Prominent store owner says don’t panic.
Hemp’s legal status in North Carolina could be at risk if lawmakers don’t act soon.
A 2015 bill that created the state’s Hemp Pilot Program and exempted hemp from the state's list of controlled substances sunsets at the end of June, news agencies in the state have reported.
The Hemp Pilot Program expired in January, but hemp producers were able to continue growing the plant under federal oversight through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
However, if new legislation doesn’t extend hemp’s exemption from the state’s controlled substances, CBD and other hemp-derived products would become illegal beginning July 1.
“Our concern is, who are [hemp farmers] going to sell their product to starting July 1?” Erik Stahl, the owner Modern Apotheca in Raleigh, told Wilmington-based News 6 “Essentially, on June 30, hemp goes back to being defined as marijuana. ”
“Our concern is, who are hemp farmers going to sell their product to starting July 1? Essentially, on June 30, hemp goes back to being defined as marijuana.”
— Erik Stahl, Owner of Modern Apotheca in Raleigh, to Wilmington-based News 6
The legislative session reconvenes May 18. State lawmakers will have about a month and a half to extend the hemp exemptions, reports Greensboro’s News 2. Lawmakers in the state are considering a medical cannabis bill but its narrow definition excludes hemp.
“The large number of people using hemp products, the vast majority of them, would not qualify for medical marijuana,” Stahl told News 6.
But Franny Tacy, owner of the CBD franchise Franny’s Farmacy, told Asheville’s News 13 there’s no cause for alarm. She and others in the industry are working with state lawmakers to refine existing laws and keep hemp legal in the state. Franny’s Farmacy has locations across North Carolina and in four other states.
”We need to handle this just like we always have, with our legislators, with educated people within the industry. And we'll get to a conclusion that works and benefits all, and hemp will continue to thrive.”
— Franny Tacy, owner of the CBD franchise Franny’s Farmacy, to Asheville’s News 13
"We need to handle this just like we always have, with our legislators, with educated people within the industry," she told News 13. "And we'll get to a conclusion that works and benefits all, and hemp will continue to thrive."
The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services confirmed with News 13 that the agency "supports conforming state law with the federal definition of hemp.”
What About Delta-8?
If hemp becomes illegal across the state, delta-8 and other hemp-derived THC products will go with it. However, if lawmakers extend hemp's exemption, it’s possible that they'll use the opportunity to restrict or ban THC isomers.
Currently in North Carolina, hemp products including delta-8 are legal for adults 18 and up. Delta-8 is reportedly widely available from CBD shops to convenience stores.
The state’s attorney general has voiced concern.
"This is a product you’re buying in a convenience store that’s all but marijuana," North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein told WRAL Investigates in March. "I’m really concerned about Delta.”
Reportedly, Stein doesn’t think delta-8 should be banned. He does support tighter regulations to prevent children from consuming hemp-derived THC.