Hot Hemp and Delta-8 Products in Virginia Lead to ‘Aggressive’ Fines

Virginia’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is stepping up THC enforcement.

Virginia’s new stricter rules took effect, notably aimed at delta-8 THC sellers, leading to a round of warning letters sent out to retailers who were caught selling products out of compliance. Copycat treats, delta-8 THC products, and others were flagged.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) sent five noncompliance letters out on July 24, dishing out penalties ranging from $13,000 to $97,500.

Various violations were outlined in the letters with subsequent fines. “If the same violations are cited in a future inspection, the assessed civil penalties will increase,” VDACS said in the letters. However, the business owners will have an opportunity to pay a reduced fine of $10,000 if they agree to bring their stores into compliance and meet other conditions.

The move follows a new civil penalty structure that took effect July 1. Chapters 744 and 794 of the 2023 Acts of Assembly were amended to tackle D8 products and hot hemp.

“Effective July 1, 2023,” the rule reads. “When offered for retail sale, a hemp product may not exceed 0.3 percent total tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and may not have more than two milligrams of total THC per package unless the product’s cannabidiol (CBD) to THC ratio is at least 25 parts CBD for every one part THC. Total THC means all of the THC in a product, including delta-8 THC, delta-9 THC, and other THC isomers.”

Virginia Mercury reports that the largest fine to date was sent to a retailer located in Gate City in southwest Virginia, called Tobacco Discount. Thirty-six impermissible products were found by the VDACS, and inspectors said they found 27 had a concentration of intoxicating THC above the 0.3% legal limit. 

“This is just going way over the top, as we warned everyone,” Jason Amatucci, president of the Virginia Hemp Coalition, told Virginia Mercury. “They’re fining people and they’re being very aggressive about it.”

Others contained hemp-derived forms of THC or had labels displaying a “significant likeness” to mainstream snacks, particularly cereal bars with names like “Lucky Marshmellow” and “Berry Crunch.” 

Many of the products tested were gummies and cereal bars labeled as containing delta-8, a hemp-derived compound that can produce a high similar to marijuana.

Hemp Businesses Pull Out of Virginia

The latest round of letters and fines is pushing some hemp businesses in the state over the edge, prompting them to leave Virginia.

Redfern Market, one of those businesses, is a 10-employee hemp nursery and retail store in Caroline County, Virginia. 

“I guess I’ll have to go to North Carolina,” the owner of Redfern Market told Richmond Magazine. “We sell everything from dog treats to creams to gummies and chocolates. We have an array of products for different purposes, many for medicinal and wellness purposes, but 90% will have to be gone.”

Jason Amatucci of the Virginia Hemp Coalition agreed and described regulators as trying to shut down the state’s hemp industry. “They are trying to scare us and shut the industry down,” Amatucci said. “A lot of businesses are telling me that they’ve had enough, why operate in a state that treats you like trash?”

Virginia became the first in the South to legalize pot, and the 2018 Farm Bill opened the door for hemp, but critics say that Gov. Glenn Youngkin isn’t making things easy for the hemp industry. “It was very hard to communicate with the governor’s office when Youngkin came in. I couldn’t get a meeting with the lieutenant governor to talk with her about the industry. It was very hard,”  Amatucci said. “They just started coming after us.”

  1. Delta 8 is covered under the farm bill. Rewriting a law to make it illegal when you can go get oxy from almost any doctor. Makes you wonder if they really care about you or just the pharmaceutical companies paying them. Have a blessed day!

  2. It’s not much better in PA either trust me there. I have my medical marijuana card and have for about size years. They are trying to give me a DUI cause I smoked six hours before driving. Kind of feels like they are targeting people with their medical marijuana cards here. I’m not the only person it has happened too.

  3. It’s all about control in America
    I remember in the 60’s the police were pulling cars to the side checking for Marijuana and making a fortune off the backs of the working class and the unemployed. The only reason it was deemed illegal was because 1. They couldn’t Tax it, and 2. Cops were getting paid to harass the partakers until they figured out how to extract the part in the plant that would take us to Cloud Nine. Now that they have, they want more control. I never stopped growing my own and never will. One man’s laws is another Man’s game of dodgeball. One is stressed. The other Chilling . 😂

  4. This is one of the biggest jokes I’ve ever seen before. Getting in trouble for having products above 0.3% thc. I’m not joking when I say that’s literal insanity when I can lie about having anxiety or any other issues and actually get HARD drugs from big pharma. You know Adderall the one that’s gets young people hooked on legal meth. Or Xanax one pill and you’ll forget everything around you. But lord of I wanna smoke a couple joints or take edibles it’s the end of the universe. They gotta crack down on this weed stuff and keep giving our children horrible pharmacy drugs.

  5. I’m glad there are others that can see right through what law enforcement truly is!! They are not our friends and they definitely are not our protection!! They do NOT care about you or your family and are only here to control and steal from us!! Law enforcement does NOT prevent crime they only show up after everything to impose their OPINIONS on the situation and then they throw you in a cage and/or steal from you!! There has always been crime and always will be!! We need to learn how to take care of ourselves and stop calling the law!! They should only have be able to have federal law enforcement that go after serial killers and other people that have actually committed crimes!! We need to end qualified immunity immediately as well!! If people cannot see exactly what our government is doing to us now after the past 5 to 10 years then you are Helen Keller!! Learn your rights and stand your ground, if we all do it they will have to change or leave us alone!!

  6. Aggressively ban cannabis, and all your state will have to fill that void, is fentanyl and meth. Have fun with that.

  7. Look at Hawaii. All the locals who used to smoke the #1 Cash crop are now doing ice due to the crackdown on marijuana. I lived there 10 years on Oahu and believe me. This was what my local Polynesian friends were explaining to me. Hau bush has more night marchers now due to this lol. Some will get this. You take 1 away and they replace it with something much more hard. Dumbasses.

  8. This is getting ridiculous! Youngkin is a joke, one and done Governor. The residents of Virginia want legal, accessible, affordable cannabis for medical and recreational usage. So sick of crooked politicians telling me what I can and can’t to to relieve my pain. Cannabis works for me since oxy is now the devil. Get a clue people. Stop taking big pharma money and actually listen to your residents. Damn Commonwealth.

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