The THC Times: Nov 13, 2023: In a landmark decision, Kentucky’s General Assembly Administrative Regulations Review Subcommittee has approved an emergency rule to regulate Delta-8 THC and other intoxicating hemp-derived cannabinoid products. This significant regulatory step aims to distinguish adult-use products from non-intoxicating ones, reshaping the state’s approach to hemp-derived substances.
Objective of the New Rule
The newly approved rule is designed to regulate products intended for adult use, clearly separating them from non-intoxicating hemp derivatives. It introduces comprehensive changes, including revised requirements for processing and manufacturing facilities, enhanced product testing standards aligned with FDA guidelines for safety, and a new mandate for retail stores to register with the Department.
Industry Response and Concerns
Katelyn Wiard, Director of Operations at the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, voiced the industry’s perspective at the subcommittee meeting. While expressing gratitude for the incorporation of most of the Roundtable’s recommendations, Wiard highlighted significant concerns, particularly regarding the proposed ratio of non-intoxicating to intoxicating cannabinoids in hemp products.
The rule stipulates a 25 to 1 ratio of non-intoxicating cannabinoids like CBD to intoxicating ones such as THC for products to avoid being classified as adult-use. Wiard pointed out that this ratio is contentious within the industry, with debates over its efficacy and impact. Notably, this ratio classification could potentially categorize the majority of non-intoxicating full-spectrum hemp products as adult-use, a concern echoed by Kentucky CBD manufacturers and farmers.
Wiard advocated for either abandoning the ratio imposition in favor of a 2.5 milligram THC per serving limit or adopting a more lenient 50 to 1 ratio, similar to states like Colorado and Maryland.
Financial Implications for the Hemp Industry
Another critical issue raised by Wiard was the financial burden imposed by Section 2 of the rule, which requires a $200 fee per hemp product. This fee could significantly impact businesses in the hemp sector. Wiard proposed three alternative approaches: eliminating or reducing the per-product fee, implementing an annual fee for retail establishments, or restructuring the per-product fee to alleviate the financial strain on businesses and promote industry growth.
Concerns Over Manufacturing and Distribution Regulations
The Roundtable also expressed apprehension about the updated regulation’s restrictions on adding certain ingredients to cannabinoid products. Wiard urged the Subcommittee to reconsider the wording of this section, emphasizing the need for flexibility to ensure the continued development and innovation in the hemp industry.
Kentucky’s move to regulate Delta-8 THC and other intoxicating hemp-derived cannabinoids marks a critical juncture in the state’s cannabis policy. While the rule aims to create a safer and more regulated environment for consumers, it also presents challenges and concerns for the hemp industry. The dialogue between regulatory bodies and industry representatives like the U.S. Hemp Roundtable highlights the ongoing effort to balance public safety, industry growth, and regulatory fairness.
Zak Voss, the founder of The THC Times, brings over 15 years of experience in the cannabis industry, blending his engineering background with extensive legal and technical expertise. Renowned for his consultancy in cannabis legalities and indoor growing environments, Zak is a vital guide for navigating the complex cannabis landscape.