The subject of delta-8 and the cannabinoid market is extremely controversial, and different groups have their own views on the legality of the situation. Individual states have instituted their own policies for allowing or banning substances; and such is the current case with Virginia, which is trying to ban delta-8 THC through a last-minute addition to a bill.
An amendment to a Virginia bill by the governor would redefine THC, and ban the sale of delta-8 and other cannabinoids outside of dispensaries. Will the changes be removed? We’ll find out later this month! Our goal is to cover the growing world of cannabis. Follow the news by subscribing to THC Weekly Bulletin, and get your daily dose of industry news, plus access to deals on products like vapes, edibles and other accessories, and cannabinoid compounds. Remember that *cannabinoid products are not for everyone and no one should use a product they are not comfortable with!
What are the news?
As states legalize cannabis, they can institute their own regulations, and those regulations don’t have to be consistent across states or the federal government (which still considers everything illegal). In doing so, different States reacted differently to the cannabinoid market, which includes delta-8 THC, HHC, THCO, and other compounds. The last to do something is Virginia, with SB 591a bill to define the future regulated market for cannabis sales.
Monday, April 11and, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin made changes to SB 591 on the last allowable day he had to approve the bill. these last minute changes redefine the term “THC”, although the bill has already been approved by the General Assembly with a permanent definition. This new definition of “THC” for Virginia does not specifically mention delta-9 and is worded to prohibit the sale of isomers such as delta-8 outside legal dispensaries, by grouping THCs.
It must be remembered that ‘THC‘ refers only to the term ‘tetrahydrocannabinols’, and not specifically to delta-9 THC. That way, even if it’s not explicitly clear why it was done, redefining “THC” to include all THC makes sense. In reality, this is not a major departure from the standard definition, but it emphasizes that cannabinoid products cannot be sold illegally.
According to Youngkin, in a statement to WTKR, a Norfolk television station, “Delta-8 is, in fact, essentially marijuana, and the sale of marijuana is prohibited at this time.” If it were to go into effect, the policy would start on October 1st, however, it’s not technically a done deal. The legislator is still able to overrule this decision with a 2/3 vote, which is possible given that these additions might not be appreciated. In this sense, last-minute changes are more of a proposal than the formal adoption of a law. Whether or not they stay will be decided on April 27.and.
Technically, Virginia legalized recreational cannabis in 2021, after decriminalizing it the previous year. A fully regulated recreational sales market is expected to begin in early 2024. Even so, other aspects, like legal limits and penalties, are already in place.
What about smoking hemp products and misdemeanor charges?
Regarding the amendments, Governor Youngkin further explained to News 3, “There is no bargain, so this was a good clarification amendment in order to treat Delta-8 with Delta-9 in the same category, while preserving all access for CBD products.However, the changes covered more than just a definition of THC.
The Governor’s Amendments would also ban the sale of hemp edibles in the form of people, animals and fruit. While this is undoubtedly a measure to deter children from wanting to eat said foods, it’s hard to say how helpful such a stipulation is. Luckily, it’s not that bad, although some of the other add-ons are.
Another issue is that the changes are intended to limit sales of smokable hemp to those 21 and older only, which includes all CBD products. This means adults aged 18-21 would not be able to purchase hemp or CBD products to smoke, and would be treated the same as regular cannabis. And even more debatably, the changes include charging a misdemeanor to people with more than two ounces of cannabis in their possession. Currently, being caught with between one ounce and one pound incurs no more than a civil fine of $25. This idea of charging more than two ounces as a misdemeanor came from another recommendation of the Joint Audit and Legislative Review Commission. It’s a strange direction to take considering that Virginia is a legalized state.
To his credit, while Youngkin certainly took some interesting last-minute steps in terms of defining THC, limiting smokable hemp products, and criminalizing over two ounces, he also signed a bill that will expand the Virginia’s medical marijuana program to enable better patient access. This includes removing the requirement for medical cannabis patients to register with the Virginia Board of Pharmacy, and removing mandates for active ingredient ratios for medical cannabis products.
Reactions to Virginia’s proposal to ban the delta-8
As expected, the hemp industry is none too happy with these changes that redefine THC in Virginia and ban delta-8. According to Virginia Hemp Coalition President Jason Amatucci, “We are surprised by some of the flawed proposals in the bill. This bill will hurt job creation, the economy, farmers, and take away many legitimate rights of hemp consumers.
This sentiment was expressed most candidly by Virginia Healthy Alternatives Association President Yan Gleyzer, who had this to say about it: “Unfortunately, this bill has gone from bad to worse… We need to have regulations,” but that, “we can’t wipe out the whole market because of one product.
In reaction to the possible further criminalization of more than two ounces of cannabis, the Marijuana Justice group responded to this with Executive Director Chelsea Higgs Wise saying, “That’s what these new crimes do – they stop people to live on what could be a $25 bill to possibly spend time in jail or jail [if they’re] caught more than once with this new offence.
April 27and, we’ll find out if Virginia lawmakers agree with these “proposals.” If nothing else, it is worth mentioning that waiting until the very last minute to change a bill that has already been approved by the government, (with several extreme changes), is questionable in itself.
How did Virginia legalize recreational cannabis?
Virginia is interesting because it’s a southern state that’s leading the charge for cannabis legalization in that part of the country. Virginia quickly made giant strides, moving from a more restrictive state, to that of 18 with recreational legalization.
Laws began to change in April 2020, when a decriminalization bill was signed by Governor Ralph Northam. This decriminalized up to one ounce for personal use and went into effect July 1st, 2020. It subjected violators in the limit only to a fine of $25. In the spring of 2021, this was taken a step further when a Northam-amended bill was approved by both sides of Congress, which legalized recreational cannabis with possession up to one ounce. A retail market is expected to start in January 2024.
Interestingly, Virginia holds some designation when it comes to cannabis policy. While not the first state to legalize a comprehensive medical cannabis program, it was the first state To present some type of medical cannabis authorization. This happened in 1979 when Virginia re-evaluated its drug laws, which led to the inclusion of cannabis-based medications for those suffering from cancer and glaucoma. The truth is that nothing else changed at that time – like the creation of a market, apart from the authorization of these drugs, the change went virtually unnoticed for years and not really used . Virginia only introduced a comprehensive medical cannabis plan in 2017.
There is no legal limit for how much alcohol a person can own, and, in fact, some people have wine cellars with so many bottles, it could be considered an intention to sell. Yet it goes unnoticed, and the less dangerous option, cannabis, is still riddled with government attempts to criminalize the activities around it, even in legalized places!!!
What these amendments say more than anything is that the idea of legalization is not taken seriously. In many places, it seems more about bringing revenue to the government than eradicating laws that criminalize the factory. This idea of making it a crime for more than two ounces is a great example of the inconsistency of cannabis legalization, especially since the wine cellars are full to the brim.
When it comes to Virginia and cannabinoids like delta-8, the idea of changing the definition of “THC” is a bit strange, but it makes sense. Realistically, “THC” never meant “delta-9,” so whether you like it or not, including delta-8 and other cannabinoid compounds with delta-9 isn’t far off. at all.
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