Judge Issues Surprise Marijuana Ruling

from The Republican Standard

A federal judge in Northern Virginia rejected an attempt to block a new Virginia law that imposes stricter limits on hemp products containing intoxicating amounts of THC. The law aimed to crack down on delta-8, a hemp-derived marijuana alternative. The judge ruled that Virginia’s regulations do not conflict with federal law and serve the public interest in protecting citizens, especially children, from substances like delta-8, indicating a challenging road ahead for the hemp industry in opposing the new law.

The Virginia Mercury has more:

The initial opinion issued Monday denied a group of hemp businesses’ request for an injunction that would have prevented state officials from enforcing the law, meaning the new rules remain in place as the lawsuit moves forward.

The controversial bill approved earlier this year was aimed at cracking down on edibles and other products containing delta-8, a hemp-derived marijuana alternative that had become widely available in smoke shops across Virginia. The law came with stiff fines for retail businesses that continue to sell products that exceed total THC limits covering both natural and synthetic forms of the compound that gets cannabis users high.

U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema indicated she was unconvinced by arguments Virginia had overstepped its authority to regulate hemp in a way that conflicted with federal law and interfered with interstate commerce.

“On this record, defendants have demonstrated that delta-8 THC is a credible threat to the Virginia population, and there is a strong public interest in protecting the citizens of the commonwealth from substances like delta-8, including a vulnerable population, such as children, from hospitalizations and poisonings,” Brinkema wrote in a 27-page opinion. “The decision to advance that interest was done by the elected policymakers of Virginia, and this court must defer to those political and social welfare judgements.”

While the ruling doesn’t completely terminate the lawsuit, it does indicate that the hemp industry will encounter significant challenges in its efforts to contest the new law.

Republished with permission from The Republican Standard.