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States Rally for Federal Action: The Push to Regulate Psychoactive Hemp Products

Updated: Mar 31



A coalition of 21 state attorneys general has urged federal lawmakers to implement regulations on psychoactive hemp products, including delta-8 THC. This call to action was highlighted in a letter addressed to the leaders of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry, and the House Committee on Agriculture, initiated by the attorneys general from Indiana and Arkansas, Todd Rokita and Tim Griffin respectively.


Both officials, alongside their counterparts from 19 other states, have raised concerns over the unintended consequences of the 2018 Farm Bill, which they argue has led to the widespread distribution of potent hemp-derived substances, challenging state and local governments' ability to manage a growing public health and safety issue.


Dated March 20, the letter points out the unintended proliferation of novel and minor cannabinoids that produce psychoactive effects, such as delta 8 THC, THCA, and HHC, due to the legislative ambiguities introduced by the Farm Bill. The attorneys general argue that these substances, often marketed in forms appealing to children, lack proper regulation and oversight, posing significant risks to public health, especially to youths.


The correspondence also emphasizes the competitive disadvantage these unregulated products pose to the licensed cannabis industry, which is subject to stringent regulations and taxes. Despite the call for regulation, some industry stakeholders have opposed legislative changes, leading to a series of legal battles with varying outcomes. For instance, a federal judge in Arkansas recently halted the state's efforts to ban these products through a preliminary injunction.


The letter's signatories, including California Attorney General Bonta, stress the health hazards intoxicating hemp products present to the younger population. Bonta highlighted the loophole created by the Farm Bill, leading to the availability of synthesized cannabinoid products that are potentially more harmful than regulated cannabis products. The call for regulatory action includes a proposal to redefine hemp in the upcoming farm bill, aiming to clarify the legal status of these substances and ensure public safety.


By addressing this legislative ambiguity, the attorneys general hope to establish a uniform regulatory framework that safeguards against the risks associated with intoxicating hemp products, prioritizing the protection of children and the integrity of the cannabis market.




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