Questions over hemp legalization under Prop 1

Elections

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The main focus of the debate surrounding Proposal 1 is that it will legalize the recreational use of marijuana. But it would also legalize the production of hemp, and that side of things is a little more hazy.

Section 2 of Proposal 1 mentions hemp by name in the same paragraph as marijuana. Though similar, they’re not exactly the same plant. You can’t get high off hemp due to its low content of
tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that gives marijuana its psychoactive effects. Hemp is used to make a variety of products from clothes to food.

Under Prop 1, any hemp produced in Michigan would have to have a THC content of less than .3 percent. But outside of that, there are a lot of questions that don’t yet have answers.

“It’s generally going to be legal to use and sell it, but the scope of regulation that the state might develop for it is unknown at this point,” attorney Ronald Redick said.

The firm he works at, Grand Rapids-based Mika Meyers, has been working with cities to explain their options should Proposal 1 — which polls show voters are leaning toward — pass.

Jeff Gallagher of MHR Brands, who grows hemp in other states, said he would have preferred that hemp was left out of Proposal 1 and addressed separately.

“I would love for them to say that hemp and marijuana are totally different things … and allow me to grow it without having to have a 16-foot fence with barbed wire around it,” he said. “I wish it was removed or they made a very clear statement that it was different.”

The Kent County Sheriff’s Department opposes Proposal 1, citing concerns about more marijuana on the streets. On Wednesday, officials said they didn’t have a direct stance on hemp.

Proposal 1 goes before voters Tuesday.

>>Online: Michigan Voter Information Center

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