Virginia won’t ban delta-8 THC this session

Virginia won’t ban delta-8 THC this session

Proposed 21+ age restriction on CBD also fails for now.

A Virginia bill that would have banned delta-8 THC and put age restrictions on CBD failed to pass the in state’s Senate and won’t be considered until the legislature’s next session, reports Hemp Today.

A version of the bill, Senate Bill 591, had already passed the Senate and House. But it was amended by Governor Glenn Youngkin, so returned to the General Assembly for another vote.

The Assembly’s version of the bill would have allowed delta-8 to be sold in the future, when all THC sales are legal in Virginia.

But the bill also proposed THC limits per package and per serving that would have made CBD illegal (seemingly inadvertently).

The governor’s amendments removed the per-serving and per-package THC limits (trace limits on delta-9 concentration remain in place). But the governor also proposed permanently barring the sale of delta-8 THC and limiting CBD purchases to ages 21 and up.

The Senate voted unanimously on April 28 to send the bill back to committee.

The senator who introduced the bill, Emmett W. Hanger, Jr., said the governor’s amendments were “ill-constructed, poorly thought out, and left lots of loopholes,” according to Hemp Today.

The Senate directed the bill to the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee for further review and feedback. The bill will not return to the floor this session, nor move on to the House for consideration.

“All in all this is a huge victory for the hemp industry and hemp consumers!”

— Virginia Hemp Coalition, in response to the April 27 Virginia Senate vote

The Virginia Hemp Coalition called the Senate’s decision the “best possible outcome” on Facebook. The coalition was against the bill even before the governor’s changes, saying the per-package THC limits would have criminalized retail sale of CBD and other nonintoxicating cannabinoids. But after the governor’s changes, the organization said the bill had gone from “terrible” to worse by “criminalizing CBD products to anyone under the age of 21.”

For now, CBD will remain on shelves and widely available with no age restrictions. And unless federal agencies take action, so will delta-8.

After the vote, the executive director of the Virginia chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), JM Pedini, expressed concern about the lack of standards for testing and labeling delta-8 products.

“Consumers deserve to know what they’re purchasing,” Pedini told Hemp Today, “and far too often what’s on the label is not what’s in the package when it comes to unregulated products.”

Reporting by the Virginia Mercury has shown that delta-8 products available in Virginia are often mislabeled, and are likely to contain either illegal amounts of delta-9 THC or almost no cannabinoids at all.

Separately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration appears to be turning up enforcement efforts on delta-8 THC. Last week, the agency sent warning letters to businesses for allegedly claiming that delta-8 has medicinal benefits.

In announcing the letters, the FDA also expressed concern about delta-8 being sold in food form with packaging that appeals to kids, and said it would continue to monitor the marketplace.

“We will continue to safeguard Americans’ health and safety by monitoring the marketplace and taking action when companies illegally sell products that pose a risk to public health,” the agency wrote.