Virginia’s hemp industry is just one signature away from sweeping changes in relation to hemp-based THC products.
In the USA, hemp is defined as the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of the plant with a delta-9 THC concentration of not more than 0.3 percent by dry weight.
But hemp-derived THC can be concentrated or another cannabinoid (CBD) manipulated to make other forms of THC. It’s this loophole that has given rise to the popularity of compounds such as delta-8 THC. The genie is out of the bottle, but various states are racing to cram it back in.
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has been eager to get on top of the distribution and sale of hemp-based THC products in his state. In 2022, Governor Youngkin signed a bill into law primarily targeting delta-8 THC. More legislation on the cusp of becoming law – SB903 and HB2294 (identical bills) – have some in the state’s cannabis industry up in arms.
Senate Bill 903 (SB 903) bans delta-8 THC, and sets tight limits on total THC levels in hemp foods.
With both houses of the state legislature having already given the governor’s revised version of the bill a green light on April 12, the only thing now needed is his signature to make it law.
Among those strongly in opposition to the bill is the Virginia Hemp Coalition.
“While we have no problem regulating hemp derived products for purity and correct labeling and agree that intoxicating products should never be marketed or sold to children – this bill goes too far,” said the Coalition earlier this week. “We could have had a simple bill address these things that most everyone could agree on, but instead we have a combination of ignorant and corrupt politicians on the subject which have now caused running the hemp industry out of Virginia.”
The Coalition believes should the policies proceed, the result will be job losses, businesses will close their doors and associated economic growth will go to other states.
But the fight may not end with the end with the Governor’s sign-off, assuming that happens.
“We expect there to be a strong and swift reaction to this attack on the hemp industry with a major lawsuit in one or more courts,” said Jason Amatucci, the Coalition’s executive director.