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Virginia hemp industry worried about proposed THC limits: ‘There will be nothing left’

Posted at 6:49 AM, Feb 23, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia lawmakers are discussing a significant piece of legislation concerning the hemp industry just before this General Assembly session is scheduled to end in just a few days.

Yan Gleyzer, president of Virginia Healthy Alternatives Association (VHAA), is most worried about SB 903and HB 2294.

“The way this bill is written, if it passes, there will be nothing left of the Virginia hemp and CBD industry,” Gleyzer claimed. “There will be thousands of jobs lost, thousands of small businesses disappear, and hundreds of farmers will just close their farms.”

Gleyzer said Delta 9 is most commonly found in cannabis. Much of the concern lies with synthetic THC, or Delta 8, that can be found in hemp products.

VHAA supports a majority of the regulations in these bills that call for child-proof packaging, warning labels and testing. But Gleyzer said most products on Virginia store shelves already include these regulations.

The bills would cap total THC concentration at .3%. Another provision of the bill would also limit total THC per package to two milligrams or less.

Gleyzer said if the bills pass, it will make Virginia stricter in that respect compared to federal law.

“It can be an edible, it can be a lotion, and cream. They're all going to have traces of THC, and with that small cap of THC, 99% of the products will come off the market. They'll be illegal to possess, illegal to sell in the Commonwealth, while you can still buy them everywhere else in the United States."

The bills were inspired by a task force by Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares “which proposed recommendations to regulate hemp products meant for human consumption,” according to reporting by the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Del. Terry Kilgore (R-Norton) sponsored the house version of the bill and said in a statement that the intent of the bill is to keep the community safe.

“The escalation of poison control calls, ER visits, and serious illness or death from these unregulated products should be alarming for all Virginians,” Kilgore stated. “The intent of this bill is to ultimately keep children and our communities safe.”

Gleyzer is worried about elderly people or veterans that use hemp products for pain or ailments.

Kilgore said the overwhelming majority of the products that this bill seeks to address are being shipped in from other states with no testing or verification of their contents, marketed as Delta 8 or other synthetic products, and sold without any age or other safety restrictions.

“If you are a legal hemp farmer or seller of hemp products right now, rest assured that you still will be on July 2, 2023 if House Bill 2294 is signed into law. This includes industrial hemp products or products for human or animal consumption as long as these products do not contain more than .3% THC and do not get you high and are not psychoactive,” according to Kilore’s statement.

The bills, which have bipartisan support, must continue through conference and more discussions before they are up for a final vote.

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