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“Literally the 11th hour”: Hemp, CBD could become illegal in NC this week

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – The state law legalizing hemp and CBD products expires later this week, which could result in many business owners suddenly finding their products illegal again, prompting them to file the state’s lawsuit urging lawmakers on Tuesday to act quickly.

“It’s literally the 11th hour,” said Eric Stahl, owner of Modern Apothecary in Raleigh.

Although both the state Senate and House of Representatives have passed separate bills that would keep hemp legal, they have yet to agree on legislation to send to Gov. Roy Cooper (D) to pass it before Thursday’s deadline sign.

The state made hemp legal in 2015 through a pilot program that expires June 30.

Since then, the federal government has legalized hemp, but North Carolina would need to adjust its laws to reflect that decision. Otherwise, on Friday, under state law, hemp is treated the same as marijuana.

Stahl says that as a small business owner, he worries about providing for his children.

“I signed her up for summer camp this summer. I’m afraid I have to tell you that I can’t pay the summer camp tuition because I don’t know if I’ll open a small business in July. That’s crazy,” he said.

Ian Brown, branch manager at Nature’s Releaf in Raleigh, said he has benefited not only from his employment in the industry but also from using some of the products he sells.

“I’ve been opiate free for a year and a half now. Literally, the day before I started working at this company was the last day I filled my prescription,” Brown said. “If they get rid of this, I have to go back to my doctor. I have to go back on pain meds, which is pretty much the opposite of what we in America want to do with the opioid crisis.”

Late last month, the Senate unanimously passed the Farm Act, which included a provision that would keep hemp legal.

Some Republicans in the House of Representatives were unwilling to support the hemp regulation, but were unwilling to vote against the Farm Act either.

So the House of Representatives pulled out the hemp regulations and passed a separate bill that would keep hemp legal. This bill passed on June 1 by a vote of 85 to 26.

Since then, the two chambers have not reconciled the issue.

“To be honest, I’m really confused,” Sen. Brent Jackson (R-Sampson), lead sponsor of the Farm Act, said in an interview Tuesday. “We couldn’t reach an agreement because we couldn’t sit down and talk about what we need to do.”

In addition to addressing the hemp deadline, General Assembly Chairs are also aiming for the passage of a budget and the end of the legislative session this week.

“Let’s hope that’s not the case. We’re still working on it and it’s still a work in progress. As you know, we are closing this session, hopefully sometime later this week. And we’ll do our best to make sure it’s covered before we leave here,” Sen. Jackson said.

The state estimates that there are more than 1,500 industrial hemp producers in North Carolina.

The Senate also passed a separate bill to legalize medical marijuana for a limited number of chronic conditions. The House of Representatives has declined to proceed with this bill, with House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) saying the issue will wait until next year’s long session.

https://www.cbs17.com/news/literally-the-11th-hour-hemp-cbd-could-become-illegal-in-nc-this-week/ “Literally the 11th hour”: Hemp, CBD could become illegal in NC this week

Dais Johnston

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