Virginia General Assembly passes Gov. Youngkin’s amendment to hemp bill

Retailers and manufacturers will be able to exceed a two milligram THC cap as long as there is a 25:1 CBD to THC ratio

BLACKSBURG, Va. – After months of discussion and debate, a bill regulating Virginia hemp has officially gone through.

Lawmakers weighed in on Governor Glenn Youngkin’s proposals to amend a bill regulating certain hemp products being sold.

The original bill would have put a two-milligram THC cap on products both retailers and manufacturers could sell. It also would have required any topical hemp product being sold to have a bittering agent.

Youngkin’s amendment not only got rid of the bittering agent but also would allow products to exceed the two-milligram cap as long as there is a 25:1 CBD to THC ratio.

10 News has covered the process of this bill going back to when it was first passed all the way up to when Gov. Youngkin added his amendment.

Following the passing of the amendment on Wednesday, 10 News spoke with Jason Johannessen of NuTrac Hemp out in Blacksburg.

“We’re very happy the governor’s amendment passed today. The original bill not only banned intoxicating hemp products but also the vast majority of non-intoxicating hemp products as well. With the governor’s amendments a lot of that has been fixed,” Johannessen said.

The governor’s amendment was ultimately pushed by parents like Lisa Smith. Smith’s daughter, Haley, suffers from Dravet Syndrome which is a rare type of epilepsy.

Through the years Smith had used several medications to try and help Haley’s condition, but they all failed.

“She was having well over 1,000 seizures a year and we were out of all our options,” Smith said.

Smith would eventually be introduced to the idea of using a CBD product to help. Years later, Haley is living a much easier and healthy life.

“Back in 2015 I would have never thought of taking her out of her wheelchair or letting her walk anywhere and so now she can,” Smith said.

However, when the hemp bill passed this year in the General Assembly, worry would begin to strike again. Haley’s product exceeds the two-milligram cap even though it’s considered a non-intoxicating product.

Smith was familiar with pushing for legislation as she did so back in 2015 when the cannabis market began to open up in the Commonwealth. This time, Smith would have to plead her case again.

“They said ‘yeah, it’s a two-milligram cap’ and I couldn’t believe it. I also thought these people were friendly to my daughter’s situation and so I just went into mama bear mode,” Smith said.

After contacting the Governor’s office as well as the First Lady of Virginia, she was able to help push Gov. Youngkin to add his amendment.

Smith and her daughter traveled to Richmond during the reconvened session to watch both chambers pass the amendment.

“We went there so you could look her in the eye and tell her she can’t have her medicine … or can you look me in the eye and tell me that I can’t treat my daughter anymore and I’m going to revert back to where we were. That was our purpose of being there,” Smith said.

About the Author:

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.