Marijuana Legalization: A Loophole Makes Hash Legal, Lawmakers To Regulate Hash By 2014 [REPORT]

By Staff Reporter on July 15, 2013 1:46 PM EDT

Marijuana legalization
Marijuana legalization to regulate hash and hash oil as well. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Marijuana legalization in the states of Washington and Colorado is prompting a debate on the legality of hashish, or hash, a cannabis product made by the compression (hash brick) or purification of stalked resin glands (hash oil) from the buds collected from a cannabis plant. Hash is a compressed concentration of cannabis resin with extra high levels of THC. Hash can be acquired by simply shaking resin off of a marijuana plant, then pressing it into bricks.

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A central figure amid the hash debate is Jim Andersen, owner of XTracted, a company that specializes in hash oils. Learning the stat of Washington's legalization of marijuana last fall, Andersen decided to return to his home state to establish his company. XTracted sold high-quality hash oils to state-licensed, recreational marijuana stores.

In solid form, hash is noted for its extra high levels of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant. Hash oil can be ingested via medical droppers. According to Anderson, hash oil is popular because of the "clean" high it provides. Hash oils produce an instant, powerful high almost immediately.

"Every major culture that has marijuana associated with it has hash associated with it as well," said Jim Andersen. Andersen also believes that his legitimate business will prevent hashish from ending up being distributed in the black market.

However, state regulators are concerned. Hashish, regarded as the cognac of the marijuana world, is extremely potent and potentially dangerous. Some officials feel people may purchase significantly greater volumes of hashish than necessary for personal use in order to sell the product out of state.

"It's a concern not just for our kids, but for kids in neighboring states as well," said Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention president Derek Franklinof.

According to Washington's legal-week law, adults over the age of 21 are allowed to possess an ounce of dried pot, 16 ounces of pot-infused solids such as brownies, or 72 ounces of infused liquids such as soda. The law also prohibits the sale of pure hashish or hashish oil. However, Washington's Liquor Control board produced a draft that determined hash and hash oil can be used in "marijuana-infused products." This even includes hash oil with the infusion of just a drop of olive oil or glycerin, effectively creating a loophole around the has and hash oil ban.

Hash oils sell for up to $60 for just a gram. Considering that customers are allowed to purchase as much as 16 ounces of marijuana-infused solids and 72 ounces of marijuana infused liquids, transactions for hash and hash oil can run as high as tens of thousands of dollars.

Expressing concern over the loophole, Seattle lawyer Alison Holcomb said, "When we set the 72-ounce limit, we were thinking about marijuana juice or tea, not a high-potency extract like that."

Now, it will be up to Washington state lawmakers to address the concern with a new interpretation of the marijuana ceiling next year. What's more, legislature may also tweak the law to make sales of pure hash and hash oil legal in order to offer clarity in the recreational marijuana marketplace.

The state of Colorado is working on regulating has as well. "Our goal is to replace marijuana prohibition with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol," said Mason Tvert, who led Colorado's legalization campaign. "Some marijuana consumers choose to use more potent forms of marijuana, just as some alcohol consumers prefer a martini or glass of scotch over a beer."

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