Maryland hemp businesses sue state, governor over product restrictions

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A group of hemp companies in Maryland filed a lawsuit against state agencies and the governor for limiting business opportunities related to hemp-derived products.

The Maryland Hemp Coalition contends in its civil suit against Gov. Wes Moore, the Maryland Cannabis Administration and the Alcohol, Tobacco and Cannabis Commission that the state effectively created a monopoly for licensed marijuana operators by capping limits on THC concentrates in products containing CBD and restricting licensing, the Baltimore Sun first reported.

Products containing delta-8 THC, CBD and other cannabinoids derived from hemp with less than 0.3% of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol were legalized nationwide under the 2018 Farm Bill.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court, argues that Maryland’s new laws – which took effect July 1, the first day of adult-use marijuana sales – capped the limit on THC concentrations while effectively restricting hemp operators from obtaining business licenses.

“Basically almost all of the (CBD) products that are presently being sold would fall under the new statute and would require a license to be sold,” Nevin Young, an attorney representing the hemp industry, told The Baltimore Banner.

Maryland is among a growing number of states, including New York, Tennessee and Virginia, that have enacted laws limiting the amount of THC in hemp-derived products or requiring certain business licenses to sell such goods.

Like Missouri, the state’s limited-license recreational marijuana market opened with nearly every existing medical cannabis retailer, cultivator and processor converting their licenses to serve adult-use customers.