Attorney General Stein among AGs calling on Congress to tighten regulation on cannabis products

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CHARLOTTE, NC (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The future of a $28 billion industry is unclear. North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is one of 19 AGs who signed a letter to Congress asking lawmakers to take a closer look at a law that allows retailers to sell cannabis products.

There are smoke shops and other stores all across North and South Carolina that sell cannabis products like delta-8, 9 and 10. The sale of the products is legal under the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 also known as the 2018 Farm Bill.

The Farm Bill created a budding industry of hemp cultivation and sales with a total estimated value of $28 billion.

Inside his West Charlotte warehouse, Crowntown Cannabis, owner Mike Sims has flowers, tinctures and edibles. As lawmakers consider reauthorizing the 2018 Farm Bill, he’s concerned the industry could go up in smoke.

Queen City News

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“Regulate it to keep people safe; don’t regulate it to put us out of business,” Sims said. “All that’s going to make happen is [that] the black market will thrive and that makes the customer more unsafe.”

Nineteen Attorney Generals from across the US signed a letter to the federal government claiming the bill’s “glaring vagueness” has caused a “health and safety crisis.”

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is part of the group calling on Congress to color in the gray area that has created the industry of green.

“There’s no legal restrictions on the age. There’s no restriction on the marketing. There’s no restriction on the packaging,” AG Stein said.

The 2018 Farm Bill defines hemp as cannabis with less than 0.3% THC. Stein says that’s not specific enough.

“To get to 3/10 of quantity, it means it can get to be very intoxicating—intoxicating, as much as what you can do and buy on the street,” AG Stein said. “I don’t think that was the intent of Congress and we are all seeing unregulated sale of cannabis products here in North Carolina.”

The farm bill is set to expire in the fall of 2024.

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Sims says retailers and distributors agree regulations are necessary without blowing out the industry.

“We don’t need another oppressing law to kill our industry,” Sims said. “We just need a law that calls for regulation and testing and licensing and we’ll all get on board.”

Queen City News reached out to all federal congressional representatives in North and South Carolina, but none agreed to share their thoughts on re-evaluating the farm bill or the hemp industry. The farm bill is set to expire on September 30, 2024. 

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