Chad Frey, Founder of flowerz, Says Cannabis Is More Legal Than Most People Realize

There are still, at this late date, 11 US states where cannabis remains entirely illegal, meaning there is no legal market for either medical cannabis or cannabis for adult enjoyment. You can probably guess which ones. This cannabis recalcitrance leaves millions of harried, heartland Americans no alternative for buying weed but to meet that guy they’ve known since high school in some parking lot. Or so they have been led to believe. Chad Frey, founder of flowerza Tennessee startup that makes a variety of consumable hemp products, wants to tell those suffering souls about the Hemp Farming Act of 2018.

Incredibly, these Moon Rocks are legal under federal law.

To make an 80+ years story short, cannabis prohibition started in the US in 1937, ostensibly because Congress worried people were getting high (which is true but incidental in that much longer story). Eventually cultivation, sales or simple possession of cannabis, rebranded as marijuana, was made a serious crime. Then, after many years of effort by Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, surely the antithesis of a pothead, Congress made a distinction between types of cannabis. There is hemp, which is legal nationwide if it contains no more than 0.3 percent of delta-9 THC tetrahydrocannabinol. All other cannabis remains illegal under federal law.

Whatever Congress was trying to accomplish with that level of specificity, by mentioning just one cannabinoid they created a loophole large enough for all of the hundreds of other cannabinoids to pass through. As Frey notes, there are many other forms of THC in the hemp plant.

“None of the other forms of THC (delta-8, delta-10, HHC, THC-O) fall under the purview of Congress’ definition (of hemp),” he said. “Whether Congress was unaware or not of these substances is the ongoing conversation.”

Flowerz uses those cannabinoids, entirely derived from organically grown hemp, in products for vaping and edibles, as well as smokable flower that looks very similar to the cannabis on sale at any dispensary in California or Colorado. It is a safe bet that Mitch McConnell never intended for hemp legalization to allow Moon Rocks, but there is no law greater than the law of unintended consequences. Moon Rocks are CBD buds which have been dipped in a high potency D8 distillate, then coated with CBD & CBG Kief. According to the flowerz website, Moon Rocks are 45.2% Delta-8 and 53.8% total cannabinoids.

“Moon Rocks are probably more psychoactive than most flowers you can buy at any dispensary,” Frey said.

The good times might not last forever. Frey notes 20 states have passed or are considering regulating, or banning, delta-8 THC: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New York, Nevada, Rhode Island , Utah, Vermont, Washington, Michigan, North Dakota.

Hemp evangelism

Companies in the medical and adult use cannabis industry are typically fixated on vertical integration. Since adult use and medical cannabis cannot legally cross state lines, it makes sense for a company to grow, process, and retail its own cannabis to the extent possible within each state where it operates. It’s a slow and expensive enterprise, Frey noted.

“It took Proctor & Gamble 80 years to become vertically integrated,” he said. “I don’t know why people in this industry think we’ll do it quickly.”

Frey’s growth strategy is hemp evangelism. To create a line of edible products Frey and the flowerz team selected producers of excellent quality conventional treats, educated them on the logistics and legalities of producing cannabis edibles, and made a business proposition. The manufacturers get a new source of revenue and flowerz gains a line of edibles without investing in or operating commercial kitchens.

“There is no need to vertically integrate,” Frey said.

The similarity between flowerz products derived from hemp and the sort of products found in cannabis dispensaries raises a question. Is flowerz selling wellness products or lifestyle products? Frey acknowledges it is an important consideration, but less important than the fact that all flowerz products are third party verified for purity, and produced in scrupulous compliance with food industry standards.

“That’s the hard thing we deal with internally. Are we a lifestyle brand, or a wellness brand? ” he said. “I just lean towards destigmatizing the plant. There have been about a million deaths from opioid overdoses since 1990, but nobody has ever died from using cannabis, and the cannabis industry has created nearly a half-million new jobs in just the past two years. ”

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