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Roanoke hemp businesses fear effects of bill on Gov. Youngkin’s desk

Some local hemp shops are fearing they will have to close their doors after a bill passed in the Virginia legislature.

HB 2294 was passed in this year’s legislative session. The bill would ban businesses from selling products with more than 2 milligrams of THC. If a business were caught selling products with more THC than allowed, the business will face a fine of $10,000 per day.

Mike Hughes owns Positive eFX CBD and Wellness. He is prepared to say goodbye to the business if the governor were to sign this bill.

“100% we’ll close this store if this bill passes,” Hughes said.

Hughes has continuously adapted his shop through the years, starting out as just a vape shop. One of the biggest hurdles his business had to overcome was when the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services banned Delta 8 edibles.

“Last year we went through a stint where we probably lost 30-40% of our revenue from Delta 8 edibles. So this one I really see as the final nail in the coffin,” Hughes said.

Hughes worries more about his employees than himself with this new bill.

“For me personally, I’ll move on … it’ll be fine. You work with people for so long they begin to feel like you’re family. You almost feel like you’re letting them down,” Hughes said.

Derek Wall is the proud owner of The Buffalo Hemp Company with stores in both Floyd and Roanoke. He said many businesses like his are losing a ton of their product with this bill.

“It’ll ban 90 plus percent of the products in my store,” Wall said.

The bills’ sponsors have said the intent is to keep products that can give people a high out of the hands of children.

Hall said he understands the regulation part of the industry. He agrees kids should not be able to get these products so easily. However, he fears this bill would just open up the black market more.

“The pressure needs to be put on the governor’s office to understand the ramifications and like I said, if he passes this bill as is…it will blow the black market up and it will come back on him,” Wall said.

There is also a tremendous economic impact of the bill as some businesses may move to other states. Hall’s business is one of the many that are considering it.

“The other catch to this whole situation is, let’s say my customer base at The Buffalo Hemp Company … where are these folks going to get their products from? Well, they’re just going to go online and get it out of state and shipped right to their doorstep,” Wall said.

Hall and Hughes hope Gov. Youngkin will look closely at the bill and possibly add some sort of amendments that don’t restrict as much product.

Source: WSLS News 10

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