(The Center Square) – North Carolina hemp farmers and retailers are breathing a sigh of relief after lawmakers passed legislation to keep the plant legal just one day before it became illegal again.
“I don’t appreciate the drama of bringing it up to the last minute, but the fact that now hemp is legal, there’s no expiration, hemp is here to stay in North Carolina forever, I’m a happy man and we should have. hundreds of thousands of happy customers across the state,” Eric Stahl, owner of Raleigh hemp retailer Modern Apotheca, told the Carolina Journal.
Stahl was among the thousands of North Carolinians involved in the hemp industry who rejoiced Wednesday when the Senate voted 41-2 in favor of Senate Bill 455which removed hemp from the state’s controlled substance law.
The vote came the day before a 2015 temporary law to legalize hemp, which would have instantly made criminals who grow and sell the plant and associated CBD products, expired in 2015.
“I am very pleased that retailers who retail CBD and hemp products, as well as farmers involved in the production of hemp now have a clear and legal course to continue their business,” said Representative Jimmy Dixon, R-Duplin, in Journal. .
The vote allows the USDA to continue managing the state’s industrial hemp program, which includes more than 1,500 hemp growers across the state.
The law allows the sale of hemp and CBD with no more than 0.3% TCH, the active ingredient that creates the high content of marijuana.
Tyler Herring, owner of The Holistic Company in Smithfield, said the vote was met with “pure excitement” from retailers and customers who use CBD for things like eczema and anxiety, who had been providing supplies in case the measure does not pass. , WNCN reports.
“It would have put a lot of people in a very difficult situation who have already tried pharmaceuticals and we were their last resort, they came here looking at their last option,” he said.
Stahl echoed Herring’s perspective. He started Modern Apotheca in 2018 after finding CBD helpful for his wife’s Crohn’s disease and believes others prefer hemp products because they are less addictive and more effective than oxycodone or pharmaceuticals for treat certain diseases.
“We all have people in our lives who are dealing with really debilitating medical disorders and illnesses,” she told WTVD.
The delay in extending hemp’s legal status stemmed from disagreements over its inclusion in the 2022 North Carolina Farm Bill, with several House lawmakers vowing to vote against the measure with hemp arrangement included.
The hemp section was removed last week and the farm bill, SB 762it was approved in the Senate unanimously on Wednesday and by a vote of 99-13 in the House on Tuesday, the Journal reports.
Both bills now move to Governor Roy Cooper for his expected signature.
A separate measure to legalize medical marijuana passed the Senate but stalled in the House during the short legislative session that ends this week.