As a state with a long history of agriculture, farmers of a much earlier generation had the rug pulled out from under them when hemp farming became illegal in 1937. But, they adapted and learned to grow other crops. However, history is repeating itself as it often does, and hemp farming is back in the United States and here to stay.
Even more, hemp farming is available for individuals who want to grow, handle, or process this incredible plant. That’s what we’re here to talk about today. We’ll discuss the legal status of hemp, including hemp flower, and where it’s legal to buy some.
Is hemp legal in Alabama?
Yes, in 2019 the state of Alabama had its first legal hemp growing season. It was legal for the first time in many decades for two major reasons. First, in December 2018 the U.S. federal government signed the Hemp Farm Bill into law. This was an updated version of the 2014 Farm Bill. The latter Bill made it legal for academic institutions to grow hemp for research purposes only. Four years later in 2018, President Trump signed the updated Bill that allowed commercial hemp farming throughout the United States. Not only that, but this law also removed industrial hemp from the list of illegal schedule 1 drugs.
Additionally, this law provided an “opening” for states to develop their own Hemp Program. Many states decided to adopt one, while others have not yet. Alabama is one of those states with an official Hemp Program thanks to the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI). They helped make it all possible because they’re the governing body in charge of administering and enforcing the program. They were also the ones who drafted and submitted it for approval by the USDA.
From that point on, the Department started accepting applications from individuals who were interested in growing, handling, or processing industrial hemp. All the rules and requirements for applying are outlined by the ADAI.
Let’s take a closer look at the specific laws for the hemp license holders and citizens of Alabama wanting to buy and consume hemp-derived CBD products.
Hemp Laws In Alabama
Besides filling out some forms and passing a background check, all applicants must pay a $200 fee and if approved for a license must pay a $1,000 per growing area. In addition, the ADAI requires GPS coordinates of the grow area and requires all applicants to attend a mandatory hemp orientation meeting.
Once the license gets issued, and the season begins, the growers can only use ADAI approved pesticides on their crops. In addition, the Alabama Department of Agriculture requires all growers to have an analysis of THC levels performed before each harvest. The first one is covered in the $1,000 upfront fee, but for each additional harvest, the testing fee is $250.
To comply with the rules outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill, the percentage of THC cannot exceed 0.3% on a dry weight basis. If the actual percentage exceeds this amount, all the crops get destroyed.
Marketing and selling hemp-derived CBD products in Alabama, however, is not the responsibility of the ADAI. They can’t issue licenses to retailers or distributors of CBD. When it comes to selling or buying CBD hemp flower, there’s debate on the topic. Some say the sale of unprocessed hemp is not legal, while the Attorney General of Alabama, Steve Marshall, says that all hemp-derived products with less than 0.3% THC are legal.
Given his position and legal expertise, you can buy, consume, and/or smoke CBD hemp flower buds. This leads us to the next question we want to address.
Can you buy hemp flower buds in Alabama?
Yes, there are some retail stores in Alabama that carry a selection of CBD strains. But on the same note, there’s some fear about carrying the raw flower, because it looks identical to its cousin, marijuana. Given the illegal nature of marijuana at the federal level and also in the state of Alabama, officials may mistake one for the other. They might receive a bad “tip” that a store’s selling illegal marijuana when all they’re selling is legal hemp flower.
If this is your first introduction to hemp flower and you’re not quite sure what this means or how it somehow relates to CBD oil and other more well-known products, we’ll take you through it now.
Hemp Flower vs Marijuana Flower
For starters, hemp flower has several other names like buds and nugs. Just like a rose bush produces roses, a cannabis plant produces flowers. Both the hemp and marijuana plants are part of the cannabis Sativa L family of plants. This is how and why they often get mistaken for one another.
To clear things up, the hemp plant’s chemical profile looks a lot different than marijuana’s chemical profile. The largest glaring difference is the concentration of THC levels each one produces. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive compound in cannabis.
The hemp plant naturally contains high levels of cannabidiol (CBD) and low amounts of THC. Whereas, marijuana is the exact opposite. Many marijuana strains have high THC content and small amounts of CBD.
However, if you were to hold two cannabis flower buds in your hands, it would be difficult to tell which one’s a marijuana strain and which one’s a hemp strain. That’s because their appearance, smell, and texture are very much alike.
Herein lies the problem — hemp flower is legal in Alabama, but marijuana flower is not.
So, some consumers prefer to buy hemp flower online to get first-hand proof of what they’re buying. They get this proof from the Certificate of Analysis (COA). This is a report issued by third-party labs that contains information about the various cannabinoids in the plant. In general, these labs look for a dozen or so cannabinoids, like CBD, THC, CBG, CBC, CBN, CBDV, and a few others.
The “Cannabinoid Analysis” on the COA tells you the exact percentage of each one, which is all the evidence you need.
Can you buy hemp flower buds online?
Yes, you can and it’s legal to do so. Like we just mentioned, make sure to review the COA first before you buy anything. Confirm the Delta-9 THC percentage is at or below 0.3%. But thanks to the popularity of e-commerce, the ease of online shopping, and the U.S. federal Farm Bill of 2018, it’s legal to sell and buy hemp flower online.
But like buying clothes, shoes, supplements, or food products online, you also want to take your time buying hemp flower buds. Because not all are grown in the same conditions. Not all companies value organic farming practices, and not everyone carefully cures their buds to bring out the most amazing smells and terpene profiles.
These things matter if you want the best smoking experience and optimal effects. So, looking for premium hemp flower is the way to go. And we’re here to help you find it.
How to identify the best hemp flower?
To find high-quality, artisan hemp flower the first thing to do is trace the plant’s life cycle from seed to harvest and even post-harvest. Because this is when the curing process happens (or doesn’t in some non-ideal cases). Of course, organic is always a better farming practice because certain chemicals and pesticides are avoided. In addition, soil quality matters, because that’s where heavy metals live.
Since hemp is a bio-accumulator, it sucks up and absorbs everything in its path, including heavy metals if they’re present in the ground. Organic, lab-tested CBD buds won’t have any traces of heavy metals or pesticides for that matter.
So, after you’ve confirmed the organic nature of your hemp flower strain, the next part is to find its CBD percentage and read about the terpene profile. Track down a copy of the lab report that shows which terpenes are inside the buds. Together the CBD concentration and the terpene percentages will enhance the effects and benefits you get from smoking CBD hemp flower.
Another way to learn about the quality of the hemp buds is to read customer reviews. Seems a bit obvious, right? But, sometimes we don’t make time to read these. If you do, however, you’ll get some good insider information and advice about a particular strain.
Final thoughts on hemp flower in Alabama
Hemp farming is legal in Alabama. Hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal in Alabama. And that means hemp flower is also legal in this southern state. So, feel free to buy CBD flower online if your heart is called to try some. Or visit a local store or dispensary if that’s available to you.
Either way, we hope you enjoy the pure joy and magic from smoking CBD hemp flower, especially organic CBD nugs.