Over the last several years, the cannabis industry has enjoyed explosive, exponential growth. This is true for both strains of cannabis: federally legal hemp (0.3% THC or less) and federally illegal marijuana (more than 0.3% THC).
The 2018 Farm Bill was a major turning point for the hemp industry because it significantly expanded the ability of states to develop hemp programs. Since passage, many of the approximately 40 states that have industrial hemp programs have altered the laws, regulations, and governmental guidance governing their programs, and several states that had no program previously have since implemented one. This has led not only to variances in the requirements of law from state to state, but also in rapidly changing laws within a given state. Businesses and regulators in the hemp industry must pay close attention to remain informed on the current state of law in their states.
In the marijuana industry, the number of states permitting adult-use or medical marijuana is growing every year. As with hemp, each state's marijuana program is unique, and any entity interested in entering the marijuana business must be aware of the state-to-state differences in requirements of law. But with marijuana, there is another layer of complexity: it is federally illegal. This illegality adds additional risks that every interested business must understand and appreciate.