Federal Judge’s ‘Watershed’ Ruling Protects Hemp Industry in Arkansas Says Arkanasa Business

A federal judge’s ruling last month that blocks Arkansas from criminalizing certain hemp-derived cannabinoid products, such as delta-8 THC, is being hailed as a landmark decision for the hemp industry.

U.S. District Court Judge Billy Roy Wilson’s order prevents Arkansas from enforcing Act 629, which passed during the 2023 regular legislative session.

“Judge Wilson’s order represents an important watershed moment for the hemp industry,” attorney Abtin Mehdizadegan of the Little Rock office of Hall Booth Smith, who represented the plaintiffs, said via email. “The order only applies to Arkansas; however, we hope and expect that other states with similarly misguided ideas about banning industrial hemp products will take note.”

The plaintiffs who challenged the act as unconstitutional include companies that grow, distribute and sell retail hemp plants and hemp products.

Act 629 narrowed the definition of hemp “to recriminalize the possession, manufacturing, transportation, and shipment of certain popular hemp-derived cannabinoid products,” the plaintiffs said in their lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Little Rock. The plaintiffs said they feared that if the state law wasn’t blocked, it “would lead to thousands of lost jobs around the state and turn farmers, business owners, and consumers — including Plaintiffs — into criminals overnight, despite no change in federal law.”



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