Public Comments for 07/07/2022 Hemp Taskforce Meeting
I am writing to provide my thoughts on the retail sale of cannabis and delta-8 in Virginia. I would like the task force to know that I am a licensed hemp grower who firmly believes that hemp/cannabis is an increasingly important crop which deserves consistent and sensible regulations. Unfortunately, the recently enacted regulations relating to delta-8 as well as the VDACS decision to terminate delta-8 sales of edibles in Virginia on July 1 were neither consistent nor sensible. It is my understanding that delta-8 edibles are still legal for consumers to enjoy by purchasing them online and having them delivered through the mail. Moreover, the sale of cartridges for delta-8 vaping is somehow still allowed in Virginia. What? How can this be reconciled? The end result and I assume an unintended consequence, is only to penalize Virginia businesses, most of whom are small businesses, who follow the law. The solution as I see it is for Virginia to pass a retail sales bill for cannabis and delta-8. The retail sales bill should include sensible regulations that are enforced. Sensible regulations like including a certificate of analysis with all products sold that contain delta-8 or delta-9 THC. The sooner this is accomplished the better the Virginia market will be.
Hello, my attached written comments are two pages stating that the new interpretation of the Food and Drink law is unenforceable with respect to delta 8 THC, and that a ban on delta 8 edibles will harm Virginia farmers and small businesses. My comments further detail the need for a retail cannabis bill, which could and should regulate delta 8 THC in the same manner as delta 9 THC. I previously submitted my comments, but I am submitting them again to ensure they are received by the task force.
(Abbreviated version -- Full comment is attached below in pdf format) To Whom This May Concern, Thank you for the opportunity to comment. I know you all are facing a very difficult task in trying to regulate hemp industry and I appreciate the opportunity to voice my concerns on the matter. My name is Barbara Biddle, owner of District Hemp Botanicals and I’m also here as a representative of the Virginia Hemp Coalition. I’ve been operating in Virginia as a retailer since 2017, with locations in Manassas and Leesburg VA, as well as a location in DC. My business works with both local and national manufacturers to provide quality, lab-tested products to tens of thousands of customers both locally and nationally. First, my main concern is the timing at which enforcement of the new regulations may begin. From a retailer's perspective, there are many moving parts as far as implementation, a lot of which are beyond our control. We’ve already made our manufacturers aware of the necessary label changes needed to be compliant, however they will need anywhere from 1-3 months to be able to make those necessary changes. Another consideration is the inability to package certain edibles in child-proof packaging, for example, honey and drinks. There are unique elements to these specific edibles that can help boost the bioavailability of cannabinoids compared to generic gummies and capsules, and I fear that little consideration is being taken into these nuances. On another note, the childproof packaging will also severely limit those with arthritis and pain issues from accessing certain products that are most effective for them. I strongly encourage allowing at least 6-12 months for companies to make these changes and retailers to sell through products before taking any punitive action against otherwise law-abiding businesses. Some other fixes include allowing retailers to provide edible products in a complimentary “child-proof bag” that can fit multiple products as a fix. Second, I have deep concerns about the interpretation of the law as it applies to the legal state of hemp isomers and derivatives. A lot of the controversy stems from what seems to be a lack of education around the process of which these compounds are manufactured and misconceptions around the term “synthetic”. In a letter dated September 15th of this year from the DEA’s Drug and Chemical Evaluation Section states that only cannabinoids extracted from non-compliant cannabis or synthesized from non-cannabis materials are controlled substances. The letter also clarified a frequent point of confusion in discussions of Delta-8 (and the other 130+ hemp cannabinoids): namely, that the use of chemical synthesis to produce these natural compounds is not relevant to their control status. The term “synthesis,” which has varied meanings in scientific literature and no established meaning in the law, along with the DEA’s definition of “synthetic THCs” (a class of man-made THC analogs not found in the plant), has led many to think that Delta-8 was illegal because it is primarily produced from CBD through a process called chemical synthesis.... If hemp derivatives such as HHC are considered “synthetic” due to the manufacturing process, household products such as margarine and creamer would also be considered “synthetic” due to the fact that they are both produced using a chemical process called “Hydrogenation.” (click .pdf for full comment)
Full statement attached.
Please see attached document
Hello, Please see the attached PDF file containing my written comments in response to the Task Force's meeting on July 7th, 2022. If you have any issues with the document please do not hesitate to let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks, Ryan Suit
Comments on 7/7 Hemp Taskforce meeting attached
The age limitations in HB 30 apply to intoxicating cannabis products and nonintoxicating hemp products alike—based solely on whether a substance contains any amount of THC. Intoxicating products should be regulated in the same manner as adult-use cannabis, but these strict controls should not be broadly applied to nonintoxicating hemp products, simply because they contain some amount of THC. Virginia should adopt the better policy approach being utilized in states like Colorado: creation of a commission to intentionally study the topic of intoxicating compounds and make recommendations on science-based standards for assessing what levels of these compounds are likely to cause intoxication, and what restrictions are appropriate. The commission should have broad representation from across the hemp and adult-use cannabis industries—regulators, manufacturers, refiners, retailers, laboratories, consumer nonprofit organizations, and adult-use patients—which is missing from this Task Force and will ensure that all stakeholder viewpoints are captured. An intentional focus on accurately determining intoxication levels would inform whether other strict requirements of HB 30 should even apply to nonintoxicating hemp products. First, HB 30 exempts the mandatory regulations to be promulgated by the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services from most of the provisions of Virginia’s Administrative Process Act. The exemption is inconsistent with ensuring that hemp extract manufacturers, distributors, and consumers have adequate opportunities to take part in the regulatory process. Additionally, the exemption means that there is no procedure for contesting charged violations of the Board’s regulations or appealing an adverse decision. Second, HB 30 requires that any substance intended for human consumption, orally or by inhalation, that contains THC use child-resistant packaging. Only two other states have a similar requirement. Indeed, the vast majority of states does not require child-resistant packaging for lawful hemp products because, by nature, they are nonintoxicating and do not pose the same safety issues as adult use cannabis products. Child-resistant packaging also increases costs significantly for manufacturers and distributors. This is a clear example of a regulation that is very appropriate for intoxicating compounds, but unfair and unduly burdensome for safe, healthy, non-intoxicating products. Third, HB 30 mandates that any substance containing THC and intended for human oral consumption or inhalation cannot be sold or offered for sale unless it is accompanied by a certificate of analysis produced by an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited independent laboratory that provides the THC concentration. In effect, the law appears to require not only that THC testing for hemp products be conducted by an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory, but also that an actual certificate of analysis be presented at the time of sale. It is possible that HB 30 intended to allow presentment of a certificate of analysis through a QR code or URL link on a product’s label or packaging, which states routinely allow. But HB 30 is vague, possibly leading to regulatory uncertainty and marketplace confusion. If, on the other hand, HB 30 requires a paper certificate of analysis, we strongly urge the Task Force to reject this requirement, as it will place onerous burdens on retailers. We are not aware of any other state with the same or similar requirements.
