October 3, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — State officials have announced they could take private business owners selling THC products to court, although the practice is not completely banned.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced last week they may pursue penalties, including a Class 1 misdemeanor if someone sells “synthetically-derived cannabinoids.”

The agency, which the budget allows to “regulate hemp products intended for human consumption,” spoke up after amendments banned the sale of THC to people under 21, but they did not ban sales of synthetic marijuana to those over 21.

Despite this, the state argues the sale violates Virginia’s Food and Drink Law because synthetic Delta-8 THC is a “food adulterant” with “little research on the long-term health effects”.

Richmond business owner Anthony Gregory argues that the sellers are not breaking any laws, and should be able to continue selling Delta-8 THC.

“I would hope that the state of Virginia would let adults be adults,” Gregory said, contending that the products at his East Main Street shop “The Dispensary,” helps people with anxiety, pain and even sleep problems.

Gregory adds that lab tests are done on his products and he’s happy to show the results.

“I do not sell to minors. I only sell to people 21 years and up,” Gregory said, “I’m inviting anybody, and I mean anybody, from the government from Virginia to come in and look at our shop. Then, I feel like as a business owner you should, kind of just, let me be.”

For now, while the legal gray area exists, Gregory’s shop remains open.

Last week Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares did not explicitly say if Delta-8 could be banned after a 2018 federal law left the door open for states to regulate synthetic THC.

Tuesday Miyares’ office said they can ask courts to “stop illegal sales and impose civil penalties.”

The VDACS statement read they “encourage voluntary compliance” and if someone fails to, penalties could include a Class 1 misdemeanor.

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