21 State Attorneys General Send Letter to Congress Asking for Stronger Regulations to Govern Intoxicating Hemp Derivatives

21 State Attorneys General Send Letter to Congress Asking for Stronger Regulations to Govern Intoxicating Hemp Derivatives

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The letter comes amid a recent bevy of legislative initiatives and increased regulatory actions by several states, including New York, Arizona, Wyoming, and Tennessee.


It’s always a somewhat interesting and ridiculously hypocritical piece of political theater whenever a group of elected officials pool their resources to come together and demand action from Congress or the White House on an issue that does not warrant that level of intense scrutiny and could be used to address a myriad of actual vital concerns.


Wars are raging in Gaza and Ukraine, the homeless crisis is at an all-time breaking point, food and housing prices are crushing what is left of the once formidable American middle class, and voters are at each others’ throats over whether to elect an eighty-something monster or his equally aged and horrendously flawed incumbent opponent.


Yet, despite all of those election-year challenges, 21 of the nation’s attorneys general believe the most critical issue facing the country is what to do with hemp, specifically intoxicating hemp derivatives (IHDs) like the much-vilified delta-8 THC. 


According to multiple media outlets, the top cops from 20 states and the District of Columbia sent a letter to congressional leaders on Wednesday asking them to take even more action to combat the spread of IHDs, which are legal to manufacture, sell, and consume under the 2018 Farm Bill.


In that letter, they implore lawmakers to amend the definition of hemp and grant states the authority to craft and enact their measures to tightly regulate or altogether ban the beleaguered plant and its downstream derivative products.


“As Congress prepares to embark on a new five-year reauthorization of the Farm Bill, we strongly urge your committees to address the glaring vagueness created in the 2018 Farm Bill that has led to the proliferation of intoxicating hemp products across the nation and challenges to the ability for states and localities to respond to the resulting health and safety crisis. We urge Congress in the strongest possible terms to address this reckless policy,” the top state law enforcement officials wrote.


"As Congress prepares to embark on a new five-year reauthorization of the Farm Bill, we strongly urge your committees to address the glaring vagueness created in the 2018 Farm Bill that has led to the proliferation of intoxicating hemp products across the nation and challenges to the ability for states and localities to respond to the resulting health and safety crisis. We urge Congress in the strongest possible terms to address this reckless policy."

- Letter from 21 State Attorneys General Concerning Hemp


Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) and Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffen (R) spearheaded the effort behind the letter and its divisive contents. However, it is not a strictly Republican-led initiative, with the letter also signed by bipartisan attorneys general from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington State and Washington, D.C.


Enveloping themselves behind the guise of health and safety concerns, something none of them seem concerned with regarding other vital American health issues like a woman’s reproductive rights, the attorneys general cite the dangers of “bad actors” in the hemp industry flooding the market with dangerous and unregulated intoxicating hemp products, which they characterize as detrimental to the overall health of the consuming public and most importantly underage minors.


Referring to the Farm Bill’s language, the officials continue in their letter, saying, “The reality is that this law has unleashed on our states a flood of products that are nothing less than a potent form of cannabis, often in candy form that is made attractive to youth and children—with staggering levels of potency, no regulation, no oversight, and a limited ability for our offices to rein them in.”


"The reality is that this law has unleashed on our states a flood of products that are nothing less than a potent form of cannabis, often in candy form that is made attractive to youth and children—with staggering levels of potency, no regulation, no oversight, and a limited ability for our offices to rein them in."

- Letter from 21 State Attorneys General Concerning Hemp


While there is an obvious need for better health and safety regulations for a host of products across a much broader spectrum of consumer goods in America, the hemp industry is by no means the Wild West regarding regulatory compliance. Many states, including Minnesota, Massachusetts, Florida, and South Dakota, already have comprehensive systems and guidelines to monitor the safety and efficacy of IHD products independently.


Likewise, compared to other legal intoxicants like alcohol, hemp’s track record is practically flawless when it comes to documented incidents of actual harm done by IHDs and other hemp-derived intoxicants. However, even the most ardent and passionate advocates for the hemp industry concede a strong need for better and more comprehensive regulation of the still young and developing market sector.


But completely eviscerating the IHD product market simply because a handful of individuals became ill after consuming edible items is the equivalent of swatting a fly with a sledgehammer. If these elected and politically motivated attorneys general are truly sincere about their desire to protect the health and welfare of young people, then perhaps they should focus their law enforcement resources on the continuing overdose epidemic still shattering the lives of thousands of teenagers, young people, and their families across the nation.


According to federal law, hemp and its intoxicating cannabinoids are legal to produce and sell in every state. Until Congress decides to change the language of the upcoming Farm Bill renewal, it will remain the law of the land. Every citizen, including these 21 elected officials, has the right to lobby for changes to the law. 


However, if Congress decides to keep the wording and intentions behind the Farm Bill or any other legislation, these law enforcement leaders must enforce the law as is and not how they wish it to be.