Please accept our comments to the recent task force meeting on THC for human consumption.
Dear Deputy Secretary Slaybaugh, About Consumer Brands and Our Interest in the Hemp Task Force The Consumer Brands Association champions the industry whose products Americans depend on every day, representing more than 1,700 iconic brands. From household and personal care to food and beverage products, the consumer packaged goods industry plays a vital role in powering the U.S. economy, contributing $2 trillion to U.S. GDP and supporting more than 20 million American jobs. Our agenda is focused on smart regulation that prioritizes consumer health and safety above all, promotes product transparency, avoids consumer confusion, and fosters innovation and growth for industry. Consumer Brands appreciates the opportunity to provide comments to the Virginia Hemp Task Force. We recognize that cannabis legislation is a loaded issue with strong opinions on both sides. While we are agnostic on the overarching issue of cannabis legalization, we are concerned with the risks posed by food products adulterated with THC, especially when such products are sold in deceptive, copycat packaging. Consumer Brands’ Engagement With the health and safety of consumers in mind, we have in-house regulatory and legal resources focused on issues related to cannabis and THC, and are engaging with U.S. Food and Drug Administration, national law enforcement, and groups focused on the regulatory and policy challenges related to THC laced edibles. In the Commonwealth, we partnered with Attorney General Jason Miyares’ on a briefing in June on the dangers to children of copycat THC edibles, and participated in the July 7 Hemp Task Force meeting. We were encouraged to hear VDACS’ comments underscoring the harm of adulterated foods and commend the Hemp Task Force for raising awareness on this issue. We ask that you continue to engage with us and use us as a resource as the task force completes its report and recommendations on delta-8/hemp extracts. Consumer Brands Association 1001 19th Street North, 7th Floor Arlington, VA 22209 Powering every day Research Confirms Consumer Confusion & FDA Confirms Growing Risk of THC Adulterated Products As more states legalize marijuana and the market grows for industrial hemp extracts, the potential for confusion and accidental ingestion is amplified. In addition to confusing packaging, a recent NYU School of Global Public Health study highlighted concerns over mislabeling; for example, the extremely high THC content of copycat products, which greatly exceeded the maximum content stipulated by cannabis regulations in most states where marijuana is legal. Just last month, the United States Food and Drug Administration has also noted that national poison control centers received nearly 10,500 single substance exposure cases involving edible products containing THC in the first five months of 2022. Of the total cases, 65% involved unintentional exposure to edible products containing THC and nearly all (91%) of these unintentional exposures affected pediatric patients. This underscores the ongoing nature of this problem and the helpful role the Task Force can play. Looking Ahead Consumer Brands stands as a ready partner to support the Hemp Task Force and provide additional information and consultation as needed. Thank you for your continued attention to this important issue. Joseph Aquilina Senior Director & Associate General Counsel Consumer Brands Association
Eliminate access at community level to THC products including Delta 8: As a Virginian pediatrician and community member I desire to see cannabis products available only as a medical prescription. The mental health crisis only increases this desire to protect the citizens of Virginia from on-going trauma by having young people harmfully impacted by cannabis, or them hurting others. Our suicide/ anxiety or depression rates are already too high. It is best to not allow another mind-altering experience to complicate the lives and families here in Virginia or visitors getting negatively impacted. Please protect the vulnerable. Dr. Dana Witmer, MD
Please see attached letter regarding VDACS recent notice regarding Delta-8.
Virginia needs to look at data and facts from states that has legalized THC for recreational adult use. As we continue to allow these drugs into mainstream public hands, we will continue to see hundreds of kids at risk for poisoning. Virginia has already seen multiple instances of children who have consumed products infused with cannabis, delta 8and other harmful substances. At least fourteen states have banned Delta 8: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Utah. The General Assembly should consider doing this as well. Some of these states include those that have legalized commercial sales of Delta 9 THC. On a related note, the FDA has not evaluated or approved any THC drug for use in a medical setting. The language in this bill opens the door for many loop holes. It allows for the packaging to state “natural” even if products are synthetic. It still doesn’t address clear dosing requirements. There are still not regulations for ensuring that age limits are being followed. Who is going to be responsible for going to all of these smoke shops? We barely have any enforcement of the regulations of signs and marketing now. I have various smoke shops near my home with marijuana images plastered outside and nothing is done. There is no way this task force can solely take responsibility of the regulations of the hundreds of pot shops we have in our neighborhood. There needs to be a better way to stop this!! We need to stop the sale of high potency THC in the Commonwealth, not encourage it.
