The Kentucky Hemp Association is seeking an order to stop what it calls improper raids on hemp companies.
This week, the group presented its request to the Boone Circuit Court asking a judge to prevent law enforcement from using a letter to target hemp products containing Delta-8 THC from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
The complaint argues that such products are legal under the applicable federal and state legislation on hemp production. It also states that court inaction could have a “potential billion-dollar impact” on the Kentucky economy, the hemp growers, the producers, and the retail shop owners for billions of dollars.
This legal action follows a consultative opinion in April 2021 by the General Counsel of the Commissioner for Agriculture, which concludes that Delta-8 THC hemp products are not exempt from the list of federal controlled substances.
On 15 June, to seize Delta-8 THC products, the Kentucky State Police attacked two legitimate retail shops in Morehead, Kentucky. Law enforcement took a variety of hemp, money, and cameras and charged shop staff with marijuana trafficking.
According to William Sutterfield, the raids cost his Eastern Kentucky Hemp Company shop thousands of Dollars.
“There has to be a way where us legal business and professionals come in and offer quality products that are made with very, very strict standards and quality assurance,” said Sutterfield. “We’re just going to try to spread the information as much as we can and spread DELTA-8 to as many consumers and get as many people to try it and be aware of it and be aware of the benefits it can have on our society as a whole.”
Several other shops around the Commonwealth have since been raided.
The motion is filed on behalf of the Kentucky Hemp Association. Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and State Police Commissioner Col. Phillip Burnett Jr. are named defendants.
Commissioner Releases Statement
In a statement, Commissioner Quarles said hemp supporters first approached politicians to legalize hemp. Quarles assured everyone that hemp was different from marijuana and was not an intoxicating substance. Following these assurances, the Kentucky General Assembly and the United States Congress have enacted legislation “to separate it from psychoactive forms of cannabis.”
Quarles also stated that some now argue that legislators accidentally legalized Delta-8 THC as an intoxicating synthetic substance. However, he mentioned that the position is not mainstream, so Delta8 THC products have even been banned in Colorado. Colorado was one of the first states to legalize adult-use cannabis.
The commissioner also argued that, contrary to the claim that Delta-8 THC is ‘natural,’ there is no consumer product containing 100% Delta-8 THC derived naturally. Delta-8 THC products do not have natural hemp plant compounds, stated by Quarles. Instead, they contain Delta-8 synthetic THC compounds produced in a laboratory. He also included several news reports claiming that battery acid and pool chemicals can and are produced from Delta-8 THC products, making people sick and having traces of harmful chemicals and metals. That is why Virginia, Michigan, and Western Virginia have issued bulletins warning of the toxicity of these products.
“If legislators wanted to legalize this product,” said Quarles. “It would be simple enough for them to enact a law saying so. Because they haven’t, we have to follow the law and educate our license holders about what is legal and what isn’t.”
The KYHA and many individual members have retained legal advice to counter the hemp industry’s invasion. As a result, the Kentucky Hemp Association requests the Kentucky Agricultural Department to withdraw its guideline and issue new policies.
Botany Bay Issues Written Statement
According to Ginny Seville of The Botany Bay in Lexington, people are thriving in hemp all over the country. It is disgraceful that Kentucky entrepreneurs “are treated like criminals” while citizens are encouraged to prosper in other states. Seville also added that Kentucky needs to enter the new era of freedom from hemp. She hoped that this will put an end to the law enforcement activity.
William Sutterfield III, the spokesperson of Eastern Kentucky Hemp Co., stated that they would like to make some things very clear in light of recent events. According to him, it is his own opinion and that of everyone at The Eastern Kentucky Hemp Company that Kentucky residents have access to cannabis and hemp products.
“We will NOT stand by on idle as the KDA or other agencies overstep their boundaries and infringe on the rights of ourselves, friends, and loved ones,” said Sutterfield. “The recent actions from the KDA have done nothing except slow monumental advancements and progress of the hemp industry, and prevented the good people of our Commonwealth from accessing something they not only demand, but deserve to have access to. The people of our state and country have fought long and hard to have access to hemp/cannabinoid products, in my opinion too long to allow political dogma of this nature to be forced upon and allowed within our state. Rest assured, we will not stop until the people have and maintain the rights they deserve.”