Arizona appears to be on its way to banning the production and sale of products containing delta-8 THC, a chemical component in the cannabis plant.
Backed by the Arizona Dispensaries Association, Senate Bill 1715 seeks to make the manufacturing and sales of the hemp-derived compound a felony, Phoenix New Times writes. The measure, which passed the Arizona Senate on March 15, would ban “hemp-derived manufactured impairing cannabinoids,” including delta-8.
What Is Delta-8 THC?
A “gentler” version of delta-9 THC, the marijuana plant’s primary component for causing psychoactive effects, delta-8 THC can be chemically converted from hemp-derived CBD by utilizing new industrial methodologies.
Considering that this cannabinoid is new to today’s consumers, many states have decided to take precautionary measures in that the cannabis industry is still in the early learning stages regarding delta-8 THC’s potential therapeutic benefits and side effects.
Why Do Lawmakers Want To Ban It?
The delta-8 compound has a history of being mislabeled by companies that sell it. Some are even worried that as an unregulated psychoactive product, which is making its way into dispensaries, gas stations and head shops, delta-8 might even end up in the hands of children.
“What we’re doing is allowing psychoactive products to be in the hands of children if we allow this synthetic process to move forward,” said Sam Richard, the executive director of the Arizona Dispensaries Association.
Another issue is that products coming from the 2018 federal Farm Bill are not subject to the same testing requirements as cannabis. The bill legalized the commercial production of hemp and allowed Arizona, among other states, to grow it under the supervision of its state Department of Agriculture.
While legislation explicitly articulates that hemp can contain up to 0.3% delta-9 THC, there’s no mention of delta-8 or its limitations.
What About Other States?
Some states have also taken similar steps.
The New York Cannabis Control Board (CCB) made it clear in November that delta-8 THC products cannot be sold, though hemp flower is allowed.
In February, the Kentucky legislature proposed a bill that seeks to ban all forms of “intoxicating products” made from industrial hemp, such as delta-8 THC. The legislation, which expands existing language in the state’s law, is also designed to outlaw other hemp-derived minor cannabinoids like delta-10 THC, THC-O, and THC-P, as per an unofficial copy of the proposal.
Last year, Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) issued a notice that “chemically modifying or converting any naturally occurring cannabinoids from industrial hemp is non-compliant with the statutory definition of ‘industrial hemp product.” This includes any process that converts an industrial hemp cannabinoid, such as CBD isolate, into delta-9, delta-8, delta-10-THC, or other tetrahydrocannabinol isomers or functional analogs.”