U.S. Army’s Hemp Research, Mississippi’s Medical Cannabis Program, and Japan’s Synthetic Cannabinoid Gray Market

July 8, 2022 06:30 am ET Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes

The U.S. Army is exploring hemp fabrics for uniforms, Mississippi’s medical cannabis law took effect, and Japan’s synthetic cannabis gray market has exploded.

Let’s dive into this week’s cannanews.

U.S. Army Explores Hemp Uniforms

The U.S. Army is finally embracing cannabis—but not in the way you may think. Late last month, a request for information (RFI) from the U.S. Army revealed that the organization is exploring the use of alternative materials for its snipers’ uniforms. One of the alternate uniform materials that made the Army’s wishlist is hemp.

Interestingly enough, U.S. Army soldiers are not allowed to consume hemp-derived CBD. However, hemp’s many benefits when used as a fabric—such as its waterproof and windproof properties—made it worthwhile for the Army to consider for uniforms.

As part of its search for alternative materials, the Army is also looking at three-ply jute and twine of natural colors. The organization has reached out to various fiber, yarn, and thread mills to help with their research of these fabrics. However, the Army has clarified that these are simply information requests and do not “constitute a formal solicitation for proposals and will not directly lead to any contract awards.”

What do you think of the U.S. Army’s interest in hemp materials for its uniforms? Let us know in the comments!

Mississippi Medical Cannabis Legalization Takes Effect

As of July 1, medical cannabis is officially legal in Mississippi! The legalization comes courtesy of the Mississippi (MS) Medicinal Cannabis Act, which was signed into law back in February. However, this does not mean that folks can immediately go pick up medical cannabis—rather, it gives dispensaries the go-ahead to begin their hiring processes. 

At the program’s launch, those with cancer, HIV/AIDS, sickle cell, terminal illnesses, or any medical conditions which cause seizures, chronic pain, and other ailments will be covered under the list of applicable conditions. Once patients are certified by their doctors, they will have 60 days to fill out an application with the MS Department of Health. If approved, patients will be able to purchase medical cannabis for 12 months before they have to renew.

Patients will be able to purchase up to 3.5 grams of cannabis in a day, or about 3 ounces per month. The purchase limit was needed to get the bill across the finish line, as Gov. Tate Reeves threatened to veto it otherwise.

Curious Mississippi residents can already begin talking to their doctors to see if medical cannabis is right for them. You can join our Mississippi certification waitlist here.

Japan’s Synthetic Cannabis Gray Market Continues to Boom

Japan is not a country known for its cannabis-friendly laws. In fact, possession of THC in any form comes with a minimum prison sentence of 5 years! Despite Japan’s harsh cannabis laws, however, people are still finding a way to get high thanks to a special loophole. 

In Japan, products made from cannabis are allowed to be imported as food or oils—as long as they are free of THC. Synthetic cannabinoids, free of THC but capable of creating the same (if not more intense) psychedelic effects as THC, are thus not subject to the same ban. As a result, a synthetic cannabis gray market has exploded in the country as residents look for legal ways to reap cannabis’ benefits.

This gray market explosion isn’t due to a lack of effort by Japanese authorities either. In fact, earlier this year Japan’s government banned the trendy synthetic cannabinoid HHC. The issue is for every cannabinoid like HHC that is banned, another synthetic one—like THC-O, THCV, and 9beta—takes its place. This perpetual game of whack-a-mole wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t for synthetic cannabinoids being unregulated and unsafe messes.

In 2015, synthetic cannabinoid JWH-018 caused a 28-year-old man to experience the symptoms of a stroke. A 2018 study found that synthetics were causing some consumers to experience full-on cardiovascular health emergencies. As long as the Japanese government continues to push the cannabis market underground, consumers will be in danger.

Nonetheless, some synthetic users say the risk is well worth the benefits they get from synthetic cannabis. “My life’s become richer—I can now eat more and watch movies on the weekends,” said 30-year-old Masahiro Tajimi, who has struggled with his appetite and anxiety. While the Japanese government isn’t expected to change its mind on cannabis legalization anytime soon, testimonies like those of Tajimi show that the general public’s attitude toward the plant is slowly starting to shift.

What do you think of Japan’s growing synthetic cannabinoid market? Do you think shifting public attitudes will encourage Japan to rethink its cannabis policies? Let us know in the comments!

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