My name is Jacque Matthews. I am a nineteen-year-old undergraduate at Baylor University in Waco, TX. I am a Science Research Fellows major concentrating in Biochemistry, in the Honors Program, and on the pre-medical track. This summer, I was selected through the Shepherd's Higher Education Consortium on Poverty to do an internship with the Prevention Council of Roanoke. I fully support the work that prevention coalitions do to target the reduction of risk factors and the protection of youth from substance use disorders. There is misinformation being thrown around, and it cannot be disregarded that evidence-based science has proven the negative effects that cannabis, hemp, and delta 8/9 have on mental health, developing brains, genetics, and natural neuronal pathways. This is not merely a business problem. Your decisions impact the well-being of future generations. During the hearing, it was extremely disheartening to hear individuals claim that even children should consume what was deemed a "leafy cannabis vegetable." I acknowledge that those of us advocating for prevention efforts are going to contrast the views of people worried about their businesses, but this does not outweigh the harm. Legalization, copy-cat packaging, and seeking the interest of the cannabis industry continue to provide access to individuals for first-time use at young ages. It's proven that the longer a person delays substance use, the less likely they are to ever use or develop a substance use disorder. Delaying the age of first use is much better than enabling first-time use through easy access from legalization, low regulation, and youth marketing. Many individuals express that cannabis is a coping mechanism for previous opioid use. This doesn't prevent others from obtaining their first use from businesses, becoming addicted, and developing mental health issues. As a research assistant in a biochemistry lab, my experience inclines me to also note that cannabis impacts genetics by altering specific pathways in the cell cycle, thus affecting vital genetic information passed on. With the Prevention Council, I've analyzed Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data, and it is evident that youth are having to deal with mental health disorders more than ever. Cannabis products need to be regulated so that youth are not easily influenced to use them as a coping mechanism. Emergency departments are admitting children weekly for poison control cases caused by consumption of products, such as "Stone Patch" gummies with delta 8/9. These numbers have risen since legalization, and regulation methods are still not compensating to amend this problem. It is common that physicians who prescribe medical marijuana cards do so to the grow nurseries that they personally founded and own. It begs the question of whether healthcare providers are doing this for medical benefits or private profit. As someone who cares deeply about the oath that every physician takes to "do no harm," it is disheartening that health professionals are ignoring evidence that cannabis usage has negative impacts on developing brains. I can't comprehend how a physician does this and lives with their actions. From personal experiences of family negatively impacted by cannabis use to my desire to pursue medicine, I am passionate about advocating for tight regulations and/or not legalizing cannabis products. We can't sit by and disregard the problems that will continue to escalate and impact future generations.
We have led the way on child proof packaging, qr codes, independent lab test results, mg, ingredients, basic shapes (no animals), and more for the last couple of years. When the 2018 farm bill was written it classified 'hemp' and distinctly made it different from 'marijauana'. According to the bill, hemp and all of it's derivatives + isomers are legal. The ninth circuit court of appeals (this is the high court that is prior to SCOTUS so a big deal) determined that Delta 8 is federally legal, even citing the hemp bill as well as the DEA and how it classifies 'synthetics'. The ruling states Delta 8 is not synthetic. The process to get to the end result does not determine synthetic, but the source determines it. Add the rules and regulatory actions, but don't try to take natural cannabinoids from HEMP off the shelves. We will stand strong against this, so will the community. Do not take us BACK in cannabis reform, rather set rules on testing and transparency. Thank you for reading. -Tara
I am submitting an attachment. It is a draft concept of how Virginia could use existing VDACS programs, in collaboration with the Board of Pharmacy and VCCA, to help educate consumers and market cannabis and hemp that are Virginia Grown, responsibly. There could be warnings about illegitimate and poorly packaged intoxicating products of unknown origins, like the ones found in 1000s of vape shops in Virginia. Virginia's registered growers, processors, and dealers are trying to do the right thing. Yesterday when I submitted comment in-person, I pointed out that the Task Force did not include any hemp growers, processors, or retailers. I volunteered to be on the Task Force. I can also help recommend others that fit those categories for the Task Force. Please call me or email me, if you all are willing to add registered hemp growers, processors, or dealers (or their agents) to the Task Force. I can be reached at 540-316-1157 or email@example.com I noted that the products that we are all concerned about (intoxicating hemp-derived delta 8 in packaging that could be appealing to children) weren't being made and marketed by the folks in the room at the first Task Force meeting. Instead of considering making laws inconsistent with federal ruling, the Task Force should add cannabis and hemp to the Virginia Grown marketing program and help us educate consumers about the products being made here, under VDACS regulatory authority. That could include fiber products, body care, seed foods, and the cannabinoid consumables we were discussing at the Task Force meeting. Enforcement of the bad products will be nearly impossible, if Delta 8 (or other intoxicating isomers or derivatives) are restricted. Every tobacco and vape shop in in Virginia has a glowing sign in the window advertising Delta 8 and these aren't products made under Virginia's registered hemp program. The products offered in vape shops are of unknown origin, have cartoon or cereal or candy brand trademark infringements. These are the problem products. Virginia Hemp Coalition members aren't against reasonable packaging and labeling rules and testing for contaminants and accurate cannabinoid levels. Most of Virginia's registered growers and processors are already offering testing and Certificate of Analysis QR Codes. We want to have a voice at the Task Force table to work together to craft the rules. I encourage the Task Force members to go visit the processing facilities, farms, and hemp retailers here that are registered under the VDACS program. Try some of the different products. Educate yourselves. Ask us to help write the rules. We know the industry, we have been navigating it for a few years now. Look at policy regarding consumable cannabinoids in states other than the 3 presented in the first Task Force meeting. Also beware of creating bans, most bans have been overturned in court. If I'm not mistaken, Texas may be an example. Thank you for this important work. Please consider adding VDACS registers hemp growers, processors, dealers and CBD retailers to the Task Force.
Dear Hemp Taskforce Members, I write to you as a parent of two young children living in the city of Richmond, as an Associate Professor of Psychology with a focus on substance use/addiction, and as board member of Henrico Too Smart 2 Start (a Henrico-based substance use prevention community coalition). I encourage you to consider safe-guarding Virginia youth and adults from the harmful effects of cannabis/hemp/marijuana-containing products by using well-known and empirically supported regulatory strategies to prevent and reduce the harms of substance use. These safeguards including limiting advertising (in location and types), managed how these products are sold in stores, requiring store licensure, limiting the amount of products that can be purchased by adult consumers, limiting the amount of THC and other psychoactive/potentially psychoactive ingredients, requiring quality control/testing of products sold, requiring standard packaging information, and prohibiting health claims not evaluated by the FDA. Without these and other regulatory measures, the risks of harm to Virginians and further costs to Virginia healthcare system and economy are too great. I again urge to you consider well-reasoned and informed regulatory policy for hemp-derived products. Caroline O. Cobb (Amey), Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Psychology Virginia Commonwealth University Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: https://rampages.us/bhrlvcu/ Pronouns: she/her/hers COI/Disclosures: I currently receive federal funding from NIH/FDA. The content of these comments is solely the responsibility of myself and does not represent the official views of the NIH or the FDA.
