Arizona appears to be on its way to banning the production and sale of products containing Delta 8 THC.
Backed by the Arizona Dispensaries Association, Senate Bill 1715 seeks to make the manufacturing and sales of the hemp-derived compound a felony. The measure, which passed the Arizona Senate on March 15, would ban “hemp-derived manufactured impairing cannabinoids,” including the popular Delta 8 THC.
While some view the banning of hemp-derived Delta 8 as a method to keep consumers safe from an unregulated psychoactive product that children can legally obtain, others see it as a hindrance to competition in the cannabis industry.
“What we’re doing is allowing psychoactive products to be in the hands of children if we allow this synthetic process to move forward,” stated Sam Richard, executive director of the Arizona Dispensaries Association. Richard further added that consumed or ingested product should undergo testing, and that includes regulated cannabis. “Products that come from the Farm Bill are not subject to the same stringent testing requirements as cannabis,” Richard stated.
The 2018 federal Farm Bill legalized the commercial production of hemp. It allows Arizona and other states to grow hemp under the local oversight of its state Department of Agriculture. Federal law dictates that hemp can contain up to 0.3 percent Delta-9 THC.
Similar Bans on Delta 8
The New York Cannabis Control Board (CCB) banned Delta 8 THC products — 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 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 Delta 8.
Banning Products that Create Wellness Opportunities
Banning Delta 8 THC will stop people from consuming it. Delta-8 is an enormously popular cannabinoid that retailers nationwide sell to consumers for its health and wellness benefits. Demand will continue despite state bans. There are nearly 150 known cannabinoids — and it would be ridiculous to propose separate state and federal legislation for more than 140 individual plant compounds.
Delta 8 THC should be legal. State cannabis regulators and hemp industry leaders can propose quality and safety standards to keep this popular cannabinoid on the market.