Hemp businesses and retailers selling CBD and THC products in Virginia are eagerly awaiting the outcome of a federal court hearing scheduled for tomorrow. They hope for an injunction on a law that became effective on July 1.
Since July 1, the sale of any products containing THC content higher than 0.3% has been prohibited in Virginia. Now, two hemp companies and a private citizen are suing the state in an attempt to bring about changes.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, NOVA Hemp, Franny’s Farmacy, and private citizen Rose Lane, argue that the law unjustly harms businesses and directly conflicts with federal law because Virginia’s new THC limit is stricter than the federal limit.
Pure Shenandoah, located in Elkton, emphasizes that the court’s decision will significantly impact their business in one way or another.
“Since July 1 and the implementation of the new law, we’ve observed numerous vendors facing difficulties, and more importantly, many consumers and patients struggling to find products that have been beneficial to them,” said Tanner Johnson, the owner of Pure Shenandoah, along with his three brothers.
While Pure Shenandoah sells a diverse range of hemp products and hasn’t been as severely affected as some other vendors by the law change, they’ve still had to adapt. The most significant downside, according to them, has been the loss of products with medicinal uses.
“We’ve been working diligently to develop new products that align with market and vendor demands. However, it has been an uphill battle and a challenging one. THC is highly effective in addressing various ailments, and without it, we feel restricted in what we can offer,” explained Johnson.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the State of Virginia are requesting an injunction that would effectively halt the regulations implemented on July 1.
“In practical terms, if the injunction is granted, THC-dominant edibles would once again be available on store shelves, but in a regulated manner. This would provide consumers with the products they need from a trustworthy source,” said Johnson.
Johnson believes that an injunction, if granted, could be the best-case scenario, as it would allow THC products to return to the market with improved regulation.
“If this happens, we would have a regulatory system in place to ensure that only well-tested, effective, and safe THC products make it to the shelves, rather than a haphazard assortment of products in gas stations,” he noted.
Should the Federal District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria grant the injunction, companies like Pure Shenandoah would need to submit their THC products to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) for approval before they can be sold again.
“Once the injunction is in place, Pure Shenandoah will promptly send various labels and packaging types to VDACS for approval. Once approved, we hope to be among the first companies back in the market, providing people access to the products they’ve been seeking for a long time,” Johnson added.
The growth of Virginia’s THC market was a result of hemp laws due to the slow rollout of the state’s legal marijuana programs.
Pure Shenandoah mentioned that, according to the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority, companies can apply for a medical marijuana license starting on January 1, 2024. The launch of the state’s recreational marijuana program is expected to take more time, with dispensaries likely to appear around 2026 or 2027.