CHATHAM COUNTY, N.C. — Pending legislation in the N.C. House would create a standard set of rules for companies that produce and sell hemp-related products.

One North Carolina grower, Samuel Brownfield of Rocky River Hemp, says the proposed rules are not necessary. He says the regulations will damage the industry in the state and would be a deterrent for people who need medical marijuana.

“We already don’t have huge margins, right? We try to make it priced so that people can buy it, because if they can’t buy it, they can’t use it. And if they can’t use it, they’re not helped, you know, resort to a cheaper, worse option,” Brownfield said.

What You Need To Know

A bill in the State House would create new regulations around hemp-derived products in the state
A Chatham County business owners is concerned about the impact on local producers and sellers
The bill’s sponsor says it’s meant to create a standard set of guidelines that everyone will have to follow
The bill has not had full floor votes yet

Brownfield’s family started Rocky River Hemp in 2018. They produce a variety of hemp-derived products, and his goal is to offer an alternative to other pills people might need to get through their days or nights.

“Helping people get through their days without having to resort to something else is really good, and then also just changing the stigma around cannabis,” Brownfield said.

Brownfield said it’s been challenging at times, seeing how the industry is changing in the state.

“It’s definitely been a little bit tough with the roller coaster that the state government has kind of put us through. It seems like almost every year there’s some sort of sky is falling scenario where we may or may not get to stay in business,” he said. “It’s tough to plan strategically as a business when you don’t know what the regulations are going to be.”

The potential regulations he’s watching now come from a State House bill, which would create a standard set of rules for companies that produce and sell hemp-related products.

The bill includes licensing and related fees, new penalties, testing and transparency requirements, and puts those products under the supervision of ALE.

Brownfield says they are already doing many of the things the bill would require. They don’t sell to anyone under 21; they don’t advertise in a way that would entice underage buyers, and they get their products tested.

He worries it’s going to damage local, small businesses like his, leaving the door open for out-of-state companies to come in.

“We do this for the love and we do this to help, but we also have to put food on our tables. So it doesn’t make sense to me to push local systems and then penalize us for doing that,” Brownfield said.

One sponsor of the legislation, Rep. Jeffrey McNeely of Iredell County, said the bill is meant to provide that standard set of regulations, because not everyone is currently operating that way.

He said that they took into account smaller producers, and if a company makes less than $100,000 in a year, their original licensing fee is smaller.

He believes the opposite is true, and that a standard licensing system will deter out-of-state producers and sellers from coming in, and that this will help people shop local.

The bill currently is waiting to be heard in the House Rules Committee, and hasn’t been voted on in either chamber.

 Samuel Brownfield started his business in 2018.  Read More