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Kentucky Approves Emergency Rule to Regulate Hemp-Derived Cannabinoids

Kentucky’s General Assembly Administrative Regulations Review Subcommittee has approved an emergency rule to regulate Delta-8 THC and other intoxicating hemp-derived cannabinoid products in the state.

The rule aims to regulate products that are for adult use only and separate the products from those that are non-intoxicating.

The rule adds and revises rules around requirements for processing and manufacturing facilities, adds product testing requirements to incorporate FDA standards for product safety, adds a requirement for retail stores to register with the Department.

Speaking at the subcommittee meeting, Director of Operations at the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, Katelyn Wiard, spoke on behalf of the Roundtable sharing concerns about the rules and advocating for a balanced regulatory framework.

Wiard expressed appreciation that most of the Roundtable’s recommended changes were addressed in the new regulation, however, Wiard noted a few items of concern including a new rule that requires hemp products to have a ratio of 25 parts of a non-intoxicating cannabinoid such as CBD to one part intoxicating cannabinoids, such as THC, to avoid the adult designation.

“The subject of ratios has been under considerable debate in the industry, with some attesting to the value of their use, arguing that the higher the ratio, the more CBD counteracts the impairing effects of THC, and others claiming that this distinction is deeply overrated,” stated Wiard.

“What is clear, however, is that a 25 to one ratio would assign the large majority of non-intoxicating full spectrum hemp products into the adult line. That’s why there’s only one state in the nation that employs a 25 to one ratio and that state’s law was the product of an intensive lobbying campaign by marijuana interest…

“It is notable that Kentucky CBD manufacturers whose products meet this ratio constraint oppose this limit due to concern about the broader impact on the rest of the CBD industry and Kentucky farmers.

“Ultimately, we urge the cabinet to abandon the imposition of any ratio and rely instead on a 2.5 milligramme THC per serving limit as the appropriate demarcation line for adult products.

“If the cabinet insists on imposing a CBD to THC ratio, we suggest that look at the precedent set in states such as Colorado and Maryland which employ a 50 to one ratio as a means to regulatory requirements…”.

Wiard raised an additional concern over Section 2 of the rule, which would require a $200 fee to be assessed for every hemp product, presenting a considerable financial burden for businesses in the hemp sector.

“We respectfully propose three alternative approaches that we believe could provide a more balanced regulatory framework…,” said Wiard. “Considering the potential inhibitive impact of the elimination or reduction of the per-product fee could substantially alleviate the burden on businesses and encourage growth within the industry.

“To implement an annual fee for retail establishments as an alternative to the current product the introduction of an annual fee for retail establishments registration could offer a more sustainable and equitable approach to regulatory financing, or three, restructure the per product fee.”

Regarding manufacturing, storage and distribution of hemp-derived cannabinoid products, Wiard stated that the Roundtable is concerned that the updated regulation now prohibits manufacturers or processors from adding a number of ingredients into cannabinoid products and urged the Subcommittee to change the wording.

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