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Virginia Hemp Coalition fights ‘well-intentioned’ bill that could ban CBD



The Virginia Hemp Coalition and US Hemp Roundtable made a last-ditch effort this week to stop a Virginia bill from becoming law.


If passed, the legislation could result in a ban that extends to non-intoxicating hemp products, the pair of organizations said. Originally, the bill’s aim was to restrict sales of hemp-derived THC products such as delta-8 and delta-10 THC.


In a March 15 email to Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, the two organizations urged the governor to veto SB 591. The bill was fully approved by House and Senate March 10, and needs only the governor’s signature to become law.

“While this legislation may have been a well-intentioned effort to crack down on mislabeled, intoxicating cannabis products masquerading as hemp,” they wrote, “its misguided language would actually criminalize the the retail sale of most common, nonintoxicating hemp products such as cannabidiol (CBD).”


“While this legislation may have been a well-intentioned effort to crack down on mislabeled, intoxicating cannabis products masquerading as hemp, its misguided language would actually criminalize the the retail sale of most common, nonintoxicating hemp products such as cannabidiol (CBD).”

— Virginia Hemp Coalition and US Hemp Roundtable


The bill limits THC to a maximum of 0.25 milligrams per serving and 1 milligram per package.


“The overwhelming majority of non-intoxicating hemp products contain more than 0.25 mg of THC per serving and/or 1 mg of THC per package,” they wrote. “Common full-spectrum hemp extract products contain 1-2 mg of THC per serving — much higher than the limits in SB 591, but very unlikely to cause intoxication, or to be misused for their THC content.”


They added that this law would be the most restrictive in the country, without a scientific explanation for why such low limits were selected.


The bill passed with broad bipartisan support, according to the Virginia Mercury. But in their letter, the Virginia Hemp Coalition and US Hemp Roundtable pointed out that there had been no effort to consult with hemp farmers or business owners.

The Coalition and Roundtable encouraged the governor to convene a group of scientists, regulators, farmers and other stakeholders to develop regulatory recommendations for the next legislative session.


“Common full-spectrum hemp extract products contain 1-2 mg of THC per serving — much higher than the limits in SB 591, but very unlikely to cause intoxication, or to be misused for their THC content.”

— Virginia Hemp Coalition and US Hemp Roundtable


They added that they supported the intent of the bill, in their words, “cracking down on the proliferation of intoxicating cannabis products masquerading as hemp.”


Adult cannabis use was legalized in 2021, but lawmakers haven’t approved a framework for recreational sales yet, and it’s unlikely that sales would start sooner than mid 2023. Until then, only medical dispensaries are permitted to sell cannabis.


In addition to the apparently unintended ban on CBD and other non-intoxicating cannabinoids, the bill would restrict sales of hemp-derived THC including delta-8 and delta-10. These isomers would be broadly banned until a regulatory framework is approved for sales of all recreational THC in the state.

In a March 16 Facebook post, the Virginia Hemp Coalition said they support regulations on hemp-derived THC similar to those on tobacco and alcohol, but they oppose a complete ban on any hemp product.


“Prohibition does not do what its intended goals are in most cases but especially in this case,” the Virginia Hemp Coalition wrote on Facebook. “There is no black market for beer, wine, liquor or tobacco. Criminalizing intoxicating cannabis products only helps the unregulated black market to grow to fill the market needs. … We don’t have to reinvent the wheel here, we just have to move forward into the future of the Virginia Cannabis industry in 2022.”

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