Connecticut House Passes Legislation for Hemp Product Regulation

Connecticut’s House of Representatives has greenlit a bill aimed at regulating ingestible hemp products, emphasizing the necessity of safeguarding the public from potential adverse effects of hemp-derived cannabinoids. House Bill 5150 sailed through the House with an overwhelming 130-16 vote on Tuesday, less than three months after its introduction by the House General Law Committee. Now, the legislation moves forward to the Connecticut Senate for further deliberation.

The surge in hemp agriculture and hemp-based products, following the legalization ushered in by the 2018 Farm Bill, has prompted concerns about the uncontrolled proliferation of hemp-derived cannabinoid products in the market. Representative Mike D’Agostino, a key proponent of the bill, stressed the urgency for regulatory measures to rein in this burgeoning industry.

While acknowledging the inability to prohibit such products outright, Democratic Representative Mike D’Agostino highlighted the importance of stringent regulation, asserting, “We can’t ban them, but we can regulate the hell out of them.”

The proposed legislation encompasses various hemp products, notably THC-infused beverages, with sales restricted to adults aged 21 and above. It also broadens the scope of high-THC hemp products, subjecting them to tighter regulations. Additionally, the bill introduces a new category for THC-infused beverages, imposing stringent manufacturing requirements akin to those for hemp product manufacturers.

Central to the bill is the imposition of a uniform potency limit of one milligram of THC per serving for hemp-derived products. Products exceeding this threshold would be categorized as high-THC products, available exclusively at licensed cannabis retailers or medical marijuana dispensaries.

Moreover, the legislation cracks down on unregulated sales of cannabis and hemp products, deeming them violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. This empowers regulatory bodies to take swift action against unauthorized products, bolstering consumer protection measures.

The bill also empowers towns to take legal action against establishments selling illegal cannabis products, ensuring compliance with regulatory frameworks.

State Representative Dave Rutigliano, while initially opposed to marijuana legalization, expressed support for regulating hemp products to foster a safer marketplace. He emphasized the need to remove intoxicating products from mainstream retail outlets and channel them into regulated, taxed, and controlled environments.

As Connecticut continues to navigate the complexities of cannabis and hemp regulation, the approval of House Bill 5150 marks a significant stride towards establishing comprehensive oversight and ensuring consumer safety in the state’s hemp industry.


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