Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill with the primary intent to give the USDA all regulatory authority over the production of hemp. With that came an Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program. The finalized ruling came on January 15, 2021, and had an effective date of March 22, 2021. However, this finalized ruling is being reviewed by the Biden Administration.
Leaders of The House of Representatives have an underlying goal to ensure that Federal regulations concerning hemp are fair, easily understood, and consistent across all agencies. When inconsistencies occur, it is the farmers who suffer. It is believed that there needs to be a stronger collaboration between the USDA, DOJ, other Federal agencies, and hemp industry stakeholders. This would alleviate a lot of the issues that are currently impacting hemp production.
Congress never intended the 2018 Farm Bill to be criminalized at any stage of legal hemp processing. There is now the concern that the hemp grown in compliance with a USDA-approved plan could receive lash back from the DEA. This is the very reason why the Farm Bill’s definition of hemp was broadened from the 2014 Farm Bill’s version. It now includes derivatives, extracts, and cannabinoids. It was always the intention that derivatives, extracts, and cannabinoids be legal as long as they complied with all other federal regulations.
With all of this being said, what is the issue with Delta 8 THC since it is a cannabinoid of hemp? Let’s dig a bit deeper and see what sensible regulations for Delta 8 THC should look like.
Understanding The Fine Line Of Delta 8
Delta 8 is a cannabinoid derived from hemp, which makes it legal according to federal law. However, vendors and farmers now fear that the production in which Delta 8 is extracted could affect its legal future.
In August 2020, the DEA issued an Interim Final ruling that stated, “All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinol remains a Schedule I Controlled Substance. However, the IFR did not define what they met by synthetic. As of right now, the DEA has not provided a finalized ruling.
Because of this, the Department of Justice and USDA issued a press release asking for the DEP to respect the Federal Farm Bill. This has led to confusion from some processors and farmers. Some have even halted their production until the finalized ruling comes through.
Not only has this impacted the economy, but there is also a concern for the lack of uniformity. This comes as a risk for innovation, advancement, and product development in the future. For the moment, hemp is federally legal. All extracts such as CBD are permissible for sale in almost all states across the nation. Delta 8 THC is hemp-derived CBD, which gives states the authority to determine whether to make D8 legal in their state or not.
What The Farm Bill Says
We have already touched on what the 2018 Farm Bill says about hemp, but we will do a short review here. The Farm Bill defines hemp as:
The term “hemp” means the plant Cannabis Sativa L. and any part of the plant including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta 9 THC concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.
Therefore, Delta 8 THC falls under this definition making it federally legal. Hemp and all of its derivatives are under the department of agriculture. Some feel that Delta 8 THC is being used as a Trojan Horse to dip into other industries on the market.
Why The Controversy Over Delta 8?
Delta 8 is a form of tetrahydrocannabinol. It does possess some psychoactive properties but is less potent than Delta 9 THC. Regulations do need to be put in place so that hemp does not become eliminated from the market. However, these regulations need to be sensible and easy for all those involved to understand. Below you will see an outline of regulations we believe should be put in place to help secure the future of hemp-derived products such as Delta 8 THC.
Sensible Regulations For Delta 8 THC
- Must be over the age of 21 with a valid ID. If you are caught selling to a minor you will face criminal punishment.
- All products must come in childproof packaging.
- Proper licensing required: Industrial Hemp License, Cultivator License, Handler License
- Selling without the proper license is a criminal offense/fine.
- Monthly sales report required: Sales report would be required within 14 days of the calendar month’s conclusion. It should state the client’s name, revenue from the sale, and monthly profit.
- If your records are deemed inaccurate by the regulatory force then you would lose your license for 60 days.
- A second offense would be a lifetime ban from the program and any other state-sponsored Cannabis Program Regulated by the Department of Agriculture.
- Shipping should be in accordance with the 2018 Farm Bill
- 5% tax increase on Delta 8 products and any other products that are scientifically as potent or contain psychoactive components. Funding will go towards the regulatory task force or whatever is seen fit.
- Encouragement of additional licenses to sell Delta 8 (MMJ)
- Not to exceed a potency level of 10mg per piece of edible. A total package restriction of 50 mg
- Lab Testing
- Purity levels should be 81% and higher for Delta 8 THC products. This should come from an ISO Certified lab and should be accompanied by a monthly sales report.
- Passing Solvent Test is required for all products from an ISO Certified Lab and should be accompanied by a monthly sales report
The Future Of Delta 8 THC
As of right now, Delta 8 THC is legal in almost all states across the nation. Only 11 states have banned Delta 8 products. These include Utah, Rhode Island, Montana, Mississippi, Iowa, Idaho, Delaware, Colorado, Arkansas, Arizona, and Alaska.
Industry leaders believe that Delta 8 THC is here to stay. However, there is a call for regulations before officials place strict limitations on the compound.
The future is bright but there is a need to responsibly regulate hemp-derived products such as Delta 8 THC. With the right regulations in place, Delta 8 THC can help improve the wellness market as well as keep the products out of the hands of children.