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Hemp Growers Sue Alaska Government Over Hemp Regulations

The ​​Alaska Industrial Hemp Association has filed a lawsuit against the state over its new regulations surrounding hemp products.

In October 2023, Alaska approved new regulations governing the sale of intoxicating hemp products which came into effect on 3 November.

Signed into law by Governor Nancy Dahlstrom, the regulations closed a legal safety loophole that had previously enabled tax evasion and the sale of the products to underage citizens. The guidelines govern all cannabis products derived from hemp – specifically products containing delta-8 or delta-9 THC – which now fall under the jurisdiction of Alaska’s Cannabis Control Board for approval.

Full-spectrum hemp products are also impacted by the regulations, with manufacturers now requiring approval for the products, and are also now required to isolate or blend the products.

Alaska Industrial Hemp Association’s lawsuit claims the new regulations are unconstitutional as hemp is federally legal, and that they have a “clear protectionist effect on the state’s marijuana businesses and the state’s marijuana tax regime.”

The claimants are calling for a halt to the implementation of the regulations as they would “destroy Alaska’s hemp industry, remove any incentive for agricultural development or investment in the industry” and cost huge sums of money for the industry and put people out of work.

Alaskans would also turn to ordering products from outside of the state, the claimants suggest.

​​Writing in June in a letter from the Governor’s Advisory Task Force on Recreational Marijuana, Co-Chair, Brandon Emmett, stated: “Regulations are rarely perfect. There may be sections of this regulation that need to be changed in the future. The Task Force does not see any specific problems with these proposed regulations at this time and gives deference to the professionals entrusted with crafting these important changes.”

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