U.S. Hemp Authority Says No Delta 8 THC Allowed
This announcement puts Delta 8 THC right in the Hemp Authority’s crosshairs. Delta 8 THC has become a hot button issue for any in the Cannabis space for the last 6 months.
But, with the recent announcement from the U.S. Hemp Authority regarding intoxicating products, we felt it necessary to revisit this controversial topic.
Today we’ll take a detailed look at why the U.S. Hemp Authority would not allow Delta 8 THC into their certification program, how Delta 8 THC became legal in the first place, and what the future holds for Delta 8.
How Delta 8 THC Became Legal
When the 2018 Farm Bill became law in December of 2018, the Hemp industry became poised for an economic boom. Congress officially legalized Hemp and Hemp Derivatives, removing the DEA from the purview of Hemp, and opening the doors for farmers, businesses, and consumers alike to benefit from Hemp.
According to the FDA, the language in the Farm Bill that legalized Hemp & CBD reads as follows; “Cannabis (Cannabis Sativa L.) and derivatives of cannabis with extremely low concentrations of the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis), from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)”
The important language in this law is “derivatives of cannabis with extremely low concentrations of… delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol”.
The law was intentionally written this way to include newly found cannabinoids like CBN or CBG to also have a pathway for legal purchase. The thinking was both of these Cannabinoids, much CBD, are non-psychoactive, so Congress was okay with increasing access for consumers to these types of products.
But, one unintended consequence that has resulted from this law has been Delta 8 THC. This product has become legal though what many define as a “loophole”.
Because the law states all derivatives from Hemp, minus Delta 9 THC, are now legal, many companies have isolated an isomer of Hemp that is slightly different from Delta 9 when examined under a microscope.
But, when you consume these products, the effects are nearly identical.
Hence why the New York Times recently called Delta 8 THC “Weed Light”.
So, many companies have now decided that Delta 8 THC is the first legal version of THC in our country in almost 100 years.
However, this sentiment is not felt by everyone. Especially those who work in the DEA, FDA, and some state legislators. Hence, the need for the U.S. Hemp Authority to make a statement regarding these products.
Why The U.S. Hemp Authority Won’t Allow Hemp Products Marketed For Their Intoxication
According to the President of the U.S. Hemp Authority Marielle Weintraub, “We felt it was necessary to take a strong stance against these products so that people will know that the U.S. Hemp Authority seal designates products that are truly Hemp and meet our rigorous standards.”
Coming straight from the head of the organization, those are pretty strong & poignant words in my opinion. The U.S. Hemp Authority has clearly taken a stance that Hemp & CBD are distinctly different from Marijuana & THC.
This distinction is so critical for several reasons. First off, when Hemp was first introduced to the country in 2014, one of the big fears among Anti-Cannabis Advocates was that Hemp was the “gateway” to legalize all forms of Cannabis.
These fears were mostly based from a lack of knowledge on what Hemp is and why it isn’t the same as Marijuana. But, nevertheless, the fear was there.
That’s why when the Farm Bill passed, the language distinctly kept Delta-9 THC illegal. It was clear that congress’ intent with the passing of the Farm Bill was to make non-intoxicating products like CBD legal, while keeping the psychoactive ones illegal.
While we may disagree with their intent, it’s clear to us that’s what they wanted to do.
So, some legal experts can claim that Delta 8 THC being a “legal” product is going exactly against the spirit of the law in regards to the 2018 Farm Bill.
Lawyers for companies that sell Delta 8 THC currently may argue otherwise, but it’s pretty obvious to us that this product is a loophole in the law that was never intended to take place.
And, with loopholes, comes bad actors & unintended consequences. Like we covered before, one bad consequence that’s already happened was someone who went to a CBD store expecting CBD gummies, but got an entirely different product.
When Delta 8 THC masquerades under the disguise of “Hemp”, it misleads consumers into thinking the product is non-psychoactive & non-intoxicating.
For this very reason, the U.S. Hemp Authority has taken a strong stance that when you market products as “Hemp”, they should not give a person a buzz. Because, by legal definition, Hemp should not contain any of the components in Cannabis that give people a buzz.
What The Future of Delta 8 THC Looks Like
So far, 12 states have explicitly outlawed Delta 8 THC. Those states include;
- Rhode Island
What’s interesting about this list of states is that some of them currently allow consumer sale of Delta 9 THC, aka Marijuana. So these states have set up frameworks & regulations for the retail sale of Marijuana, but have decided that Delta 8 THC does not fall under this category.
Whether that’s a right or wrong decision, I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
Regardless of those 12 states, other groups & regulatory bodies have become aware of Delta 8 THC & it’s questionable legality. Recently the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, a sister organization of the U.S. Hemp Authority, announced their disapproval of marketing Hemp products as intoxicating as well.
With the Roundtable’s announcement, the Hemp Authority banning Delta 8, & the dozen of states that have already made Delta 8 THC illegal to be sold, the legality of Delta 8 is definitely up in the air.
Some legal experts have suggested changing the laws to read “all extracts from Hemp, except Tetrahydrocannabinol, are now legal”. Rather than specific to just Delta 9, the law could make all extracts that are classified as THC illegal.
While this solution is not in effect now, we’d argue it’s a good plan to continue to separate Hemp from Marijuana.
CBD, surprisingly, is still confused with Marijuana on a daily basis. The emergence of Delta 8 does not help the case for CBD to become fully legalized in all 50 states, and to keep the eyes of the DEA out of our industry.
Is Banning Delta 8 THC From The U.S. Hemp Authority Certification A Good Idea?
In this ever changing world that is Hemp, it’s important for our industry to stay ahead of the curve, especially considering the lack of regulatory oversight in the marketplace currently.
This step by the U.S. Hemp Authority just further proves the point they are the leader on all things regulating Hemp.
Some proponents of Delta 8 THC may disapprove of the Hemp Authority’s decision because Delta 8 still comes from Hemp. And, quite frankly, it’s created a lot of short-term profits for these newcomers to the industry.
However, we would argue this type of “green rush” into our industry invites too many unsavory bad actors looking to make a quick buck.
In the current landscape of CBD, we still can’t get the FDA to create a regulatory framework for our products. While H.R. 841 could change that, that bill is not law, and you can never guess what will happen in D.C.
Because our industries regulation is still up in the air, we need to air on the side of caution as we navigate the legality of our products.
Delta 8 THC is an intoxicating product. Hemp, by definition, is not. Therefore, it’s a no-brainer for the U.S. Hemp Authority to declare they will not certify these products in our opinion.
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