Virginia lawmakers pass tough delta-8 THC restrictions

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Virginia lawmakers approved tough new restrictions on products containing the controversial hemp-derived cannabinoid delta-8 THC.

Under a compromise bill hammered out Friday, the last day of the General Assembly session, sellers of intoxicating hemp-derived cannabinoid products would need to obtain a state license.

They would also be barred from selling products with more than 2 milligrams of THC per package, or more than 0.3% THC overall.

Products would also have to obey labeling requirements.

Violators could be fined $10,000 a day for each infraction, the Virginia Mercury reported.

The bill overwhelmingly passed the Virginia General Assembly.

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a supporter of tougher restrictions on products containing delta-8 THC, is expected to sign the bill into law.

Advocates for the state’s hemp industry say the restrictions spell the end for a viable legal hemp market that’s emerged since Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill.

The Virginia Cannabis Control Authority regulates the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries.

But, under the current proposal, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services would regulate delta-8 THC products.

That setup is being questioned by some lawmakers, with state Sen. Scott Surovell calling it “a first step towards a complete mess,” the Mercury reported.

Recreational marijuana is legal in Virginia, but there are no legal retail outlets.

A planned Jan. 1, 2024, start date for legal adult-use sales won’t be met after a regulatory bill died in the House of Delegates this month.

That’s left a vacuum currently being filled by hemp-derived delta-8 products as well as unlicensed and unregulated marijuana products sold at pop-up dispensaries and other illegal outlets.