My name is Savana & I am a VA Hemp industry stakeholder. I agree with the concerns voiced at the task force meeting today. Consumer safety should be the 1st and foremost issue to address, however we feel that these newly established regulations are overly stringent & will create more harm than help when considering consumer safety & keeping VA hemp businesses alive. The reason most cannabinoid consumers prefer retail locations is b/c they receive education & guidance from certified Cannabinoid professionals. There is no possible way to control out of state retailers from shipping D8 to VA residents, & this type of regulation will force consumers to search online, where they have higher chances of receiving adulterated or faulty products from lack of consumer knowledge. One committee member mentioned that the committee would contact states to determine whether specific companies comply w/ state regulations, but certain states have not established regulations yet, which would mean that ALL products produced in their state comply. This means that ONLY VA based small businesses will be negatively effected. If these regulations are actually enforced, it WILL put hundreds of VA businesses out of business. Also, if it's impossible to identify synthetic vs. naturally occurring D8, & hemp derivatives including all cannabinoids (as long as below 0.3% D9 THC according to federal & state law), this law is impossible to enforce, as we could all claim that our products contain naturally occurring D8. Another issue is that there are natural ways of converting CBD or other cannabinoids into intoxicating cannabinoids, including homogenization, which again would essentially void this regulation. We are also concerned that the Hemp task force committee consists of elected officials who are not well versed on the plant. There was a lot of mis-information being discussed today, including one task force member explicitly saying that this has nothing to do with hemp derived cannabinoids, but only THC (which is a hemp derived cannabinoid). Erin Williams may be the only qualified individual to be on the board; but as another member of the force mentioned, you all are "only doing what your directors ask of you". This leads us to believe that you are not truly concerned about the safety & health of consumers, rather just following orders from above, which is usually influenced by "lobbyists" who offer generous donations to help get legislation passed for their benefit (any multi-state cannabis companies make any donations recently?). We can take as many preventative measures as possible to keep intoxicating cannabinoids out of the hands of children, yet we all know that kids still get into medicine & liquor cabinets, etc. We agree w/ limiting potentially intoxicating cannabinoids to 21+, child-proof packaging & proper labeling, but when it comes down to it, consumers & parents need to meet us half way to take further necessary precautions including discussing the potential harms with children & locking up their cannabinoids properly. A good use of resources would truly be consumer EDUCATION first! SB591 was shut down b/c the public voiced their opinions. Passing this legislation in the Budget Bill was shady & undemocratic at best, not to mention unconstitutional. We ask you to actually view this from a practical standpoint. Yes, consumer safety is important, but prohibition never once in history has resolved the issue of consumption.
I am an owner of a legal cannabis business, as well as a long-standing (15 years,) elementary school educator in Albemarle County VA. I am offended, appalled, and insulted by the manor in which this circumventing of the legislative process has occurred here, as well as highly concerned at the threat this poses to our woman-owned small family business. We have worked diligently, dutifully, and without hardly ANY guidance from the Commonwealth since 2019, to grow hemp, be fully credentialed, pay every amount of tax , responsibly research products, test, label, package, and educate our clients on responsible cannabinoid usage, including Delta 8. We continue to hold ourselves to a high level of professionalism and model of excellency of industry standard, despite any real framework to follow from the Commonwealth. Additionally, we continue to face constant legal & legislative threats to our business on an almost ongoing basis, due to the lack of an organized, non-action-oriented manner in which VA seems to continue to approach the retail legal sales of cannabis. There are more so called synthetics on the pharmaceutical market in this country, than just about anywhere else. Hospitals even created synthetic “marinol” for patients. There is evidence that hospitals have tested and used Delta 8 since the 1970’s. And, to add insult to injury, lawmakers & other policy makers, (most of whom have very limited knowledge of cannabis as a plant, and more than likely, its effects & potential used, ) continue to make inaccurate claims, ignorantly rooted, biased statements about toxicity calls , how Delta 8 products are made and are , than I can even keep up with. I wonder how many hospitalizations have occurred for alcohol poisoning, overdose on pharmaceutical opioid and narcotic drugs, have occurred just in the past month? And these things are available to ANYONE with a doctor’s note or a 21+ ID. This budgetary push feels very much like it is motivated from other places, and feels like a continued attack on cannabis , even in the midst of what is supposed to be the expansion of the full legalization of retail sales process. I, as a mother, an educator, and business owner, am dedicated to safe, responsible adult sales, and use of products that are tested, and properly labeled. Our business remains dedicated to doing everything in our power to support and empower the success of our business. We support safe usage policy, and urge lawmakers, lobbyists and other policymakers to collaborate with us more professionally, transparently, and comprehensively, so we can bring the best this industry has to offer-(which is exponential in my humble opinion,) and help create tax revenue that will work for our children, our communities, and our infrastructure. This, what you all are attempting to do, is not the way. It will destroy small businesses, continue to wrongly demonize cannabis, and further delay valuable revenue that could be helping Virginia.. I thank you for your time, and for your review of my comments. Regards, Leigh Anne Kuhn Owner & COO, Albemarle Cannabis Company
I am respectfully asking you to please not outright ban delta-8 and delta-10 products, or to over regulate CBD products. I own and operate a local hemp and CBD products retailer by the name of Greener Things. We have been operating in Charlottesville since 2019 in compliance with the 2018 Farm Bill Act. I am active in the local hemp industry, and support our local farmers and producers, and would love to continue to do so. However, our industry is now under serious threat to that business model. Our business has been fortunate to experience relative success helping the people of Virginia who are seeking alternative therapies. Because we pay close attention to local ordinances, quality of our products, and the information that people are receiving so that they feel safe, and comfortable consuming the products they get from our retail store. Most of these people are seeking relief from stress, anxiety, or help with sleep, or pain management. We, and our customers, are good people. We are hard working small business owners. The restrictions imposed by the regulations set forth by VDACS would be detrimental to our business, as well as the thousands of customers we service who depend on our assistance for their daily wellness and quality of life. Not to mention that traditionally over regulating