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Attorneys ‘intend’ to sue if THC-A is banned in Tennessee

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Attorneys representing cannabis businesses in Tennessee said they “intend” to sue if the Tennessee Department of Agriculture finalizes regulations stopping the sale of a highly popular cannabis product.

To prepare to comply with a new state law that went into effect July 1, months ago the Department of Agriculture began drafting regulations surrounding the manufacturing, sale, and testing of cannabis products.

The “emergency” regulations, as they are called, were met with resistance by cannabis retailers who are upset the rules would make it illegal for them to sell THC-A flower.

Delta 9 THC-A is a chemical compound that occurs naturally in a cannabis plant. When exposed to heat, THC-A becomes Delta 9 THC, which gives cannabis users a “high.”

In February when the Department of Agriculture was accepting feedback on the draft regulations, CANVAST Supply Co. CEO Devin Aracena said THC-A flower products make up about half of her profits.

“People want the flower,” Aracena said at the time.

Hemp Law Group attorney, Alex Little, said retailers were expecting to be able to obtain their license and see the final regulations by July 1, because that is when the law goes into effect.

“The reality is its a department that is ultimately at odds with the industry they are trying to regulate,” Little said. “I think [retailers] also want the department to not add these additional burdens to their business.”

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In response to News 2’s questions about when the final rules will be sent out, a Department of Agriculture spokesperson said they are committed to “doing this right” and working to have the regulations completed “as soon as possible.”

The July 1st deadline in the statute was for the department to have a licensing program in place for hemp-derived cannabinoid products. The department continues to work through all statutory and regulatory requirements to promulgate final rules. In the meantime, the department has issued emergency rules and has taken all required administrative action necessary to launch a program in accordance with the statute as codified,” the spokesperson said.

Until the final rules come out, Little said many of his climates are left wondering whether their businesses will take a hit when the enforcement of these regulations begins in 2025.

“They would like to have some consistency and know what they are expecting to comply with,” Little said.

Tennessee hemp growers unable to grow the most popular cannabis flower in the state

Little added if the finalized regulations are the same as the ones in place now, “We tend to think the impacts will be negative, so we intend to go to the courts to stop them.”

He said he has spoken to the department about their intent to sue if it becomes illegal to sell THC-A flower.

“We have told them time and time again, half the revenue in this industry comes from products containing THC-A. I certainly don’t think the legislature intended to cut the industry in half,” he said. “We think the Department of Agriculture has overstepped its authority.”

The Department of Agriculture said they won’t comment on a hypothetical lawsuit.



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