CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — There’s a push to regulate hemp-derived products while keeping them out of the hands of minors in North Carolina. New legislation unanimously passed the NC House with bipartisan support that would regulate kratom, CBD, Delta-8 and other hemp-derived products.
HB 539 would require retailers, distributers and manufacturers to get a license to sell the products. Store owners and industry professionals worked with lawmakers to write the legislation.
“We were the first in Charlotte, now there’s probably 30 stores just on this road alone that sell these products,” Mike Sims, co-owner of Crowntown Cannabis said. “We don’t mind the competition, but what we do mind is being undersold by subpar products that have synthetic products in them or have many corners cut to produce this product.”
Sims supports the 22-page legislation that would blaze the trail to better regulate hemp-derived products. It would also limit the sale to minors while banning hemp and kratom from school grounds.
“This was a bill actually constructed by people in the industry, and we actually had input in this, so we’re very excited to finally have something that I think benefits law enforcement, the side of consumers, as well as retailers,” Sims said.
The bill would also require testing products for 100 potentially dangerous substances, something NC Senator Mutaja Mohammed supports.
“I’m hopeful [that] with increased regulation, you might actually see people seeing it as a viable option as an alternative, otherwise ignoring it,” Senator Mohammed said. “So, it might actually be a benefit to the industry if it’s regulated, at least by state and local government.”
If the Senate passes the bill and the governor signs it, the law would set aside $2 million dollars in the state budget to hire 20 alcohol law enforcement special agents to enforce the new rules, catch violators and fine them $5,000 for the first offense.
“I think this is a good opportunity for both stakeholders, local governments and state governments work with these advocates who are interested in CBD and hemp and even the business community to make this a viable option as long as it is regulated and increases tax revenue,” Senator Mohammed said.” “I think it’s also important to note that the criminal penalties are not there, it’s predominantly civil penalties so that’s also refreshing to hear.”
If the senate passes the bill and the governor signs it–the law would set aside 2 million dollars in the state budget to hire 20 alcohol law enforcement special agents to enforce the new rules, catch violators and fine them up to $500 for the first offense.
“We’re a legitimate business we operate with most of these guidelines proposed in this bill anyway, and we have been since the day we opened,” Mike Sims said. “What we’re most concerned about is the stores and the different retailers out here that do not go by any of these standards.”
Senator Mohammed says he’s not sure if this bill will make it to a committee or to the floor for a vote by the end of the session because the Senate is focused on redistricting right now. If lawmakers can’t squeeze it this time. It could be considered for a special session if the governor calls for one. In the meantime, there’s no law that stops kids from buying hemp products.