products that the public demands, only promotes more criminal 'black market' activity. This is what we are trying to fight against, and what we should be collaborating to fight against - not criminalizing tax paying small businesses so that a select few entities can take control over an industry. To be clear, we are in support of reasonable regulations in the Virginia Hemp and Cannabis industries, that allow for small businesses to thrive, and compete with larger corporate entities on an even playing field. However what is happening now with Virginia regulations is the opposite, and would be devastating if enforced - shuddering hundreds of businesses across the state, and cost the state untold amounts in tax revenue, as well as deny access to safe, alternative medicines to thousands of good people across The Commonwealth, who absolutely need and deserve these products. I am encouraging you to seek counsel from actual stakeholders, and industry leaders, such as The Virginia Hemp Coalition, before passing regulations that will negatively impact hard working citizens and the families they support. I have two small children and a family to support. This is all I have and all I know. Please don’t let the select few take our industry from us. For the good of the Virginia economy, small business owners, and the people who rely on “Full Spectrum” hemp products, delta-8, and delta-10 products - I echo the voice of thousands across the land, and implore you to not ban the manufacturing and retail sales of these products. And as more cannabis and hemp regulations come across your desk, I ask that you always remember the people of Virginia and the small businesses they run, who are the backbone of this industry. Please support them over corporate interests, and you will surely have our support for generations to come. Thank you for all that you do for Virginia. Ross Efaw Owner / Operator Greener Things 3046 Berkmar Dr Charlottesville, VA 22901 434.529.8760 greenerthings.care
Virginia politicians have repeatedly shown they care more about big pharma and large corporations that fill their pockets and their campaigns with donations. The constant attack on small farms and businesses is disgusting and must be stopped. Democrats, Republicans or other it doesn't seem to matter to corruption. Delta 8 should be made safe across the board and not shut down so medical dispensaries make more money! The Governors blatant attack on our businesses has gone too far. We need to stand up and take cannabis regulations into our hands or we risk losing our businesses and our cannabis freedoms. These laws should not be in the hands of individuals who hate the plant, but those who have researched and understand its possibilities. Knowledge is the key to cannabis success, only fools make laws affecting thousands of other people without doing their due diligence!
I’m the store manager at a local shop and we carry Delta 8 products and good quality CBD. We see a large number of customers on a daily basis who depend on these products for a wide range of health reasons. Many people turn to the delta products because it has the less psychotropic effects. I myself use the products and would much rather have delta 8 over delta 9 because of the psychoactive effects. A study from 1994 (mechoulam et Al.) found that oral delta 8- thc significantly reduced the incidence and severity of neurological deficit in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in rats. This shows the potential to help improve cognitive function. Being on the other side of the sales counter I get to hear from the consumer all day, I have customers that have been addicted to hard drugs, and I have turned them over to delta concentrates and they have been able to come off of Methamphetamines and other hard drugs. I could go on and on about all of the benefits of delta 8- thc products but you get the point. I agree that these products should be lab tested, and have have stricter guidelines, but don’t punish all the people these products are benefiting because what are they supposed to do?!? Not everyone can afford the high dollar medication (dispensary) Thank you for your time.
ADHD is a widespread condition. An estimated 6 million children in the US have been diagnosed with ADHD, and an estimated 4% of the adult population in the US have it currently. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes an inability to sit still or stay focused on a single task for any reasonable amount of time. Those with ADHD also tend to be very disorganized, scatterbrained, and overly hyper. Symptoms often appear early on, between the ages of 3-6. But in recent years, scientific discoveries have found that these symptoms may appear later in life or worsen as a person enters adulthood. The most common method for treating ADHD is medication. According to a 2016 report by the CDC, 62% of children ages 2-17 diagnosed with ADHD were on medication. This medication typically takes the form of Adderall or Ritalin. These medications are heavy stimulants that are very effective at treating the symptoms of ADHD. The problem is, they are not without significant side effects. These side effects include decreased appetite, weight loss, nervousness, and trouble sleeping. There can be some more severe side effects as well. According to the NCBI a number of studies have been conducted which found that Methylphenidate (the main ingredient in Ritalin) stunted physical growth in children. These stimulants also raise blood pressure significantly, leading to cardiovascular problems down the road for people with pre-existing heart conditions. While delta 8 is obviously not an option for children, it could help adults with ADHD avoid a life of stimulant dependence. I my self have been battling ADHD my whole life I have found that cannabis is the best medication for my condition. That being said our medical cannabis is outrageously expensive. Witch has caused me to try the lesser priced delta 8 which work great! I think taking these products from the consumer is a bad move. It’s only allowing the medical dispensaries to take advantage of us with there outlandish prices. Delta 8 is a great cheaper alternative to the medication we need. So either lower the dispensary prices or leave delta alone!
To whom it may concern, At Virginia Cultivars LLC we are all for regulation regarding hemp derived cannabinoids. Implement child proof packages, batch testing requirements, companies be licensed, insured and vertically integrated, inspect kitchens and labs yearly with audits, require FDA approval. Outlawing D8 THC and other HEMP derived cannabinoids isn't the anwser,These cannabinoids when used correctly can provide real relief for patients who otherwise are left in pain for days and weeks at a time. By implementation of this language used in the budget bill you will be doing a great injustice to the citizens of the Commonwealth. More than 2/3 of our patients are over the age of 60 and are fearful their much needed cannabis meds will be stripped from them. These patients live too far from dispensaries. Can't afford the ludacris prices, and should not be subject to sub par medicine. Don't let a few bad apples and Child suggestive packaging ruin the work and medicine our company provides. Sincerely Mike Wagoner in association with Virginia Cultivars LLC and Wagoner and Co
My name is William Seltzer, 37 years old. I live in galax va, I was diagnosed with a with ptsd and a former of cancer that my Dr (Dr. ROBERTS GALAX VA) did not want me smoking anything. Not only can I not get edibles in the our state but delta8 specifically helped me to not touch Xanax again. With it being pretty much criminalized, what am I to do?? Go back to having to find something on the street to help me? If you have ever seen anyone who was addicted to Xanax, well its not good.
