RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A federal judge has ruled Virginia’s new law restricting the sale of popular hemp products can remain in effect. 

Virginia’s new law, which was passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Glenn Youngkin earlier this year, took effect on July 1. The law requires all hemp products for sale in Virginia to have less than 0.3% concentration of THC, unless the products meet other criteria. 

The ruling, from Judge Leonie Brinkema of the Eastern District of Virginia, rejected a request filed by two Virginia business owners and a resident which would have prevented the state from enforcing the law until their lawsuit challenging its legality could go to trial. 

The lawsuit alleges that Virginia’s law is illegal because it’s more restrictive than a 2018 federal law, which restricts Delta-9 THC at 0.3% but doesn’t address other forms of THC, including Delta-8. 

Judge Brinkema disagreed, citing part of the federal bill which says, “Nothing in this subsection preempts or limits any law of a state or Indian tribe that regulates the production of hemp; and is more stringent than this subchapter.”

The judge also disagreed that the law violated interstate commerce laws, because Virginia “shields hemp producers and their agents who transport federally compliant hemp products through Virginia from criminal liability.”

The judge also noted it was in the public’s interest to allow Virginia to enforce the law because hemp is a “credible threat to the Virginia population.”