Lawmakers make a move to regulate Delta 8 products
Delta 8 enthusiasts in the Sunshine state may want to watch out, as Florida lawmakers have made it clear they intend to regulate Delta 8 in their state. A recent piece of legislation, titled HB-679- Cannabis Regulation, would change the rules related to the regulation and use of Delta 8. While it looks unlikely Florida will outlaw Delta 8 THC entirely, the bill still has some cannabis purveyors worried.
One issue some cannabis store owners have is that the bill doesn’t define what products will fall under this definition. They say many of their hemp products do not have intoxicating effects but will still be prohibited for those under 21 by HB-679.
Some business owners, like Adam Wick of the Healthy Hemp Outlet Store, say that the clientele for Delta 8 aren’t criminals. “These are adults that just need help getting to sleep or have aches and pains.”
Wick is worried that he may not be able to sell Delta 8 legally in the future, and that may harm his business. In addition, rising rent prices in downtown St. Petersburg, where his store is located, have made him consider looking elsewhere to set up shop.
“I hope that when the legislators look at this, they look at what’s happened already in history,” Wick explains, “We’ve got almost a year of selling Delta 8, and I don’t see any cause for alarm.” Wick says he doesn’t want young teenagers to use Delta 8, but he doesn’t want it to be banned. Much of his business comes from Delta 8 customers over the age of 21, and if the state were to outlaw Delta 8 it could severely damage his bottom line.
Legislators insist that the bill is entirely to protect younger residents from accessing intoxicating products. “One of the provisions of the bill is a mandate not to sell to anyone under 21 years of age,” said Fort Myers House Republican Spencer Roach at a Capitol Press Conference. “The end goal is to keep the product out of minors.”
While Delta 8 should not be consumed by minors, patients and store owners alike are protesting further regulation, worried it may remove their access to Delta 8 entirely. This fear stems from the fact that Delta 8 faces prohibition in many parts of the country, even though it is legal on a federal level.
Delta 8’s legal status
Delta 8, which gets its legality from the 2018 Farm Bill, is a hemp product. The farm bill legalized hemp, and any products containing less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC are legal for sale and consumption. While hemp and marijuana come from the same plant species, hemp doesn’t contain the psychoactive ingredient associated with traditional cannabis.
Many legislators aren’t entirely sure what Delta 8 is, drawing further criticism concerning new laws being made.
“I have to admit I didn’t know, and most members of Congress at the time didn’t know what Delta 8 was at that point.” Says Jonathan Miller, the general counsel for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable. Miller, who says he has since educated himself on Delta 8 and is more aware of its effects, helped draft the bill.
The bill includes several other provisions related to cannabis, including two-year medical marijuana license cards and eight-month doctor appointments. They will also put restrictions on medical marijuana advertising in online spaces.
So is Delta 8 going to be outlawed?
For now, the worries about HB-679 seem overblown. Most of the legislation tenants have more to do with traditional Delta 9 cannabis, and much of the bill will benefit residents of Florida. For example, the bill will create a telemedicine system designed to help streamline the medical marijuana process. This will make the program cheaper and more convenient, as well as simpler for older patients.
The bill will also end the practice of medical marijuana treatment centers selling their licenses without selling products to make a profit. This reduces Florida patients’ options for their medical marijuana and makes it more challenging to get the medicine they need.
So Delta 8, at least for now, the sunshine state does not plan to outlaw Delta 8. For more intoxicating products, there may be a requirement to be 21 years or older and to get products from a state-certified store. But the cannabinoid is far from being banned, and you can still get products online.