Dear Virginia Hemp Taskforce, I am the Executive Director of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access and I have a seat on Virginia's Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council. I am providing testimony today relating to the terminology used to describe cannabis hemp products and legal situation in Virginia w.r.t. federal law. I want everyone who has been using the term "intoxicating hemp products" to take a moment to think about what Merriam Webster would have to say about our use of this word in this context. Webster's dictionary lists three different directions this word "intoxicating" can go and only one truly fits. The 1st part states: "the condition of having physical or mental control markedly diminished by the effects of alcohol or drugs with the examples of "drank to the point of intoxication" and "cocaine intoxication". This can be seen in this context as impairment. There is wide consensus within our community to guard for and prevent driving while impaired in this way however please consider that it is not as easy to become impaired to the point of being an unsafe driver with cannabis products as alcohol and also there are considerably greater challenges to removing these drivers from the road as a simple drug test only shows THC levels and not impairment. This may be a good point to interject a bit of fact, Cannabis has recently been deemed a safe and effective medicine by the WHO and the United Nations drug treaty that USA signed long ago has been updated to ensure legal access to cannabis medicines in the 186 countries that are party to this international law. The prominent medicinal cannabinoids THC [Marinol] and CBD [Epidiolex] have been approved by FDA and are considered safe and effective for human use. The driving warning on [pure THC] Marinol states ""do not drive until acclimated to the drug"" Merriam Webster continues with a second part of the definition of "intoxication" -- ": a strong excitement or elation" And the example they give seems to fit cannabis very well: "The mere knowledge that they are on an island, a little world entirely surrounded by the sea, fills them with an indescribable intoxication … — Christine Osborne" The third part of Webster's definition for "intoxication" seems to be the most off the mark and it is this part of the word's definition that prompted me to write today: ": an abnormal state that is essentially a poisoning" only fits substances that are actually toxic and that can actually kill -- like most drugs out there, NOT CANNABIS. The example Webster gives should be enlightening: "carbon monoxide intoxication". Finally, Congress passed a law that legalized the cultivation of hemp and gave a threshold definition based upon THC percentages in the field. To be fair, Congress was picturing hemp grown for fiber, food and lubricants when they passed the law but they have realized their error and are working on changes in statute to correct this, however, it is federal law and any attempts by states to limit the interstate commerce of a commodity legal by federal law is made invalid by the Constitution of USA through the Supremacy Clause so I would recommend a wait and see approach at the state level. Until we actually legalize "marijuana" in Virginia, passing a hemp product over to "state control" by controlling as "marijuana" can and should be seen as placing the product under an illegal prohibition as seen through the eyes of our United States Constitution.
Honorable Delegates, your work to protect Virginians is important and appreciated. Thank you for your time and service. I am a registered hemp grower and processor. My concern today is how to achieve balance through legislation that supports the hemp industry and protects the public from unintended harm. Is over regulation the answer to finding balance? What about the lack of transparency after SB 591 was defeated and the budget amendment that subsequently passed, HB 30, included unsupported regulatory measures? This is not what the hemp industry needs or what the People of Virginia want. I agree that appropriate regulations are desirable to help guide an emerging industry. Common standards and practices are needed to ensure quality hemp products are available in the commercial market. Research and development is needed to help safely expand the hemp market. This is where the focus and funding should be. Legislation that complicates practice and increases cost to produce quality hemp products are counterproductive. The USDA Final Rule for Domestic Production of Hemp added regulations and increased costs to the program. The increased cost has negatively impacted hemp growers and processors across the state. This is not good for business in Virginia. VDACS hemp program staff have done an exemplary job of guiding, educating, monitoring, and enforcing the hemp program in Virginia. Let them do their jobs without further complicating their work with more layers of unnecessary statutes to enforce. Virginians are excited about this new legal hemp industry. They have access to hemp products that help improve their well-being with fiber, grain, flower and their derivatives without the threat of criminality or social stigma. There is growth in the agriculture and small business industry. Criminal penalties, increased production costs, and over regulation is sure to adversely impact the hemp industry, as a whole. The federal and state definition for hemp and related products is "must have less than .3% THC." Product labeling requires this statement. Certificates of Analysis validate product labeling and are also required for the sale of hemp products. A person must be 21 or over to purchase hemp products. These guidelines are clear and they are not the only guidelines growers, farmers, small business owners, processors and dealers must contend with. Please do not over regulate and further complicate an already complicated industry because the industry will not be able to flourish. Trust parents to parent, protect, and educate their children. Ensure appropriate education for the community is available to include proper education of law enforcement, retail businesses, and health and human service agencies. Invest in research and development. Use the research and evidence to inform practice. The issue of Delta 8 and Delta 10 is twofold: Is it a legal hemp derivative? Second, is it harmful because it is a synthetic by product of CBD extraction? I believe it is legal based on the definition of hemp. Should it be a commercial product for sale? I believe a time limited moratorium could be instituted discontinuing new manufacturing for commercial sale, but permitting the use and sale of existing inventory, until the Delta 8 and 10 research concludes that the product is more harmful than alcohol, opioid prescription drugs, and similar legal products that have intoxicating and euphoric effects. Balance is thoughtful compromise. Please ReThink The Leaf.
