Do you remember when we fought hard for a few years to keep Delta 8 and other cannabinoids legal in this state? We asked the legislators for common sense regulations instead of an all-out ban. That happened with HB544. It provided laws to keep the products behind the counters, only sell to 21+, provide testing, and special labeling requirements. It also gave the Cabinet for Health and Family Services administrative regulation to implement the requirements for HB544. However, the Cabinet’s new regulations are putting small hemp retailers in a horrible financial burden to fund their enforcement efforts. At a time when small businesses are already struggling with so many financial burdens, now is not the time to implement outlandish fees to retailers.

The emergency regulations (902KAR45:012E) are requiring a yearly fee of $2,000.00 from each hemp retailer that sells Delta 8 or other “adult use cannabinoids”, $200 per SKU for approved products, $1,000.00 for a distributor or wholesaler, $3,000.00 for processors, $1,000.00 for manufactures, $200 for a hemp cosmetic permit and $250 for temporary events. That means in reality, if we were to have all of our SKU’s “approved” it would cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars just to be in business and sell the products that we sell. It is simply unsustainable for any small business to be accessed these kinds of fees to sell these products.

The Cabinet has also set a limit of THCa to be at 0.3%. There is no federal law and there was no mention of THCa in HB544 or in any other state laws as to the limits of THCa. They also limited CBD products to have a 15:1 ratio. Which means that a lot of CBD products on the market, that are below the 0.3% Delta 9 THC threshold, would suddenly be considered “adult use” products. This would significantly reduce the amount of variety and hurt Kentucky farmers and processors as well. They also stated that retailers could no longer be within 1000 feet of a school. Many retailers have been in business and would be forced out of their location if this regulation stays as is. There is more outlandish language in the regulations, but these are the most troublesome for the Kentucky Hemp industry and not what we fought so hard to accomplish with the common sense regulations.

We have been providing quality products for almost 6 years and have always followed the guidelines that we worked to have imposed prior to the passing of HB544, but these fees go above and beyond what is reasonable and acceptable. There is no reason why we or other retailers should be punished for being incompliance with the original intent of HB544 by paying extra fees for their enforcement efforts. We believe that these funds should be paid for out of the State’s General Funds and not passed on to the small business owners or to the consumers in the form of a hemp use tax.

Please stand with us and with other hemp business owners and tell the Cabinet that these fees are unconstitutional and a complete drain on already struggling small business owners. Please attend the zoom call on June 24, 2024 at 9:00am and/or send your written comments to [email protected] and tell them to stop the war on hemp in Kentucky. In order to get the zoom link, you will need to send an email to [email protected] by June 17th.  If you do not want to speak, send an email with your written comments by June 30th. Help us help others by stopping these erroneous fees.