Virginia governor OKs delta-8 THC ban, changes to medical marijuana program

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(This story has been updated to correct that the governor approved the bill.)

Virginia is the latest state to ban delta-8 THC products, with Gov. Glenn Youngkin waiting until the final day allowable to approve a bill that also limits the sale of smokable hemp.

The bill – with amendments from the governor – approved Monday redefines THC in Virginia statutes to eliminate any mention of “delta-9,” a change that means hemp operators will no longer be able to sell intoxicating THC isomers such as delta-8 THC outside marijuana sales channels.

Virginia lawmakers still could override the governor’s amendments with an emergency two-thirds vote.

“Delta-8 is, in fact, basically marijuana, and marijuana is prohibited from being sold right now,” Youngkin told Norfolk TV station WTKR last week.

The delta-8 THC ban takes effect Oct. 1.

The law also:

  • Bans the sale of hemp edibles in the shape of animals, fruits or people – a limitation that matches a provision faced by edibles products such as adult-use THC.
  • Limits the sale of smokable hemp to people older than 21.

Also Monday, Youngkin signed a law to expand access for Virginia medical marijuana patients.

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The law:

Virginia legalized recreational marijuana last year, but a commercial market isn’t expected to launch until 2024.

The state’s adult-use market is projected to reach $875 million to $1.1 billion by 2026, according to the 2022 MJBiz Factbook.