My name is Luke Greer and I own Northern Virginia Hemp Company L.L.C. in Loudoun County Virginia. I entered the hemp space in 2019 as a way to utilize and maintain our family farm as an agricultural property . Being early to the hemp industry here in Virginia has served us and our customers well, as we were able to create a small and manageable, yet profitable family business model that has continued to grow. Our aim was to create a source for safe, tested, and effective products from the beginning and we have done that in accordance with all of the Federal, State, and Industry requirements. Our business model allows us to grow hemp on our family farm, harvest that hemp, and partner with other reputable Virginia businesses to produce products under our brand. Many of our customers have used our products after finding little relief from conventional medications and supplements, or as a way to normalize their lives without the risk of addiction or over intoxication. We encourage all of our Delta-8 customers to talk as little as possible, so that they may find the proper amount for their specific chemistry. We supply guidance both on our website and in written form with each new customer, each person is different and tolerance is unique to the person. We have always specified that our customers be over 21 years of age, and consult with their doctor should they have questions regarding medications. Our products are made for our community, our friends and our families. The last thing we would be willing to do is put any of our loved ones at risk. The businesses that we choose to include in our network have also followed the VDACS regulations and rules to the letter and done so diligently. It is frustrating that we have invested our lives and finances into an industry that remains challenging only to be blindsides by rules that are not present in surrounding states. These proposed regulations would merely hand business to surrounding states and would not protect Virginians by creating a safer option. The VDACS food program and hemp regulations have been effective thus far for the vast majority of consumers. The concern of children being exposed to THC products is no greater than the potential for exposure to alcohol, sugar, hot peppers, laxatives, or supplements. The solution is not to criminalize or restrict the market, but to have some responsibility put on the parents to do what the package says, and keep products out of reach from children. We agree that children should not have access to these products, that safe packaging and warning on the labels are a good idea. We feel there is a framework that can be established without doing damage to those of us who sell these products responsibly to help our customers live a more normalized life. Our customers are not teens out to have a good time. They are retired military, retired first responders, government officials, parents and pillars of the community. These new regulations would rob these model Virginians of pain relief, proper sleep, respite form PTSD and a host of other issues they have come to us hoping to manage. We use extractors and providers who are already operating within the VDACS framework and we believe what we are doing remains in the best interest of Virginia as a leader in the hemp industry. We ask you to abandon this idea that criminalizing and over regulating hemp isomers will help Virginians. Hemp isomers can be made safely with the help of VDACS.
Hemp flower delta 8 and 10 have both helped me with my depression and anxiety. My doctor told me if smoking Mary Jane helped me with my meds it was fine she said “ why don’t you just smoke or eat the real stuff instead of the store bought items (hemp ). I told her “ I’ll trust the store bought items everyday before I go out here in the streets and get it since people are dying off everything and people mixing bad stuff in it and selling it proudly . I don’t agree with her comment . 1. If I need to get ahold of the owners of the hemp I can call, email anytime . 2. I know it’s coming from a licensed form . 3. It don’t give you the high like regular weed does . 4.you don’t get the munches and become over weight 5. It truly reduces stress and depression and so much more .
I have worked in the industrial hemp derived product industry for 11 months as manager of Your CBD Store. The amount of positive results in customer's lives has been higher than I ever thought possible in comparison to the 10 months I spent working as a lcensed pharmacy technician in VA. Veteran's are finding relief from pain, anxiety and PTSD using our naturally derived delta 8 products. Pain management patients are finding better relief, rest and relaxation using full spectrum (0.03%thc). CBN. Nurses, teachers, farmers and IT professionals are finding increased motivation and better focus using our CBG. Senior citizens are finding daily arthritic pain less agonizing when using our full and broad spectrum topical products. Every person entering is seeking a better and more holistic way to ease their inflammation, pain, anxious feelings, and relax without alcohol, tobacco or synthetic products. What sets us apart from vape shops is all our products are 3rd party lab tested ensuring the safety and efficacy. CBD is a life changing product showing extremely positive results for the people of Virginia. The key to safety is third party lab testing and knowledgeable staff taking time to educate each individual based on their unique needs. I am ecstatic and beyond blessed to be a part of this outstanding and fast growing industry. I appreciate all the positive support we have received and even the negative which gives the opportunity to educate individuals who may not fully understand the safety and potential of industrial hemp. Thank you for your time and attention.
U.S. Hemp Roundtable’s initial public comments addressing “whether any statutory or regulatory modifications are necessary to ensure the safe and responsible manufacture and sale of industrial hemp extracts and other substances containing tetrahydrocannabinol that are intended for human consumption, orally or by inhalation, in the Commonwealth of Virginia” Summary: Age limitations, while both appropriate and necessary for the sale of intoxicating cannabis products, should not be applied to nonintoxicating hemp products. The U.S. Hemp Roundtable is the hemp industry’s leading national advocacy organization. For nearly a decade, the Roundtable’s more-than-100 members have stood at the forefront of ensuring a fair regulatory environment for the safe and responsible manufacture and sale of hemp products. Most recently, in light of emerging products like delta-8 THC and HHC, the Roundtable has worked with legislators and regulators to understand and respond to concerns and potential safety risks caused by intoxicating cannabis products. We applaud the efforts of Governor Youngkin and the General Assembly to restrict the provision of intoxicating cannabis products to regulated, adult-only marketplaces. Intoxicating compounds must be strictly regulated for safety and kept of out of the hands of minors. Unfortunately, HB 30, while intended to crack down on intoxicating cannabis products, swept with too broad a brush and restricted any hemp extract, food with hemp extract, or ingestible or inhalable hemp substance with any amount of THC to persons 21 or older. In effect, even nonintoxicating hemp products with legal amounts of THC are captured—essentially age-restricting all but topical, cosmetic-type hemp products. It is important that age restrictions are appropriately narrow, so consumers are not denied access to nonintoxicating health, lifestyle, and wellness products on which they depend. Age restrictions like the far-reaching one in HB 30 send an inaccurate message to consumers that nonintoxicating products are dangerous or should be associated with and regulated in the same way as alcohol or tobacco. Moreover, when faced with having to separate age-restricted products or verify age at the point of sale, many retailers—especially those that do not sell other age-restricted products—may choose not to carry these products altogether. This hurts Virginia farmers, business owners, and consumers. To be clear, the Roundtable does not oppose age restrictions in all forms. In fact, the Roundtable has openly supported stricter controls for intoxicating cannabis products masquerading as hemp. A possible solution—and one that may be right for Virginia—is to treat intoxicating compounds like adult-use cannabis. Virginia, of course, already has an established regulatory framework for cannabis. Nonintoxicating hemp products should be excluded. Determining which products are intoxicating should be based on scientific analysis and industry data and input, not on arbitrary THC limits. The Roundtable expresses its gratitude to the Task Force for focusing on the important topic of the safe and responsible manufacture and sale of THC-containing hemp extracts in Virginia, and thanks the Task Force for the invitation to submit comments for today’s meeting. The Roundtable intends to submit more comprehensive written comments for the Task Force’s consideration, including comments addressing other portions of HB 30.
