On Wednesday, an official from the Vermont Department of Public Safety said that the new laws being proposed and the possibility of them hurting hemp farmers are “unfounded.” Lindsay Wells is the department’s director for a program advocating and allowing medicinal marijuana, but she said that the rules would only have an impact on the four medical marijuana dispensaries that are in the state. The rules alter several ways that marijuana is regulated in Vermont; here are some of the key changes: “Terminally ill people would be exempt from the requirement that they be patients of the prescribing doctor for at least six months, and dispensaries would be allowed to deliver medical marijuana to patients.”

Most of the focus on Thursday’s hearing of the Administrative Rules Committee was on the relationship between marijuana and hemp. Hemp and marijuana both come from cannabis, and the founder and CEO of the Vermont Hemp Company, Joel Bedard, says that these rules may be interfering with his business.

But most of the attention during Thursday’s hearing of the Legislature’s Administrative Rules Committee was focuses on the relationship between marijuana and its botanical sibling: hemp. Both hemp and marijuana are derived from the cannabis plant, and Joel Bedard, founder and CEO of the Vermont Hemp Company, said the rules could be interpreted as restricting his business.Hemp is legally defined as containing less than 0.3 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol, marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient. It has been used historically in a range of foods, fuels, and fiber.

“Industrial hemp … under the confines of the medical marijuana dispensary system,” which he likened to “corn being regulated due to the possibility of it being used to make whiskey,” Bedard said.


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