States target intoxicating hemp with proposed laws

The proliferation of intoxicating hemp products has state lawmakers trying to impose new restrictions.

While the 2018 Farm Bill was designed to help promote industrial hemp usage, foster the use of CBD products, and boost hemp farmers, the market soon realized there was another opportunity opened by the regulation: intoxicating hemp products.

That realization spawned a huge business, selling an unregulated product in a market with few rules.

Underage kids realized they could buy multiple hemp-derived delta-9 and delta-8 products and get the same effect as buying regulated THC cannabis. Plus, stores have no advertising restrictions and boldly use neon signs, promotional banners, and more to bring attention to the products being sold in store.

While the 2023 Farm Bill could correct this oversight, it isn’t clear if there is an appetite for it. But the proliferation of these products at convenience stores and smoke shops has prompted state lawmakers to act on their own.

Here are a few of the states taking steps to close the loophole for themselves.

Florida

Florida lawmakers recently advanced legislation that would ban the sale of hemp-derived intoxicating products by specifying that certain hemp-derived cannabinoids, such as delta-8 THC, would no longer be covered by the state’s legal definition of “hemp,” according to Law360.

The bills, S.B. 1698 and H.B. 1613, also state that hemp products cannot include toys, animations, or characters that make them attractive to children.

Last week, the State Senate Agriculture Committee said its bill received a positive response. The House bill is scheduled for a hearing on Monday, Jan. 29.

Missouri

Missouri legislation S.B. 984 was introduced this month by Republican Sen. Nicholas Schroer.

The Intoxicating Cannabinoid Control Act would grant the state’s marijuana regulator with the authority to oversee intoxicating hemp products, except for CBD.

Arizona

Arizona lawmakers also took aim at the state’s hemp policy. A Republican introduced S.B. 1401, which would update the list of dangerous drugs to include delta-8 THC and any other cannabinoids that are produced through chemical synthesis or alteration of compounds naturally found in hemp.

It does not include CBD as a dangerous drug.

In addition, two other pieces of proposed legislation, H.B. 2679 and S.B. 1186, were introduced last week and, according to Law360, would amend the state’s definition of industrial hemp to exclude consumable, intoxicating products. Those would be regulated as products that can be be sold only to adults 21 and older.

Debra Borchardt

Debra Borchardt is the Co-Founder, and Executive Editor of GMR. She has covered the cannabis industry for several years at Forbes, Seeking Alpha and TheStreet. Prior to becoming a financial journalist, Debra was a Vice President at Bear Stearns where she held a Series 7 and Registered Investment Advisor license. Debra has a Master's degree in Business Journalism from New York University.


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