The judge and the prosecution dismissed the matter, but their action added more discourse to the long-lived and thorny topic of marijuana legalization in the United States.
In June, Oklahoma became the 30th state to legalize medical marijuana, while nine states and the District of Columbia have OK’d recreational pot since 2012. Now, it’s the CBD issue, an outgrowth of the marijuana cultivation industry, that has led to considerable confusion and almost fueled Ndiaye’s path to confinement. Despite the Internet ads that herald its sanction, CBD is not legal to possess in all 50 states.
A fine physical distinction spells the difference between legitimacy and lawlessness — and amid the muddled climate, you may be flirting with judicial misuse.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a compound found in the marijuana plant that is said, among other things, to curb anxiety and seizures, relieve pain, aid in sleep and digestion and help fight cancer. It’s among 113 compounds found in marijuana and is widely available commercially in many forms, even in pet shops. As marijuana becomes increasingly acceptable, it’s arguable that CBD will find its way into larger markets as a medication for those who can’t reasonably ingest byproducts from the plant.
Moreover, CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning that its users can’t contract the high associated with marijuana. It’s present in 40 percent of the marijuana plant, second only to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in weed that produces the user’s ‘‘stoned’’ sensation.
Despite its apparent virtues, CBD is a subject of scrutiny.
The cannabis industry claims that CBD products are classified as hemp under U.S. law as long as they contain 0.3 percent or less of THC. It adds that such products are thus legal to process and distribute (the Forbes story said a test of Ndaiye’s CBD oil contained no trace of THC).
But the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration begs to differ. In a 2017 Brookings Institution report, it said that ‘‘[A]ny product that contains THC, even in small amounts, is considered marijuana under federal law and is illegal.’’ Technically, U.S. laws trump those of the states, although a Stanford University publication says ‘‘[s]uch prosecutions would require a lot of resources, with very little assurance of success.’’
A recent Pew Research Center poll reflects that 61 percent of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana, paving the way for the sanction of CBD. Right now, its legitimacy depends on whom you talk to. If the discussion includes an official from the DEA, it probably won’t last too long.