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The 2018 Farm Improvement Act (Farm Bill 2018) legalized hemp by removing the crop and its derivatives from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and providing a detailed framework for hemp cultivation. The 2018 Farm Bill gives the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the federal hemp regulator. In return, states have the option to maintain the primary regulator for the culture grown within their borders by submitting a plan to the USDA.

This interplay between the federal and state governments has led to numerous changes to the law and regulation at the state level. In fact, most states have introduced (and passed) bills that would approve the commercial production of hemp within their limits. A smaller but growing number of states also regulate the sale of hemp products. Our lawyers track these developments in real time for multiple clients and provide those clients with a 50 state matrix showing how states regulate hemp and hemp products.

Given the rapidly evolving legislative changes, we also present a 50-state series that analyzes how each jurisdiction deals with cannabidiol (hemp CBD) derived from hemp. Today we turn to Virginia.

Earlier this year, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) submitted its plan to regulate hemp production for review and approval to the USDA. Shortly thereafter, the USDA asked the VDACS to revise and resubmit its plan, which is now undergoing a second review. According to the VDACS hemp website, the government agency expects its plan to enter into force on October 31, 2020. This means that the VDACS will continue to be operated as part of the Farm Bill 2014.

The Virginia Hemp Rules stipulate that hemp producers, processors and processors who want to produce hemp must be registered with the VDACS.

Virginia is also one of the states that specifically regulate the production of hemp products for human consumption.

According to the Virginia law, "hemp product" means

any finished product that contains industrial hemp, including ropes, building materials, auto parts, animal litter, animal feed, cosmetics, oil containing an industrial hemp extract, or food or food additives for human consumption. "

On July 15, 2019, the VDACS commissioner announced that hemp extracts for human consumption would be treated like hemp CBD oil as approved food additives. However, neither the Virginia law nor the VDACS rules have been open about the sale and marketing of these products. Then, in April, the governor signed Act SB 918, which helped clarify this problem. The new law, which came into force when it was enacted, provides for hemp extract that contains no more than 0.3 percent THC to be treated as food. A food is defined as:

any article intended for human consumption and commercial introduction, regardless of whether the article is simple, mixed or composed, as well as any substances or ingredients used in its manufacture. "Food" means no drug in the sense of § 54.1-3401 . “(Emphasis added)

Therefore, the sale of these products is now expressly permitted provided that they “meet specific laws, regulations or criteria that relate to the manufacturer of industrial hemp extracts or foods that contain an industrial hemp extract, at the place where this production takes place. ”It is unclear whether this law applies to both hemp extracts and food, but this issue is likely to be resolved by the VDACS, which is responsible for accepting labeling and testing requirements for these products.

Although the production of cosmetics infused with hemp CBD is permitted, their sale is not expressly regulated by the Virginia law. This is probably due to the fact that the VDACS is not responsible for this product category. However, since cosmetics can legally be made in the state, it is reasonable to conclude that the sale of these products is permitted as long as they do not contain more than 0.3 percent THC and are safe for human consumption.

On March 23, the governor signed Act HB 962, which clarifies that the sale of smokable hemp CBD products is legal provided certain packaging requirements are met and the products are not sold to anyone under the age of 21. This new law will enter into force on July 1st.

We will continue to monitor all cannabis matters in Virginia and elsewhere. For information on previous reporting in this series, see the following links:

The article Hemp CBD Across State Lines: Virginia first appeared on Harris Bricken.

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