Marijuana Legalization In Maryland Is Pushing One City’s Mayor Out Of The Hemp Business

Marijuana Legalization In Maryland Is Pushing One City’s Mayor Out Of The Hemp Business

“We have to sell the farm,” said Federalsburg Mayor Kimberly Abner. “We’re not growing this year because we’re basically putting Maryland’s cannabis farmers out of business.”

Maryland Problems by Brian P. Sears

The mayor of Federalsburg said Maryland’s cannabis legalization forced her and her husband to close their businesses and sell their Eastern Shore cannabis farms.

For the past three years, Kimberly Abner, her husband Ken, and her brother-in-law have run a small hemp business that makes gummies and vape products. A bill to legalize recreational cannabis for adults keeps it out of the market, she said.

“I’m the face of one of your businesses that just went out of business. I have a cannabis farm in Maryland,” Abner said at a cannabis symposium hosted by the Maryland City Council. Rep. CT Wilson (D-Charles) of Rep. “I run a business that sells federally legal hemp products, and I’ve been getting calls asking me to remove the products from my stores because of this bill.”

Abner and her husband originally wanted to get into the state’s medical cannabis industry, but were unable to obtain a much-needed license.

“We didn’t have a license, so we chose hemp products because we could enter that market and we could legally sell it in Maryland and grow it legally,” Abner said in an interview. .

The small business, called Cannamedus, has been selling Delta-8 and Delta-9 gummies and e-cigarette products to smokers and stores on the Eastern Shore for about three years. We also sell tinctures and topical lotions and creams.

Like cannabis, hemp contains over 100 cannabinoids, including intoxicating ones.

Delta-9, the main intoxicant in cannabis, is also found in hemp. In Maryland, products containing this substance were legal if its concentration was less than 0.3%.

Another cannabinoid, delta-8, may also have intoxicating effects, according to the Federal Drug Administration.

Hemp products were not subject to the regulations and requirements imposed on cannabis until the 2023 legislation.

This year, Abner Farm has become a barren land.

“We have to sell the farm,” Abner said. “We’re not growing this year because we’re basically putting Maryland’s cannabis farmers out of business.”

This summer, Wilson was the lead sponsor of a 2023 bill that would allow the legal sale of recreational cannabis for the first time. Since July, the state has posted nearly $90 million in sales. The state imposes a 9% tax on those sales.

The cannabis legalization bill is opposed by the state’s cannabis industry, which filed a lawsuit last month to overturn some of the laws that are putting companies like Mr. Abner out of business.

Abner is not a party to the lawsuit, but her company is a member of an association that is one of the plaintiffs.

She said the state unfairly targets her business even though it sells federally legal products.

“The word ‘federal law’ is very loosely worded here,” Wilson said. “You’re right, federal officials haven’t made it illegal at this point, but as a state we have the right to check the safety of our voters. We have the right to ensure that everything we consume and put into our bodies is tested, and … we set the level of what is considered an intoxicant and what is not. You have the right to do so, but as you know, it will be resolved in court.”

Abner said their products have been tested and have reports to prove it.

The new law also set new conditions for the state’s cannabis industry. A farm bill enacted five years ago legalized the production of hemp, a cannabis plant with a low content of the psychotropic chemical THC.

Maryland’s new law has lowered the amount of THC that hemp products can contain below federal standards.

Cannabis growers wishing to continue selling in Maryland must obtain a cannabis grower or processor license.

The first batch of licenses aimed at increasing the number of minorities in the industry will be awarded by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, officials from the state’s Alcohol, Tobacco and Cannabis Commission visit stores and order items from the shelves.

“So we set up two offices, one for licensed people and one for unlicensed people, to make sure we got rid of the stupid smoking shops that sell CBD. I don’t know, but it’s fake cannabis,’ you know, this Delta-8, Delta-6, Delta-9,” Wilson said. “We wanted to make sure that everything the public consumed was safe, inspected and regulated.”

This article was originally published by Maryland Matters.

The DEA considers delta-8THC products synthesized from CBD to be illegal under federal law, officials said in a newly revealed email.

Photo courtesy: pixabay.

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Alexandra Solorio
Introducing Alexandra, an accomplished cannabis writer who has passionately pursued her craft for a decade. Through a decade-long journey, Alexandra has cultivated a profound connection with the cannabis world, translating her expertise into captivating prose. From unraveling the plant's rich history to exploring its therapeutic marvels and legal evolution, she has adeptly catered to both connoisseurs and newcomers. An unwavering advocate, Alexandra's words not only enlighten but also advocate responsible cannabis use, establishing her as an indispensable industry voice over the past ten years.

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