The world of hemp regulation is far from stagnant. As new innovations and information about the plant emerge, lawmakers adjust regulations in an attempt to keep up. However, there are some regulations the hemp industry pushes back on. For example, in early September 2023, a lawsuit against Virginia’s .3% total THC limit for hemp-derived products.
What is Virginia’s .3% Total THC Limit?
Beginning in July 2023, hemp retailers in Virginia were subjected to updated regulations regarding the THC content in their products. According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, “When offered for retail sale, a hemp product may not exceed 0.3 percent total tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and may not have more than two milligrams of total THC per package unless the product’s Cannabidiol (CBD) to THC ratio is at least 25 parts CBD for every one-part total THC.” Total THC” means all of the THC in a product, including delta-8 and delta-9 THC.”
This regulation is in response to the rise in popularity of hemp-derived THC products. Delta 8 THC, Delta 9 THC, and THCA products have become popular in states with no legal medical marijuana program or limited access to legal medical marijuana. However, it appears as though Virginia hemp professionals deem this particular regulation as a step over the line.
Who is Suing the State?
Two hemp-based businesses and one individual are challenging the .3% Total THC limit. Rose Lane, along with businesses Franny’s Operations LLC and Norther Virginia Hemp and Agriculture LLC, filed a lawsuit against the state of Virginia on the first day of September 2023.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim, “Under the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Congress legalized hemp defined as: “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a Delta-9 [THC] concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.” Based on that definition, hemp under federal law is determined solely by its concentration of Delta-9 THC.”
The lawsuit claims that the regulation harms the industry, effectively creating a bottleneck in the Virginia hemp industry. Under this particular regulation, nearly all hemp-derived goods would not be legal in the state of Virginia. The plaintiffs are pushing to overturn the restrictive regulation, reverting the THC limit back to the basis set by the 2018 Farm Bill.
The Lawsuit Details
This lawsuit lists more than 40 individuals and state departments that had a hand in the creation and passing of the .3% Total THC limit. Listed among the defendants are the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority, Governor Glenn Youngkin, and Attorney General Jason Miyares. Other defendants have been named, but it is unclear if all have been served a summons.
At the time of this writing, this lawsuit has not gone further than being filed and the respective parties being issued summons. In a case such as this, time will be taken to consider the facts and deliver a judgment. According to PacerMonitor, the docket was last updated on September 15th.
Regarding the .3% Total THC Limit
For questions about Virginia’s hemp program and the regulations governing it, please contact the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Virginia residents who would like to voice their opinions regarding the .3% Total THC limit are encouraged to contact the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. It is advised to communicate professionally and factually in a way that supports viewpoints rather than adds to the issue at hand.