In 2019, Travis Lane ventured into Virginia’s hemp industry, seeking an escape from his construction job and a chance to explore horticulture. Initially planning to wholesale hemp crops, he soon transitioned into retailing hemp products due to plummeting prices. When COVID-19 hit in 2020, Lane’s Nova Hemp adapted by establishing its own storefront and offering delta-8 vapes, becoming a major success. However, legal hurdles have emerged.
Virginia passed laws in 2021 allowing possession and home cultivation, creating competition for local hemp businesses. But the most significant blow came in the summer of 2022 when the state banned delta-8 from food products. This decision shook the industry and pushed Lane to fight for its survival.
Lane and Northern Virginia Hemp and Agriculture LLC, in collaboration with Franny’s Operations Inc., challenged Virginia’s SB 903, arguing that the law severely interferes with their ability to produce, sell, and transport products across state lines. A crucial point of contention is THC regulation, as SB 903 restricts various THC types, including delta-8 THC.
While no ruling has been issued regarding a preliminary injunction since the September court hearing, the battle continues. Lane and other industry players are determined to protect their ventures and maintain access to the hemp market.
Despite the uncertainties, Lane remains adaptable. With a reduced product range and a focus on compliance with state regulations, he is determined to navigate the evolving legal landscape while continuing to operate in the hemp industry.
This story reflects the broader challenges faced by the hemp industry in the wake of changing laws and regulations, emphasizing the need for legal clarity and the preservation of opportunities for hemp entrepreneurs.