Hemp-derived THC and Smokable Flower Ban Alarms American Hemp Growers

A new coalition of hemp professionals is forming to stop harmful provisions of the Hemp Advancement Act of 2022 from becoming law.

American Hemp Growers strongly opposes Rep. Chellie Pingree’s (D-ME) Hemp Advancement Act of 2022, which contains two provisions that would cripple the smokable CBD flower and hemp-derived THC markets.

One provision in the bill prohibits interstate commerce of “chemically synthesized” cannabinoids, or those that do not occur naturally in the plant. 

Transporting or shipping products containing any amount of delta-8, delta-10, and THCv across state lines would be illegal.

A second provision of the bill introduces a definition for “finished hemp products,” which walks back the acceptable THC concentration from 0.3% delta-9 THC to 0.3% total THC.

While this added definition appears to be targeting hemp-derived THC products, it will – whether intentional or not – cause most CBD flowers to become illegal.

As an experienced cultivator with over $50,000 invested into farming high-grade smokable flowers, Zachary Maxwell is concerned that his farm – and many others – may be out-of-business if this bill passes.

“Absolutely no CBD flower worth its weight is below 0.3 percent total THC after it’s dried, cured, and trimmed,” said Maxwell, American Hemp Growers’ Executive Director. “Drug trafficking becomes a real risk across the board from farm to customer, if this bill passes.” 

Amazingly, the Hemp Advancement Act has been endorsed by almost a dozen national hemp organizations, including the US Hemp Roundtable, US Hemp Authority, Hemp Industries Association, and the US Hemp Building Council. 

We’re concerned these national associations are out-of-touch with the majority of the hemp market.

Zachary Maxwell – Executive Director / Grower

“We’re concerned these national associations are out-of-touch with the majority of the hemp market,” Maxwell said. “American Hemp Growers represents the nursery farmer who has invested heavily in greenhouses and indoor facilities; the patient using hemp-derived THC to manage pain or PTSD; and any business that depends on hemp-derived THC and flower as a source of revenue.”

The owner of ReLeaf Hemp, Dakota Terrell, of Georgia, is concerned about the bill’s “significant” financial and criminal implications.

“With the stroke of a pen, countless Americans who will still possess products containing hemp-derived THC will unknowingly be at risk of being charged with a felony offense,” Terrell said. 

The financial impact to retailers will be significant, according to Terrell, who said store owners with which he has spoken say as much as 60 percent of their revenue comes from hemp-derived THC sales.

Instead of banning hemp-derived THCs, American Hemp Growers is proposing common-sense regulations that would treat them as adult-use products.

Responsible parties agree we need common-sense regulations such as age restrictions, child-resistant packaging; and clear labeling and testing requirements to protect consumers and smoke out bad actors.

Dakota Terrell – VP Communications / Retailer

“Responsible parties agree we need common-sense regulations such as age restrictions, child-resistant packaging; and clear labeling and testing requirements to protect consumers and smoke out bad actors,” Terrell said.

American Hemp Growers’ proposed regulations include:

  • Age-restricting sales to 21 and older
  • Occupational taxes for any business processing, manufacturing, distributing or retailing hemp-derived THCs
  • Mandating drivers license checks at the point of sale (brick-and-mortar or e-commerce) and providing penalties for failure to comply
  • Requiring accreditation for any processor or manufacturer of THC distillates or finished products using those distillates
  • Improved testing language, including full panel testing on distillate THCs in manufacturing, as well as a full panel test on every batch of packaged products. Provide a Class C misdemeanor; financial penalties; as well as potential loss of license and ability to participate in any hemp program for failure to comply. Require both test results (raw distillate and finished product) to be included in the QR code on the label. Provide penalties on a manufacturer for failing to link QR codes directly to test results.
  • Provide up to a Class C misdemeanor for any retailer who knowingly purchases hemp-derived THC products that do not include the full panel test results on the label.
  • Provide for random compliance inspections by state and federal officials
  • Provide class C misdemeanor penalties for underage possession and open containers in cars 
  • Provide clear labeling guidelines on finished products, including a visible warning about the THC content, impairment and drug testing implications

To provide relief to all hemp farmers while protecting the smokable flower market, American Hemp Growers proposes modifying the definition of hemp from 0.3 percent delta-9 THC to one percent and extending that threshold to the proposed definition for “finished hemp products.” 

American Hemp Growers’ proposal would responsibly regulate hemp-derived THC, while providing significant relief to every hemp farmer. The association will be working with Rep. Pingree’s office and other congresspersons to amend the bill.

In the meantime, American Hemp Growers has launched a petition drive on its website and will hold a Zoom meeting on Tuesday, April 19 at 1 p.m. CST to brief all interested parties on the effects of the Hemp Advancement Act.