or infused into oil because of its large concentrations of CBD.
Where to buy CBD flower in Michigan
Since hemp flower in Michigan is legal, you’ll find options at a local store, gas station, or another type of storefront. If you rather save yourself an errand and some time, you can buy CBD flower online through a hemp flower dispensary.
If this is your first time buying flower, you’ll come across different strains when looking to order hemp flower online. Each hemp strain will have a certain smell, look, set of tasting notes, parent strains, and unique qualities that contribute to its effects.
It’s common for the strain name to give you some of these details, but even more, the description on the website should provide more in-depth information about the strain. Also, it doesn’t hurt to read reviews from consumers who’ve tried it.
Read what they have to say, look at the pictures online, and get as much intel about the strain as possible. Try reading a blog that gives the scoop on the best hemp strains, and what makes them so special.
How to choose premium hemp flower instead of poor quality buds
So, you’ve decided to look for organic hemp flower online. Now that you’ve learned about the different types of strains available to you, it’s time to strategize. But first, you’ll need some tips about identifying the ‘cream on the crop’ CBD buds.
Attributes of high quality hemp flower
The most common way to consume CBD flower is to smoke it, as we mentioned earlier. We bring this up because anything you inhale goes into your lungs. Which means you want to find organic CBD nugs that are free of pesticides and other chemicals. There’s no place for contaminants like these in your body.
So, this is the first thing you’ll want to check for. Once you verify the organic nature of the strain check to see where the plant grew. Industrial hemp grown in the United States must comply with the regulations outlined in the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills and with the state’s Industrial Hemp Program. That means to grow, process, or sell hemp, each person needs a license to do so.
Having these laws in place ensures standards get followed, the plants THC levels get tested, and there’s uniformity and consistency across the board. All these measures have a significant impact on the quality of the hemp crops, and ultimately the quality of the hemp flower you’re looking to buy.
In sum, CBD flower in Michigan is legal to grow with a license and legal to buy if you’re over the age of 21. So far, the state’s had big success with its Industrial Hemp Program. And many farmers and businesses have participated in bringing hemp back to Michigan after many decades without it.
As a resident and consumer, that means you have plenty of options for buying CBD buds in a local store or browsing the fantastic options online.