A California cannabis group has called for legislators to close loopholes in federal laws to avert a “public health disaster” caused by widely available delta-8 THC and other potentially intoxicating cannabinoid products it says are illegal and frequently adulterated.
In a recently released white paper, “Pandora’s Box: The Dangers of a National, Unregulated, Hemp-Derived Intoxicating Cannabinoid Market,” the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) said Congress should establish a single federal regulatory framework that oversees both hemp- and cannabis-derived cannabinoid products for human consumption.
Alternatively, “absent a single federally regulated cannabinoid market . . ., the Farm Bill urgently needs to be amended to close the loophole allowing the unregulated sale of concentrated, intoxicating, and/or synthesized cannabinoids,” the paper urges. The next U.S. Farm Bill will be written in 2023 to take effect in 2024.
Lesser known than delta-9 THC most commonly derived from marijuana plants, delta-8 THC naturally occurs in marijuana and hemp but only in trace amounts. Producers, however, have been turning out products with higher concentrations of delta-8 THC by putting hemp-derived CBD through a synthetic process.
Amid the drastically diminished fortunes of the CBD sector, where demand did not reach rosy expectations and oversupply caused prices to plunge by as much as 90% over the past two years, producers have turned to delta-8 THC production. Some analysts have estimated that at least 75% of the current supply of CBD is going into the production of unregulated delta-8 products.
Delta-8 proponents were bolstered by a court ruling last May which held that a strict reading of the 2018 Farm Bill’s definition of hemp “expressly applies to ‘all’ . . . downstream products so long as they do not cross the 0.3 percent threshold for delta-9 THC.” Advocates say that makes the delta-8 compound a legal derivative of legal hemp.
Regulators and even some hemp stakeholders have pushed back against delta-8, suggesting the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp federally, never intended it to be used for products that can be classified as psychoactive, and because delta-8 THC is not derived from the hemp plant in a natural manner.
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