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Daily news alerts
1st December 2023
- US - Federal: The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has issued a memo entitled “Farm Bill Primer: Selected Hemp Industry Issues” that addresses several issues related to hemp provisions in the upcoming Farm Bill. The memo provides an overview of hemp production in the US, identifies several hemp interest groups and attempts to summarise what stakeholders are advocating for in the new Farm Bill. However, the memo also notes: “These interest groups often have differing priorities, which may complicate US hemp policymaking”.
28th November 2023
- US - Federal: The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is revoking hemp licences from hemp cultivators who are also cultivating higher-THC cannabis under state-legal cannabis programmes, press reports. Many cultivators in Mississippi and Vermont, at least, have reportedly already lost their hemp licences, while several others in other states have been warned by the USDA that they would lose their hemp licence if they start growing state-legal cannabis. The risk of USDA enforcement appears to be higher in states in which the USDA issues hemp licences directly, though the USDA denies any difference in enforcement. The revocations rely upon USDA hemp regulations which require that hemp cultivation licensees dispose of all non-compliant hemp plants (i.e. those above an acceptable THC level), as they are, by definition, marijuana, a Schedule I drug under federal law.
21st November 2023
- US - Federal: President Joe Biden has signed into law stopgap funding that will extend the 2018 Farm Bill until September 2024, press reports. Therefore, for federal law on hemp, the status quo will remain until lawmakers can agree on a new farm bill, which is required every five years.
21st November 2023
- US - New York: The Cannabis Control Board (CCB) has voted to amend rules on hemp cannabinoid products that restrict the amount of THC that can be contained in hemp products. The rules were initially proposed in July 2023 and set upper limits of THC and cannabinoids that may be contained in various hemp product formats. For example, hemp products that are orally consumed, like edibles and beverages, may not contain more than 1 mg THC per serving or 10 mg per package. Products that contain more would be treated as cannabis products.
17th November 2023
- Brazil: Senator Mara Gabrilli from the governing Social Democratic Party, which has the most seats in the Senate, has introduced a bill to legalise the cultivation, production, import, export, sale, control, dispensing and use of cannabis products for medicinal purposes – for both human and veterinary use. The proposed legislation would also apply to industrial hemp and its products. It is still uncertain whether the bill will have enough support to be passed. Other bills on similar topics are being analysed by the Senate.
14th November 2023
- US - New York: A state court has ruled that state regulators did not follow proper procedure in imposing an emergency rule that limits the amount of THC in hemp products. The emergency rule, which was enacted in July 2023, required that hemp products have a CBD-to-THC ratio of at least 15:1 in ingestible products and set a THC cap by product format. The court concluded that regulators did not sufficiently justify imposing an emergency rule and should have used standard channels of rulemaking, including a public comment period. Therefore, the rule may not be enforced for the time being, and any such rule must be adequately justified as an emergency or else go through standard rulemaking procedures.
9th November 2023
- US - Alaska: A group of hemp producers has sued the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to prevent enforcement of a new regulation that would treat hemp products that contain any amount of delta-9 THC or “a non-naturally occurring cannabinoid, including a cannabinoid made from an ingredient extracted from industrial hemp and modified beyond its original form” as cannabis products. The lawsuit claims that the regulation, which became effective 3rd November, violates federal law, specifically the 2018 Farm Bill, by treating hemp the same as higher-THC cannabis.
8th November 2023
- South Africa: The parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services approved the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill. The bill, which was introduced in 2020, allows possession and cultivation for private purposes and sets a clear distinction between hemp and cannabis. It will now be debated in the National Assembly.
6th November 2023
- US - Florida: Just Brands, which markets CBD products under the brand Just CBD, is suing Florida authorities in federal court over a raid carried out by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) to enforce a new law prohibiting hemp-derived products that are attractive to children, press reports. Signed into law in June, Senate Bill (SB) 1676 prohibits the sale and distribution of hemp products that are attractive to children, which is defined as being in the form of a human, animal, or cartoon; bears “reasonable resemblance” to a known branded product; or contains any colour additive. However, Just Brands contends that it did not violate the law because those products were produced for sale in other states. This is the latest in a series of sweeps that the FDACS has made since SB 1676 took effect.
3rd November 2023
- US - Georgia: The Georgia Court of Appeals has ruled that delta-8 and delta-10 THC, even in edible products, are not controlled substances under Georgia law. The plaintiffs sued for the return of their products that were confiscated upon a warrant claiming that the delta-8 and delta-10 products were controlled substances. State authorities contended that the edible products were controlled substances because Georgia law prohibits food products that contain THC, yet conceded that the non-food products were not controlled substances. The court found that delta-8 and delta-10 THC are not controlled substances when contained in hemp or hemp products, and therefore, the warrant to seize the products was not based on probable cause.
2nd November 2023
- US - Virginia: A federal judge has denied an injunction against Virginia authorities that would have prevented them from enforcing a new law that restricts the amount of THC allowed in hemp products. Enacted in April, Senate Bill (SB) 903 includes all forms of THC in its 0.3% threshold for hemp products and caps the total amount of THC that hemp products can contain at either a maximum of 2 mg of total THC per package or an amount of CBD at least 25 times greater than the total amount of THC. Hemp industry members sued authorities to prevent the enforcement of SB 903, but with the denial of the injunction the new law may be enforced while the lawsuit is litigated.