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Hemp Alert: The Fight is Going National

Urgent Update: 21 State Attorneys General Implore Congress To Pose Strict Regulations

In recent developments that could significantly impact the hemp industry, attorneys general from 20 states and Washington, D.C., have made a concerted push for Congress to make strict amendments to the 2018 Farm Bill to regulate hemp products. This move, highlighted by the “proliferation of intoxicating hemp products,” underlines a growing concern over the ambiguous legal status and regulation of hemp-derived substances post-2018 Farm Bill. Congress is set to reauthorize the Farm Bill for another 5 years at the end of fiscal year 2024. Action must be taken to safeguard the industry surrounding hemp consumable products while ensuring public safety.

Inconsistencies and Calls for Stricter Regulations

The open letter and subsequent opinion pieces highlight a significant inconsistency in the interpretation of the 0.3% THC threshold set by the Farm Bill. While initially meant to distinguish non-intoxicating hemp from psychoactive cannabis, the emergence of Delta-8 THC products challenges this distinction. These products, often synthetically derived from CBD, can circumvent the legal definition of hemp while offering potent psychoactive effects.

This scenario raises questions about the underlying motivations for the push against delta-8 THC. Is the concern genuinely about public safety, or does it also encompass economic factors, such as the potential competition these products pose to the established cannabis industry?

Moreover, the comparison with the societal and regulatory treatment of alcohol—a substance responsible for thousands of youth deaths annually—paints a picture of potential hypocrisy. Unlike THC, where overdose fatalities are unheard of, alcohol remains a significant public health issue, yet it enjoys a culturally embraced status.

Towards a Balanced Regulatory Framework

The distinction between synthetically altered Delta-8 THC, which still maintains a nebulous status per the DEA, and naturally occurring hemp-derived delta-9, showcases the nuanced understanding required in regulating cannabinoids. While the industry recognizes the importance of oversight for synthetically altered compounds, it also champions the cause of naturally derived hemp products. These products, adhering to the federal threshold, embody the essence of the hemp industry’s potential for innovation, offering a myriad of applications from wellness to industrial uses, all while ensuring consumer safety.

State-Specific Regulations: Harmony Between Federal and Local Oversight

Just as alcohol regulations vary to accommodate state and community standards, so too should hemp products benefit from a regulatory framework that allows for state-specific oversight within the bounds of federal legality. This approach not only respects the diverse perspectives and needs of local communities but also empowers states to tailor regulations that best serve their residents, all while maintaining a unified federal foundation that ensures product integrity and safety across the nation.

For business owners, this means navigating a landscape where federally compliant hemp products are legal, with the added responsibility of adhering to the specific regulations set forth by each state. This dual layer of compliance underscores the industry’s commitment to responsible business practices and consumer protection, setting a standard for how innovative industries can flourish within a structured regulatory environment.

Make Your Voice Heard

In light of recent efforts by 21 state Attorneys General to prompt Congress into redefining “hemp,” it’s crucial for the hemp industry and its supporters to rally for its protection and advocate for sensible, evidence-based regulations. The call to action is simple: protect the current federal definition of hemp and ensure fair regulations that prioritize safety, particularly for our children, without stifling the industry’s growth. Join us in making a difference by using the form email provided by the Hemp Roundtable’s Federal Action Center. Voice your support for hemp’s rightful place in the market and for regulations that safeguard its future.

By Nick Zavakos of Know Naturals.

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