A lawsuit challenging Virginia’s newly imposed THC limits on hemp products in the state was filed in federal court last week, the Virginia Mercury reports. The plaintiffs include two hemp businesses and a private citizen who argue that the new restrictions, which took effect July 1, cause financial harm to hemp businesses and interfere in interstate commerce.
The law, passed in February, set the maximum amount of THC in hemp products at 0.3% concentration and 2 milligrams per package, and imposes fines on businesses that break the rules.
The lawsuit was filed by hemp retailer Northern Virginia Hemp and Agriculture, North Carolina-based hemp producer and distributor Franny’s Operations, and Rose Lane, a hemp customer. The lawsuit argues that, if not halted, the law will cause millions of dollars of irreparable harm” and “cause the Banned Products to be unavailable in the Commonwealth, exacerbating potential health problems to thousands of Virginians.” The plaintiffs claim the law is counter to the U.S. Constitution’s supremacy clause.
The lawsuit contends that the state’s definition of legal hemp conflicts with the federal definition – cannabis with less than 0.3% of delta-9 THC content. Virginia’s law defines legal hemp products as those with less than 0.3% total THC content, which includes not just delta-9 THC but also delta-8 THC and all other natural and synthetic isomers combined, the report says.
In an interview with the Mercury, Jason Amatucci, president of the Virginia Hemp Coalition, which helped find plaintiffs and fundraise for the lawsuit, described the law as “irresponsible” and taking “a straight sword” to “cut the industry down.”
A study published in March – prior to the bill’s passage – by Whitney Economics found that the crackdown could cost the state more than 4,000 hemp industry related jobs.
Virginia lawmakers in 2021 passed a bill to legalize cannabis for adult use in the state; however, in 2022 Republican Glenn Youngkin was elected governor and his administration has no plans to facilitate the launch of the program.
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