Small businesses fear fallout from potential new legislation

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 3:13 PM EST
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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Southwest Virginia businesses in the hemp industry are fearful over a bill sitting on Governor Glenn Youngkin’s desk.

“About 90% of our products would be instantly made illegal if the governor signs this bill,” said Chris Reese, co-owner of Bear Dance Market and CBD Café.

The bill aims to limit the amount of THC allowed in products.

“The bill, as it stands, wants to put a limit of two milligrams per package for all cannabis and hemp products that are not sold through a medical dispensary,” Reese said.

“The two-milligram cap is radically low and will needlessly ban the vast majority of non-intoxicating CBD products in Virginia,” said the director of operations for Nutrac Hemp Company, Jason Johannessen.

If a business is caught selling products with more THC than allowed, the business will face a fine of $10,000 per day.

“This bill is life-changing,” said the owner of Virginia Cultivars, Travis Wagoner. “It eliminates 95% of the products that we’re currently manufacturing. This time last year, I had 20 employees; we’re down to 10 employees, and if this law was passed, as written, we’ll probably have half of that.”

Nutrac Hemp Company also fears the potential ruling.

“We’re going to try to adapt and overcome and figure out ways to create new products that meet the new regulations,” Johannessen said. “It’s gonna be really difficult. A lot of processors and stores in Virginia are talking about moving out of state or just shutting down.”

“It’s crazy that adults will not be able to pick what medication they think works best for them,” said co-owner of Bear Dance Market and CBD Cafe Sarah Vogl. “If people think that hemp is working better for them than any of the alternatives, I think they should be allowed to do that adults should have that choice to choose.”