LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – An act signed into law Tuesday creates a new landscape for hemp product sales in Arkansas.
The act prohibits the sale of hemp products, such as Delta-8, containing excess tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the intoxicating ingredient in marijuana. It also requires anyone selling or manufacturing hemp products to have a yearly license.
Owner of Miss D’s CBD & Hemp Wellness Center, Dawn Harpell, said Delta-8 products make up a large portion of her business.
“This bill eliminates about 80, 85 percent of the products that I sell or the income that I make so the second its done, I’m done,” Harpell said.
One of the sponsors of the legislation, Sen. Justin Boyd, said the new law will protect kids from getting access to the products.
“I just feel like this gave the law enforcement the exclamation point that it needed to be clear that these are products that are not on sale in the state of Arkansas especially not to all kids,” Boyd said.
Harpell said she already ensures the THC products get into the right hands and checks to see if recipients are older than 21. She says Delta-8 products help her customers in a variety of ways.
“They don’t do it to get high, they do it for crohn’s, they do it for pain, sleep, anxiety all kinds of medical issues and that’s the part that makes me the saddest that they’re not going to get the medicine like they used to,” Harpell said.
A Working 4 You investigation in March found Delta-8 was being sold throughout the state without regulation due to a loophole in federal law. In some cases, people reported an unexpected reaction to what they thought was a harmless hemp product.
The act signed Tuesday closes the loophole created by the federal farm act in 2018. That federal act allowed hemp products if the THC content was under 0.3%.
In some cases, producers created smokable or edible hemp products with over 0.3% THC, allowing a marijuana-like effect from an unregulated over-the-counter product. The act signed into law Tuesday puts an end to that by limiting any hemp product to 0.3% maximum THC and requires a license to sell and distribute hemp products.
Other than the THC limit, the law requires any business selling hemp-derived products to be licensed by the state’s tobacco control board. The license for wholesale or retail sales, or manufacture of hemp-derived products, is $5,000 a year.
Under the law, businesses also have to maintain records of hemp product sales.
Under the new regulation, sales of hemp products to minors is prohibited.
The law also places specific labeling requirements on the packaging of hemp products, including forbidding referencing “candy” or cartoon figures.
The laws went into effect with the governor’s signature.