Maryland Judge Sides With Hemp, Blocks New Law

October 16, 2023 · Green Market Report

A Maryland judge denied a temporary restraining order against hemp producers saying that the hemp products were legal according to the 2018 Farm Bill. The Maryland Hemp Coalition filed the case against the state’s 2023 Cannabis Reform Act.

The Cannabis Reform Act (CRA) lumped in all cannabis products including those derived from hemp with no regard towards the amount of THC in the product or how it was derived. The 2018 Farm Bill specifically stated that hemp products containing less than 0.03% of THC were legal. Thus, the existing legal hemp producers and sellers were told on July that their products and stores were now illegal unless they applied for and received a new license according to the CRA.

The Hemp Coalition stated that it wasn’t against the testing, labeling, or packaging requirements in the CRA, but believes they shouldn’t be required to get the specific cannabis licenses that full THC producers in the state need. The group also noted in its case that under the CRA, the hemp businesses would be denied licensing anyway because they didn’t meet the requirements to have been hurt by the prohibition of cannabis or already owned medical cannabis licenses. These groups get first dibs on adult-use licenses in the state.

The Hemp Coalition stated that since the low-level THC products were legal, they didn’t need to get medical licenses, thus cutting them out of that part of the licensing process. They also claim that Maryland’s licensing scheme has created a monopoly.

The judge sided with the hemp producers, noting that the regular adult-use producers were still able to move forward with the licensing scheme and wouldn’t be hurt if the hemp companies were able to continue selling their products. The judge stated that the adult-use program would be able to continue its launch and that hemp sellers wouldn’t be hurting that program.

The judge also wrote that the state did have a right to regulate hemp and could submit such a plan to the Department of Agriculture. However, he also wrote that so far the state had not submitted such a plan to the Department of Agriculture. (Full Story)

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