By: Dae Y. Lee, Pharm.D., Esq., CPBS
Recent events signal the need for CBD manufacturers to have a clear game plan to address legal uncertainty and confusion by law enforcement and prosecutors. New York prosecutors recently dropped felony marijuana possession charges against a New York-based CBD manufacturer. The manufacturer was arrested in November for allegedly receiving 106 pounds of marijuana. However, the shipment contained hemp plants. Notably concerning, the shipment included documents verifying that the hemp contained 0.06% THC, which is lower than the 0.3% threshold set forth by the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill). Of note, any cannabis plant that contains more than 0.3 % THC would be considered non-hemp cannabis under federal law and would thus face no legal protection under the 2018 Farm Bill.
Law enforcement’s wrongful seizure demonstrates a lack of knowledge and understanding of CBD, which may lead to business interruption and financial loss. Stakeholders should make sure they have a Plan of Action to address wrongful seizure and surrounding criminal issues, as well as appropriate commercial insurance coverage to mitigate the economic risks.
New York is clearly making efforts to address uncertainty through legislation. New York Governor Cuomo signed a comprehensive hemp bill this month that allows and sets up a regulatory framework for the growth, sale, distribution, transportation, and processing of industrial hemp and hemp extracts including CBD in the state. Stakeholders should understand the contours of this new law.
Regulation of hemp and its derivative products remains mired in a jumble of conflicting state and federal law. Stakeholders, ranging from manufacturers to retailers, must remain compliant. If your company handles hemp and its derivatives, contact Frier Levitt today to speak to an attorney.