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Hemp farmers dismayed by proposed regulations

Kame Naturals sells CBD oils from hemp grown in Virginia.
Kame Naturals
Kame Naturals sells CBD oils from hemp grown in Virginia.

Reed Anderson grows hemp in Goochland County, using it to manufacture CBD oil. He went into the business for his mom, who suffered with arthritis and got little relief from pharmaceuticals.

“I was actually at a food show, and there was a CBD vendor that was handing out free samples, and I grabbed a sample, brought it back to my Mom, and I said, ‘Just try it!'” he recalls. "Mind you this is the same woman who threw my bag of weed out when I was in high school, and about a month later I got a call from her. She was in tears. She said, ‘Oh my god, this is the first time in years I’ve slept through the night.”

Now, Anderson is losing sleep, because the General Assembly approved two bills limiting the amount of THC that hemp products can contain.

“They’ve come up with this arbitrary amount of THC that will be allowed in a package —which they have yet to define.”

And his business partner at Kame Naturals, Sarah Trickey, says the new regulations would eliminate most of their product line.

“The THC would be so minimal, that there would be very little medicinal effect.”

Anderson says their oils ease pain, and they don’t produce intoxication, but they contain too much THC to meet the new requirements, and he’s hoping the governor will modify proposed restrictions.

“If he signs this, July one we’re out of business along with 4,500 other people in Virginia who contribute to the hemp industry.”

He points out that CBD works better when paired with other active components from the hemp plant.

“What the scientific community calls the entourage effect in that the more cannabinoids you can have together in a serving, the better they will function.”

Anderson argues federal limits on THC content are sufficient.
To protect children, he says, the state should require testing of products and the use of child-proof packaging – something his company already does.

He complains this state will spend at least two million dollars to enforce these new regulations while out-of-state producers of medical marijuana benefit.

"The medical market right now is controlled by two out-of-state giant cannabis companies that bring nothing to Virginia other than their hundreds of thousands of dollars that they contribute to campaigns and sales tax dollars."

In fact, one of those, Florida-based Jushi Inc., gave $128,500 to Republican candidates including $22,000 to Delegate Terry Kilgore and $2,000 to Senator Emmett Hanger – sponsors of the bills now on the governor’s desk.

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief