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THC-O is not hemp and is illegal under Farm Bill, DEA says

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The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration considers so-called “hemp-derived” “novel cannabinoids” that do not exist in the hemp plant naturally – such as THC acetate ester, commonly referred to on the market as THC-O – to be illegal.

The agency’s opinion on the controversial topic became public Monday thanks to North Carolina-based cannabis attorney Rod Kight.

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Last year, Kight asked the DEA to clarify its stance – and its interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act – about THC acetate, which is one of a slew of new cannabinoids that have appeared in vaporizer cartridges, edibles and other products since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.

That bill legalized hemp production nationwide and, in turn, triggered an onslaught of products containing “intoxicating cannabinoids” derived from hemp.

Unlike delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC, both of which exist naturally in the hemp plant, THC acetate, or THC-O, does not.

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Tribally owned marijuana store numbers up 25% since 2023

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(This is a contributed guest column. To be considered as an MJBizDaily guest columnist, please submit your request here.)

Matthew Klas (Courtesy photo)

Marijuana businesses owned and operated by Native American tribes experienced strong growth in the past year.

Tribally owned cannabis retailers have continued to open across the United States as tribes have looked to diversify their economies, assert their sovereignty and seize the first-to-market advantage in certain states.

The U.S. government recognizes 574 Native American tribes, and roughly 350 are in the contiguous 48 states.

As sovereign nations, tribes’ marijuana laws might differ from state statutes that are applicable off tribal lands.

Tribal laws can be more restrictive – such as banning cannabis use even in states where recreational marijuana has been legalized – but they also can be more permissive than state laws.

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Michigan is selling more cannabis, but retailers are taking in less money

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Michigan marijuana retailers sold about 9.3% more cannabis in April than in March, but they brought in about 3.5% less money.

In April, Michigan retailers sold 573,206 total pounds of cannabis – 569,620 pounds to adult-use customers and 3,586 pounds to medical marijuana patients – for a total of $278,546,444.

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Of that April total, $276,685,183 was spent by recreational shoppers and $1,861,261 by MMJ patients, according to monthly statistics from Michigan’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA).

In March, Michigan retailers sold 524,285 total pounds of marijuana – 520,469 pounds on the recreational side and 3,816 on the MMJ side – for $288,843,279.

Of that March total, $286,790,258 was spent by adult-use customers and $2,053,021 by MMJ patients, according to CRA data.

The agency reported

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AI is making cannabis cultivation smarter

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(This story is part of the cover package in the May-June issue of MJBizMagazine.)

Machine learning is becoming increasingly common in indoor cannabis grows, as cultivators use sophisticated sensors and cameras to maintain optimal growing conditions, sound the alarm about threats such as pests or disease and reduce labor costs associated with both menial and high-level cultivation tasks.

“Cannabis has always been the enabler of some of these bleeding-edge technologies,” Nick Genty, CEO of North Carolina-based AgEye Technologies, said in an interview with MJBizMagazine.

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“They’ve had the margins, and they’ve had the budgets to support investing in new technology versus some of the vegetable guys who don’t.”

There are two main reasons why cannabis and other indoor agriculture companies are implementing artificial intelligence or machine-learning

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