RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Cannabis Control Authority (CCA) has released a report on edible hemp products, including policy recommendations for further regulation.
The authority cited progress in controlling edible hemp products, referencing the new law passed regarding products that contain higher amounts of THC — or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component in cannabis that causes a high.
The law — signed on April 12 by Governor Glenn Youngkin — banned hemp products with more than two milligrams of THC. Youngkin’s administration said the enforcement was part of his efforts to crack down on synthetic products like delta-8 THC, which went into effect on July 1.
Despite the progress the authority reportedly has seen since the new law, the CCA said the products still pose “significant safety and health risks,” including:
- Easy access to the products by minors, which has spurred a rapid increase in poisonings, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations;
- Inadvertent consumption, particularly by minors, due to the resemblance of the products to other non-intoxicating goods; and
- Product contamination by solvents, heavy metals, microbials, and pesticides.
This comes after a group of hemp businesses and a Virginia resident filed a lawsuit that would prevent the state’s enforcement of the new law.
The businesses alleged that the law has negatively impacted their businesses, “preventing them from shipping and transporting hemp products through Virginia,” and the resident alleged she is not able to obtain delta-8 products to treat her arthritis symptoms.
Despite the complaints from the businesses and resident, a federal judge ruled that the restrictions within the new law will remain for now, although the lawsuit has not yet concluded. The judge’s initial opinion provided an in-depth explanation for their decision.
The 2023 General Assembly requested the CCA undertake the report amid what the CCA called “rising concern over these public safety and health risks.”
The authority said lawmakers directed the CCA to examine the approaches other states have taken to control edible hemp products and to identify whether any of these policies might further bolster Virginia’s existing laws regulating the products.
The authority’s report concluded, recommending the following steps for lawmakers to take:
- Imposing robust contaminant testing requirements for all consumable hemp products
- Requiring ingredient limits and implementing a preapproval process for the products
- Restricting the access of minors to consumable hemp products at retail locations and through online sales
- Imposing further limits on online sales of the products