US (VA): Hemp farmers say bill limiting CBD will destroy business, lawmaker calls that ‘misleading’

A newly passed bill could stop the sale of certain CBD products in Virginia starting July 1. Hemp farmers who fear the future of the industry is at stake are asking Governor Glenn Youngkin for help. Meanwhile, one lawmaker is calling their claims “categorically wrong” and “misleading.” In a letter, an advocacy coalition called the U.S. Hemp Roundtable urged Governor Youngkin to veto the legislation and appoint a study group to examine the issue in more depth ahead of the 2023 session.

“If SB 591 is signed into law, the entire Virginia hemp industry, from farmers to processors to sellers, will be faced with new restrictions that no other state has imposed, placing Virginia businesses at a significant competitive disadvantage in what has been a national hemp economy since 2018,” the letter said.

That message was echoed by an online petition with more than 3,600 signatures. A spokerson for Youngkin said he is reviewing the legislation but he has nothing further to add at this time. The bipartisan bill expands the legal definition of cannabis in Virginia, in part by setting stricter limits on THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis that causes a high. 

Under federal law, hemp must have a concentration of 0.3% THC or lower. This standard has been used to enable the legal sale of hemp-derived CBD products in Virginia and across the country. Cannabis, which is defined as having more than 0.3% THC, is legal to possess but not to sell in the commonwealth. The timeline for a retail market is now unclear after House Republicans deferred action on a regulatory framework in the 2022 session. 


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