RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)-A newly passed bill could stop the sale of certain CBD products in Virginia starting July 1.
Hemp growers who fear the future of the industry are at stake are asking Governor Glenn Youngkin for help.
Meanwhile, a lawmaker calls their claims ‘categorically false’ and ‘misleading’.
In a letter, an advocacy coalition called the U.S. Hemp Roundtable urged Governor Youngkin to veto the legislation and appoint a study group to examine the issue further before the 2023 session.
“If SB 591 is enacted, the entire Virginia hemp industry, from farmers to processors to vendors, will face new restrictions that no other state has imposed, which will place Virginia businesses in a significant competitive position in what has been a national hemp economy since 2018,” the letter states.
This post was picked up by an online petition with over 3,600 signatures.
A spokesperson for Youngkin said he was reviewing the legislation but had nothing further to add at this time.
The bipartisan bill expands the legal definition of marijuana in Virginia, in part by setting stricter limits on THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis that induces a high.
Under federal law, hemp must have a concentration of 0.3% THC or less. This standard has been used to enable the legal sale of hemp-derived CBD products in Virginia and across the country.
Marijuana, which is defined as having more than 0.3% THC, is legal to possess but not to sell in the Commonwealth. The timeline for a retail deal is unclear after House Republicans postponed action on a regulatory framework until the 2022 session.
If signed by Youngkin, the legislation would set new caps that could halt the sale of some CBD products, at least until recreational marijuana sales pick up, according to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Emmett Hanger ( R-Augusta). The legislation states that products cannot contain more than 0.25 milligrams of THC per serving and a maximum of one milligram per package.
Natural Kame Founder Reed Anderson, a Goochland-based hemp grower and CBD maker, said it will force them to pull existing products off the shelves and replace them with items he feels are less effective at treating pain and headaches. Mental Health.
“Senate Bill 591 essentially bankrupts us,” Anderson said. “You are hurting farmers. You are hurting our consumers and the people who have found relief through this product. You do not control the product. People can still order it online from any other state and it’s coming to their doorstep.
In an email, Senator Hanger told Anderson that the wording of the bill was being evaluated to avoid unintended consequences.
“While SB 591 may have unintended impacts on some marketed products, the primary target is edibles sold as gummies in colors and shapes that appeal to unsuspecting children and adults, as well as a wide variety of edible products. commonly marketed as “Delta-8”, says Hanger.
Of the. Dawn Adams (D-Chesterfield) disagrees with claims that the bill will destroy Virginia’s CBD industry.
“I don’t agree one hundred percent with that sentiment. I think they’re flat-out wrong, and it’s misleading to say that,” Adams said.
Adams, a clinician who works in the field of alternative pain management, said she has heard of medical cannabis patients who unexpectedly got “massively high” after using CBD products.
With limited application in this area, Adams said the legislation is intended to address loopholes in federal and state law that are being exploited to sell mislabeled, intoxicating and dangerous cannabis products.
“We’re trying to put the genie back in the bottle, and we’re trying to do that, not to limit the hemp industry, but as a consumer safety issue,” Adams said.
Adams said hemp industry players exaggerate the need for THC in their products for them to be effective, and complaints are largely driven by profit.
“People get high added value and when you take that out, which isn’t necessary for the product, then that feeling of added value goes away and so I imagine profits will go down,” Adams said. “When the profits go back up, that’s when we’ve regulated cannabis and they can get licensed.”
In the meantime, Anderson said these changes, if implemented, will result in the loss of major investments and jobs for farmers.
“A year ago we legalized marijuana. In my opinion, it’s like we just legalized moonshine and banned O’Doul’s,” Anderson said.