Wyoming Joins the Unfortunate Ranks of States Banning Intoxicating Hemp Derivatives

Wyoming Joins the Unfortunate Ranks of States Banning Intoxicating Hemp Derivatives

The notoriously conservative haven is the latest to add its name to the sadly expanding list of states to ban hemp-derived THC products.

Despite the bluster and microscopic scrutiny many aspiring politicians must endure to secure public office, most are no more than blindly obedient sheep bowing to the pressures of constant polling, social media frenzy, and, above all else, the motives and desires of their deep-pocketed campaign donors, most notably corporate interests.

No other polarizing and dubious issue illustrates the nature of this caustic and vile exercise in blatantly purchased laws and legislation than the beaten, bullied, and beleaguered American hemp industry.

According to the National Cannabis Industry Association, products containing intoxicating hemp derivatives (IHDs), in particular delta-8 THC, are banned in 17 states and severely restricted in seven more. Well, that number grew slightly larger this past week when Wyoming became the 18th state to prohibit the sale and consumption of IHDs.

As first reported by MJ Biz Daily, Governor Mark Gordon (R) signed Senate File 32 into law last week. The new statute mandates that “no person or licensee shall … add, alter, insert or otherwise include any synthetic substance into hemp or hemp products produced, processed or sold in accordance with this chapter.” 

In addition to the outright ban on IHDs, the new statute requires state health officials to inspect businesses that sell hemp items and use chemical analyses to test those products to ensure their legality.

The ban, which goes into effect July 1, will subject violators to what is being referred to as a “corrective action plan,” which could include:

  • Reporting Requirements
  • Additional Inspections
  • License Suspension
  • Disposal of All Hemp Products with THC Levels Exceeding the Federal 0.3% Threshold

The move by Wyoming lawmakers and the governor’s office comes on the heels of another blatantly politically purchased legal opinion against IHDs by Arizona’s Attorney General Kris Mayes, who also issued the non-binding ruling last week.

In that opinion, the right-wing “Top Cop” in Arizona, whose election was substantially funded by the Arizona Dispensaries Association (ADA), declared the sale of hemp-derived cannabinoids by any business other than a state-licensed marijuana dispensary to be illegal. 

As with many other states where lawmakers have passed similar legally dubious bans on the federally legal hemp-derived cannabinoid products, several Wyoming hemp business owners are considering legal challenges to the economically devastating ban.

One of those hard-working entrepreneurs is Sam Watt, owner of Platte Hemp Co., which has five stores across Wyoming with 34 employees. According to Watt, there are approximately 80 stores that sell IHD products in the state, and many of those owners have expressed intense support for him to lead a collective legal challenge to the new law.

In an interview with Cowboy State Daily, Watt said that while he supports regulations to weed out the handful of bad actors in the industry, the new law “paints the hemp industry with too broad a brush and will criminalize processed hemp products that are under the 0.3% limit for all THC isomers.”

Like most hemp retailers, many of the products sold at Watt’s stores help individuals manage debilitating conditions like anxiety, insomnia, and PTSD. With the passage of this new law, Watt fears the consequences could be more than economically damaging if this new law goes after all IHD products.

“Most of my customers are well above 40 years of age. And they are steaming mad about this bill,” he said.

"Most of my customers are well above 40 years of age. And they are steaming mad about this bill."

- Sam Watt, Owner of Platte Hemp Company

This latest politically-motivated attack on the hemp industry further shines a bright and damning light on the cut-throat tactics now on full display by the corporate cannabis lobby as it relentlessly continues its aggressive pursuit to eradicate the popular, prosperous, and much-needed hemp industry. 

Hopefully, as with states like Texas and New York, the judiciary will help the thousands of small—to medium-sized business owners comprising most of the hemp market sector. If not, and the Big Cannabis lobby is allowed to run roughshod over federal law and the will of millions of Americans reliant on the gap filled by hemp companies in states that do not have any type of legal cannabis, recreational or medical, the result could be catastrophic.