RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – A bill heading to Governor Glenn Youngkin’s desk could criminalize the use and distribution of CBD products and hurt hemp farmers if passed.
The Virginia Hemp Coalition is calling on Youngkin to amend bill SB 591 to help save thousands of Virginia businesses from crashing.
Reed Anderson is a hemp farmer and owner of Kame Naturals, a CBD product line. He worries the hemp plants he’s nurturing now could go to waste if the bill is passed.
“It’s been an emotional few days. You know you get into this business, wanting to help people, and when it all gets ripped out of your hands and essentially gutted in a matter of days, it’s really sad,” Anderson said.
Anderson said he got into the business to help aid his family suffering from osteoarthritis and cancer.
“This makes Virginia the most restrictive state in America, as far as CBD and hemp is concerned,” Anderson said.
The proposed bill was introduced by Senator Emmett Hanger, who was called to take action after learning of kids being hospitalized in Virginia after accidental ingestion of cannabis.
“We ended up fashioning a bill that not only dealt with the gummies but is also targeted at Delta-8 products that are in a number of edible type products that are packaged in a way that have an appeal to children and unsuspecting adults,” Hanger said.
Advocates said the bill contradicts federal law, which currently allows hemp products to be sold with 0.3% delta 9 THC.
The bill would only allow products to have .25 milligrams of THC per serving. Jason Amatucci, president of the Virginia Hemp Coalition, said this would significantly reduce the efficacy of many products.
“What we’re seeing with this .25 per serving. First of all, what is a serving? The bill doesn’t say anything. It doesn’t talk about that. Then it says 1 milligram per package – that is extremely low,” Amatucci said.
Hanger said he supports hemp farmers and will listen to amendments, if necessary, in the coming weeks.
“The products that I’m really targeting, those that are edible products that are laced with concentrates of hemp that will make you high. Certainly, we don’t want those being distributed in an unregulated market,” Hanger said.
However, Anderson said the bill would lower the THC percentage of all products.
The Virginia Hemp Coalition plans to take petition signatures and letters of concern to the governor next week.
“I’ve had people say ‘we’re leaving Virginia. I’m taking my business out of the state.’ I’ve already heard that, and I tell them to calm themselves down. I said, ‘this is not over yet. We’re going to figure this out,’” Amatucci said.
Youngkin has not yet signed the bill and will review it before deciding.