We are high-end CBD retailer specialing and all things hemp. Our taxable sales, careers and most importantly, the assistance we provide to our geriatric clientele across the Commonwealth will be severely limited. When we opened our doors one year ago, we offered for sale alternate cannabinoid‘s as a safe, 3rd party tested, less potent, alternative to black-market substances. Within the first few months and to our delighted surprise, we learned our THC Dealth 8 edibles have provided a wide variety of relief for clientele, this was not from recommendation, but from our customer’s feedback. Please consider the detrimental impact of heavy handed orders from the state. Please consider the previous 3 score of government over-policing and it’s society hurting ripples when dropped into the ponds throughout our great Commonwealth. Thank you, David Treccariche Owner, Skooma Boutique Dispensary
Hello, I've been in the field of substance abuse prevention, intervention and education for over 40 years plus I'm currently a member of 2 community coaltions (the Community Coalitions of Virginia and the Virginia Beach Youth and Community Action Team). I have serious concerns about the implications of this bill and changes. The state should take a firm, explicit stand to (1) limit amounts of THC to be grown in homes and sold, (2) limit the amout of marijuana in a home, in addition to the number of plants allowed (as opposed to allowing up to a pound), and (3) eliminate the availability of Delta8, another dangerous substance. As you know, marijuana is a risky substance due to it's potential for addiction and/or dependence, it's effect on all systems of the body, carcinogenic potential, long and short term health risks, plus social-familial-financial-occupational-educational compromises. The health of Virginians and the prosperity of the state depend on your wisdom to begin this experiment with marijuana cautiously and with clear language, limits, guidelines, and sanctions in the best interest of everyone. Thank you.
VHC Policy Recommendations: Safe and non-intoxicating cannabinoids (CBD. CBN, CBG, ect.) derived from hemp are legal via the 2018 farm bill and those federally protected products should not be restricted for sale to only adults 21 and over. VDACS currently regulates these products, and they should continue to be sold like all other foods and dietary supplements on the store shelves with the same regulations that they also receive. Delta-8 is less intoxicating than Delta-9 (marijuana) products, but they should be restricted to only adults 21 and over. All hemp derived products should be retailed as they are now in various retail stores, but Delta-8,10 and other intoxicating cannabis products should require a license to sell much like alcohol and tobacco products are currently retailed. Trademark infringement hemp products and blatantly mislabeled hemp products should be removed from the store shelves. These products are inherently counterfeit and usually found containing intoxicating cannabinoids. Any products containing THC should never be marketed to children, and the shapes of gummies or candies should also not appeal to children. Virginia needs clear and simple regulations to address some of the issues currently surrounding hemp derived products such as keeping intoxicating hemp products like Delta-8 out of the hands of children and teenagers; however we all need to be careful to not “throw the baby out with the bathwater”. In creating these simple regulations, we must be mindful to not hinder the growth of the entire Virginia hemp industry by hurting Virginia small businesses and Virginia hemp farmers with unnecessary red tape and restrictions. We all should want to increase jobs and tax revenue by making Virginia a great state to do hemp business in and we should make it clear that hemp farmers and hemp businesses are welcome here in the Commonwealth. We need a clear and fair static free market regulatory framework that works for all Virginians. • Federal Court recently upheld that hemp derived Delta-8 THC is indeed part of the definition of hemp extract in federal law and therefore legal. (AK Futures LLC v. Boyd Street Distro, LLC, No. 21-56133 (9th Cir. May 19, 2022). Also, the DEA has confirmed that Delta-8 made from hemp materials are not subject to the Controlled Substances Act or defined as marijuana in Federal code. • Delta-8 THC can be found in small amounts in hemp and other forms of the cannabis plant, although not in the quantities as Delta-9 THC. However, the cannabinoid can be refined from CBD, which is abundantly produced by many varietals of legal hemp. • Delta-8 and CBD products in Virginia produced by Virginia businesses are often derived from Virginia hemp grown by Virginia farmers. Prohibiting Delta-8 in Virginia does not stop the black market, out of state sales, or mail order sales, and would increase demand in all those other markets only to hurt Virginia farmers, Virginia businesses, and job creation in the Commonwealth. • Hemp derived products currently create thousands of jobs and bring in millions of dollars in tax revenue to the Commonwealth general fund and help fund localities. • Hemp retail stores help to fill vacant retail spaces which create jobs and pay property taxes throughout the Commonwealth.
I am currently a medical patient for cannabis in Virginia to treat an anxiety disorder. I have found that low THC and high CBD cannabis works best for my condition. The whole experience I've gone through has made me realize the potential cannabis has for medical reasons, particularly compliant hemp flower. I became a hemp farmer in 2019 and through my experience, I have learned some very important facts about hemp. The current USDA regulations for hemp are optimized for large, multi-acre, single strain operations, and harm small farmers. I am a father of two. My family currently lives below the poverty line. Currently all the work I do in cannabis has not earned me a living. Following the new USDA guidelines this year, costs have been too high for a small farmer like myself to compete. The testing costs alone for my operation would be at minimum $3,000. For anyone living in poverty, or paycheck to paycheck due to economic instability, costs like these make being a small hemp farmer impossible. Legally, I cannot harvest my field until I pay for 3rd party testing. I will likely have to let my plants die in the field this year. If I could make any recommendations, it would be these: 1. 0.3% THC is a very strict and unrealistic limit for hemp and should be raised. We should a least follow federal law and allow 1% THC. 2. Take into account that there will be businesses of all sizes. Make accommodations for small scale growers and individuals who want to grow hemp without crippling fees and regulation. 3. Breeding hemp for new compounds with medical potential like CBDv, CBC, and CBG will provide innovation and push the bounds of this industry. Perhaps there could be "micro-licenses" for small operations with no vertical integration and more leniency with THC percentage. This industry is not just "rope and dope" like some critics say. We need a fair and open market to show the true innovation hiding in this very useful plant.