The Virginia Cannabis Control Authority on Wednesday published its General Assembly-mandated report on consumable hemp products in the state, saying the products have “exploded in popularity due in large part to their accessibility and potential to produce intoxicating effects comparable to the ‘high’ experienced from marijuana.”

The agency alleges the “public health risks posed by these products are numerous and grave” due to “minors’ relatively unhindered access to the products, unwitting consumption of the products because of their resemblance to other commonly consumed non-intoxicating goods, and the potential ingestion of products contaminated by residual solvents, microbials, and pesticides.”

Based on the finding, the CCA made for recommendations for lawmakers to consider, including imposing “robust contaminant testing requirements for all consumable hemp products,” requiring “ingredient limits and implementing a pre-approval process for the products,” restricting “the access of minors to consumable hemp products at retail locations and through online sales,” and imposing “further limits on online sales of the products.”

The report notes that the products are legal under federal law, and that while federal lawmakers could address some of the issues associated with intoxicating hemp products in the 2023 Farm Bill, “competing legislative priorities in Congress, action on the 2023 Farm Bill, including any changes affecting hemp, is more likely to occur in 2024 than in 2023.”

“As of the publication of this report, no action on the farm bill has occurred,” the report says. “Without further action from Congress addressing the loopholes created through the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived product manufacturers, distributors, and retailers will remain emboldened to challenge any state-level efforts to impose restrictions on hemp-derived products.”

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