Following the federal decriminalization of hemp and hemp-derived cannabidiol ("CBD"), North Carolina lawmakers are taking steps to ensure the state's hemp industry grows and thrives.
Senate Bill 315, also known as the North Carolina Farm Act of 2019 ("Farm Act"), is an annual bill that allows state legislators to make changes to various agriculture laws. Much of this year's legislation focuses not only on embracing the new cash crop but also setting up the necessary regulatory framework to create a viable, thriving, and safe market for hemp-related products in our state.
Although the current version of the Farm Act has not yet cleared the Senate, recent proposals threaten to put onerous restrictions on hemp farmers and retailers. For example, regulatory agencies and law enforcement organizations are pushing for a ban on smokeable hemp and many other retail CBD products, despite the present legality of those products, their value to our state's farmers, investments being made in the industry today, and the potential for continued economic gain and growth in North Carolina. Those products contain CBD but little to no THC, the active compound in marijuana.
Ward and Smith hemp law attorney Tyler Russell testified last week during a Senate committee hearing about the need for a commonsense approach to regulatory oversight for the CBD products made or sold within our state. "We're here today to talk about creating a state-level industry that allows for the retail sale of all hemp-derived products," remarked Tyler. His lobbying efforts to date have addressed many significant issues, but protecting the retail sector of the hemp and CBD industries has been particularly important. In its current form, the proposed bill lacks many basic protections for retail CBD products and the businesses that sell them.
We encourage business owners and investors to seek legal counsel before investing significant time and money into hemp or CBD operations.