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New York, Michigan join states moving against delta-8 THC

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New York and Michigan are the two latest U.S. states to move against sales of delta-8 THC made from hemp-derived CBD as growing sentiment against the product sweeps across the USA.

New York officials last week issued new hemp regulations that expressly prohibit delta-8 THC and other THC isomers derived from hemp, while a legislative initiative to ban the substance in Michigan is just getting under way.

In banning delta-8 THC, a form of THC distinguished from the more common delta-9 THC prevalent in marijuana plants, New York’s state health department said products may “not contain synthetic cannabinoids, or cannabinoids created through isomerization, including delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol and delta-10 tetrahydrocannabinol.” Delta-8 is produced by extracting CBD from industrial hemp and then using acetic acid to turn it into THC.

Delta-8 and the DEA

Delta-8 is not explicitly outlawed by the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, but the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has said delta-8 THC from industrial hemp-derived CBD is a controlled substance because it is not a natural extract.

In Michigan, the Regulatory Reform Committee of the Michigan State House of Representatives last week approved measures requiring hemp-derived delta-8 THC be regulated by the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency, sending the measures for a vote before the full body.

A number of U.S. states are reviewing how to handle delta-8 THC, as nearly a dozen have already set outright bans on the compound. Colorado officials recently moved to ban sales of hemp-derived delta-8, notifying the state’s marijuana dispensaries in a letter sent out earlier this month. Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Oregon, Rhode Island and Utah all have moved to block delta-8 THC sales. 

Changes in New York

The changes in New York come on the heels of a new law enacted to regulate hemp operators in the same way the state’s marijuana industry is governed. The state designated a new product category, “cannabinoid hemp,” putting oversight under a new Office of Cannabis Management.

Also under the changes in New York, hemp buds can be sold if they are not advertised for smoking, but the state will continue a ban on pre-rolls and any flower products advertised as smokable. Hemp vapes are allowed but are limited to customers over 21 and carry health warnings.

Michigan reforms

In Michigan, cannabis interests including the Michigan Cannabis Manufacturer’s Association (MCMA), have endorsed the package of reform measures aimed at banning delta-8 THC. Many national stakeholders groups and hemp organizations from other states have said they are also against delta-8 THC.

“Any product considered medicine should adhere to the same health and safety standards as medicines dispensed in pharmacies,” said Stephen Linder, MCMA’s executive director .

Linder testified before the Michigan House earlier this month asking elected officials to vote for the two House Bills, joining other states seeking to regulate the sale of delta-8.

Hemp processors over the past two years started turning out delta-8 THC from hemp for such products as vape liquids, edibles, and high-CBD hemp buds laced with the compound. Delta-8 THC products have also shown up in convenience stores and independent smoke shops across the country.

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