Delta-8 THC, hemp producers in limbo as Congress extends Farm Bill

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The emergency funding bill that President Joe Biden signed into law on Thursday to avoid a government shutdown also includes an extension of the Farm Bill until September 2024, Reuters and other news agencies reported.

That means Congress now will have more time to craft a new Farm Bill that advocates hope will address the burgeoning national market in hemp-derived cannabinoids, including controversial delta-8 THC.

According to Reuters, the stopgap bill provides “funding through next September for farm programs and food assistance.”

The farm bill is part of a major spending package that Congress renews every five years.

The previous farm bill, approved in 2018, legalized hemp production and sales in all 50 states.

But it also was responsible for creating unregulated hemp-derived competition for the strictly regulated state-legal marijuana industry.

The 2018 Farm Bill led to a flood of new products containing CBD as well as delta-8 THC, delta-9 THC and other intoxicating cannabinoids – some derived from synthetic processing – sold in smoke shops, gas stations and online.

Products containing CBD as well as hemp-derived delta-8 and delta-9 THC have created headaches for state lawmakers as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA has sent warning letters to companies selling products derived from hemp that either made unsupported medical claims or, in the agency’s view, market delta-8 THC products “in packaging that is almost identical to many snacks and candy children eat.”

In the absence of federal action, states have begun passing laws banning or severely restricting hemp-derived products, including, most recently, Kentucky and Virginia.

And hemp companies, in turn, have taken legal action to delay or overturn such state bans.