These aren't the flower tops you're looking for, move along:
"Law enforcement cannot discern the difference between smokable hemp and marijuana, and our State Crime Lab cannot discern the difference because they can't discern the level of the THC that it contains," Peg Dorer, director of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, told members of the Senate Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources committee on Thursday.
The farm bill would create a presumption in state law that licensed hemp farmers aren't growing marijuana, but Dorer said that creates a loophole that would basically legalize marijuana in the state. "Law enforcement will not be able to seize or arrest for marijuana because they can't tell, and prosecutors will have a very difficult time and will not be able to prosecute any violations of marijuana laws," she said.
Um, good? Prosecutors are already looking at a mountain of prior convictions that will need to be re-evaluated and expunged once marijuana is decriminalized, the last thing they need to be doing is adding to that pile. As far as police are concerned, this could actually make their jobs easier, and free them up to pursue violent criminals (you know, rapists and murderers and such). And here's another obvious truism: Decriminalization or outright legalization of marijuana for recreational use will decouple the kind bud from the supply chains of other narcotics like opioids and cocaine, better isolating the purveyors of such. On a separate but related note, I was not aware that smokable hemp even existed, but it's apparently a pretty big deal:
Farmer Lori Lacy told lawmakers that she had never heard of smokable flowers before she started growing hemp in rural Macon County. But now, they're key to her bottom line.
"I don't want our infrastructure, everything we've done to this point, to go away," Lacy said. "I will have to fire people or let them go. I will not have positions that I currently have for people that are working for me right now."
Rod Leary said smokable hemp flowers are keeping his third-generation greenhouse business going. A ban would close his doors, he said.
"It was a concern because there's so many contracts out there that we have, and we worry about it crippling our business," Leary said.
For what it's worth, Nicotine derived from tobacco (nightshade family) is a Parasympathomimetic Alkaloid that serves as a stimulant, and can play hell with your autonomic system. It can also be used as a deadly poison in highly-concentrated form. In other words, smoking hemp flower tops is likely a lot more safe than cracking open a pack of Marlboros.