A cannabis bill intended to control the sales of marijuana products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has reached the desk of Governor Glenn Youngkin, reported Virginia Mercury. The bill, also called Senate Bill 591, outlines more stringent rules regarding THC Sales, cannabis goods, and synthetic products.
Introduced by Senator Emmett Hanger, SB 591 aims to prohibit the retail of any product containing over 0.3% of THC or 2.5 milligrams per serving, equivalent to over one milligram per packet. This bill covers all kinds of THC, whether organically extracted or synthetically derived, including those made from legal hemp.
Hemp Grower explained that the bill would allow licensed sellers to provide hemp products with THC to people of legal age. It also mandates proper purity and potency testing.
Over the past years, novel cannabinoids such as delta-8 THC have emerged and served as an alternative to the heavily regulated delta-9 THC. Many people consider delta-8 a technically legal substance because it is made from industrial hemp.
The bill came after reports of retail stores selling products containing delta-9 improperly labeled as delta-8. There were also reports of children ingesting delta-8 products, as well as adults going to the emergency room after taking delta 8, per Blue Ridge Poison Center.
Christopher Holstege, director of the poison center, said, “There is no required quality control for these products, and consumers must blindly trust that these products match the labels if there is a label with an ingredient list present.”
Hanger asserts that THC items should be controlled because they are “dangerous because people don’t understand the impact, the safety issues.” The senator also said that the bill will create a system under which cannabis products can be “sold in a regulated, licensed market.”
The bill started as a proposal to ban marijuana goods that would attract children such as gummies shaped like animals and fruits. However, its coverage was extended to regulate products containing THC.
The state has legalized the home cultivation of plants and the possession of marijuana in 2021. Medical marijuana is legal in Virginia, while residents continue to wait for the go signal on recreational sales.
The emergence of novel cannabinoids also poses a problem for officials because every new compound that enters the market is treated as technically legal or residing in a gray legal area. After all, it is not tackled in existing laws.
Meanwhile, legalization advocates are critical of SB 591. Virginia Hemp Coalition president Jason Amatucci believes that the bill is a drawback for the entire hemp industry. It must be noted that Amatucci agrees with provisions tackling goods appealing to children, but is opposed to the standards set for THC products.
He said, “This bill doesn’t do anything to actually solve the problem. It actually just hurts the current law-abiding Virginia hemp industry that’s making good quality products.”
Amatucci also criticized politicians’ acceptance, “celebration,” and “love” of alcohol. Alcohol is known to have intoxicating and impairing effects. Despite this, alcohol is not regulated, banned, or criminalized, unlike marijuana, he said.
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