House Bill 348 is currently being criticized as an attack on the hemp industry, as it represents yet another example of the Republican party attempting to restrict and enforce more regulations on an already struggling industry.
The hemp industry in Kentucky has been suffering from the negative impacts of previous legislation and regulatory actions by the Department of Agriculture. These harmful regulations have caused almost irreversible damage to Kentucky's hemp farmers, who were once leaders in the fledgling industry. After only a few short years of these bad regulations, the industry has been severely impacted and is now just a shadow of its former self.
Given this situation, farmers, retailers, and processors in the hemp industry deserve better treatment from the state. As a result, many people are strongly opposed to the current bill and view it as an additional burden on an already struggling industry.
These two bills, SB 266 and SB 269, aim to regulate the possession and use of intoxicating hemp products. SB 266 proposes to prohibit individuals under the age of 21 from possessing such products, while SB 269 seeks to prevent driving under the influence of these substances.
The support for age limits on the sale of intoxicating hemp products is based on the concern that young people are more susceptible to the negative effects of these substances, including impaired judgment, cognitive deficits, and addiction. By restricting access to such products, it is hoped that the potential harm to young people can be minimized.
The support for the prohibition of driving under the influence of intoxicating hemp products is based on the fact that these substances can impair driving ability, reaction times, and coordination, increasing the risk of accidents and injury. The recommendation of waiting four hours before operating a motor vehicle after partaking in these substances is in line with the guidelines for alcohol consumption, which similarly recommend waiting before driving.
However, a challenge with regulating the use of intoxicating hemp products is the lack of standardized methods for assessing intoxication. Unlike alcohol, which has established breathalyzer tests to determine blood alcohol content, there is currently no widely accepted method for measuring the level of cannabinoids in a person's system to determine impairment. As a result, there may be concerns about arresting individuals who have cannabinoid metabolites in their system, but who may not be actually intoxicated at the time of the arrest.