NORTH CAROLINA (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Local businesses who sell hemp and CBD fear their sales may be nearing an end.
Lawmakers in Raleigh are not making progress in extending an expiring law that allows those businesses to operate legally.
“We’ve seen this coming from miles away, we’ve been fighting it, we’ve been saying it’s coming, we’ve been begging these senators and representatives to support us,” Co-owner of Crown Town Cannabis Sims said.
Standing inside his warehouse in NoDa, Sims is surrounded by thousands of dollars worth of legal cannabis products.
“We have a lot of people that have put real effort, real money, their life on the line for this plant and for this movement, “ Sims said.
Since getting the green light in 2018, Sims has grown his business into four retail stores, a distribution center, and a vision to expand.
When the clock strikes midnight on July 1st, it could all be shut down.
“My phone has been ringing for weeks of people in tears, wondering, ‘what does the future look like?’ from everything from customers to other business owners,” Sims said.
Down the street in South End, the owner of The Hemp Source said she is remaining hopeful that lawmakers will pull through, considering all that is on the line.
“We don’t only just own the dispensary; we actually have a farm. So, we are farmers, we are cultivators, producers. So, it will impact us full circle,” Lesley Pittman Thomas.
The concern is not only for her business, but also for her customers who use hemp not only for recreation, but for chronic pain, stress, and sleep.
“It is not just us, it is the citizens of North Carolina. Your constituents are actually worried about what is going to happen as well,” Thomas said.
If by Friday, hemp once again becomes illegal in North Carolina, Thomas said she will turn her business into a clothing store.
Others said they won’t go out voluntarily.
“There is nothing that is going to stop me. So, they are going to have to come shut me down physically if this doesn’t pass,” Sims said.
According to the state, there are about 1,500 hemp farms in North Carolina.