VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Governor Glenn Youngkin wants to restrict how people can access certain forms of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound found in hemp plants.
Two forms of THC are called Delta 8 and Delta 9. Both forms can make you feel high, but Delta 9 is considered more potent. However, Youngkin wants to ban hemp businesses from selling Delta 8, since it is not federally regulated.
Senate Bill 591 was initially formed to ban the sale of hemp edibles in the shapes of animals, fruits, or people, so they do not appeal to children.
Now, Governor Youngkin is amending the bill with other restrictions, including a ban on Delta 8. Lawmakers also proposed amending the bill to prohibit people under 21 years of age to buy or use CBD products, which do not contain THC.
Another part of the bill includes the elimination of the requirement for medical marijuana patients to register with the state Board of Pharmacy. State leaders say it could help clear a backlog of patients who put in their requests.
In light of this bill and recent amendments, Sophia Woods with Hemp House Wellness in Virginia Beach said it pushes her business a step back, but she plans to pivot.
"We will definitely be affected by not being able to sell the Delta 8 smokable options," said Woods. "We are hoping to fill in the crack by offering CBD full spectrum smokable products."
When it comes to the limitation of CBD sales to people under the age of 21, Woods said she's not worried, since she sees parents often accompanying their kids to get these products. She says many CBD products help with anxiety or the inability to focus for younger people.
Regarding the Delta 8 ban, it will be a challenge for The Hemp Spectrum co-owner, Savana Griffith, in Virginia Beach.
"I understand the sentiment that they're trying to do it -- so minors don't get ahold of Delta 8 -- but I think there are simple solutions for that," said Griffith. "I think they're doing it the wrong way."
Griffith said the Delta 8 products are some of her best-sellers. Despite the other restrictions, she said a ban on this product would hurt her business.
"Our sales are probably about 70% Delta 8 and other products like that, so yeah... it would crush us, to put it simply," said Griffith. "We know everything we need to know about the plant. It just doesn't make sense for them to restrict us over anyone else."
Virginia lawmakers could still override these amendments by the end of April if they choose to vote. If not, the Delta 8 ban would take effect as early as October 1.