states crackdown on intoxicating hemp
states crackdown on intoxicating hemp

No More Getting High on Hemp in America? - Multiple States Begin Intoxicating Hemp Crackdown

Delta-8 and Delta-9 products made from hemp are facing a backlash of scrutiny now in many states.

Posted by:
Joseph Billions on Sunday Jul 7, 2024

crackdown on hemp by the states

The burgeoning market for hemp-derived products, particularly those that contain intoxicating compounds like Delta-8 THC, has been met with increasing scrutiny and regulation across various states in the U.S. This shift comes in response to growing concerns over public health, safety, and the integrity of hemp legislation initially aimed at promoting non-intoxicating uses of the plant. In some cases, over 90% of tested hemp products contain well over the 0.3% THC threshold to be considered hemp and not intoxicating cannabis.

An earlier article by called, "America is Getting High on Hemp" pointed out the subtle differences between natural marijuana and lab-produced Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC.

As more states implement stringent regulations, the landscape of the hemp industry is poised for significant changes. This article delves into the reasons behind the regulatory crackdown, the implications for the industry, and the potential future of hemp-derived products.


The Rise of Intoxicating Hemp Products

Hemp, a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant, was legalized federally in the United States under the 2018 Farm Bill, provided it contains no more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC, the psychoactive compound commonly associated with marijuana. This legislation was primarily aimed at promoting the agricultural and industrial use of hemp, including the production of non-intoxicating cannabinoids such as CBD (cannabidiol).


However, the market soon saw the emergence of products containing Delta-8 THC, a cannabinoid that occurs naturally in small amounts in hemp but can be synthesized from CBD through a chemical process. Delta-8 THC produces psychoactive effects similar to, but generally milder than, Delta-9 THC. The popularity of Delta-8 THC products has surged, driven by their legality under the broad language of the 2018 Farm Bill and consumer interest in an alternative to traditional marijuana.


 Regulatory Concerns and Crackdowns

Despite their popularity, Delta-8 THC and other intoxicating hemp products have raised significant concerns among lawmakers, health officials, and industry stakeholders. These concerns include:


  • Public Health and Safety: There is limited research on the safety and long-term effects of Delta-8 THC. Reports of adverse reactions, including hallucinations, vomiting, and loss of consciousness, have prompted calls for regulation. Additionally, the unregulated production processes raise the risk of contamination with harmful chemicals.


  • Youth Access: The marketing and packaging of Delta-8 THC products, often mimicking candy and other snacks, have led to fears about their appeal to children and teenagers. Without strict regulations, these products can easily end up in the hands of minors.


  • Legal Ambiguities**: The current federal stance on Delta-8 THC is ambiguous, with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) stating that all synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols remain Schedule I controlled substances. This has created a gray area that states are now moving to address.


Consumer Confusion: The similarity in names and effects between Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC can confuse consumers, leading to unintentional intoxication and impaired driving, among other issues.


State-by-State Regulatory Responses

In light of these concerns, several states have initiated regulatory measures to control the sale and distribution of intoxicating hemp products. Here is an overview of the actions taken by some states:


  • New York: New York has banned the sale of Delta-8 THC products, citing health concerns and the potential for abuse. The state’s new cannabis regulations do not allow Delta-8 THC under the definition of hemp-derived products.


Colorado: Colorado, a state with a well-established marijuana market, has also prohibited Delta-8 THC, aligning its hemp regulations with the stricter standards applied to marijuana products.

  • Oregon: The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) has imposed strict testing and labeling requirements for all hemp products, including those containing Delta-8 THC. These measures are aimed at ensuring consumer safety and preventing youth access.

  • Kentucky: In Kentucky, where hemp farming is significant, the state agriculture department has issued warnings about the legality of Delta-8 THC and is considering further regulatory actions.

  • Texas: Texas has seen legal battles over the status of Delta-8 THC, with temporary bans and subsequent legal challenges reflecting the contentious nature of its regulation. The state is in the process of clarifying its stance through legislative means.

  • Florida - Gov. Desantis vetoed a bill limiting intoxicating hemp in a strategic move to cause problems in the upcoming recreational marijuana amendment vote in November.  A bizzarre tactic for sure and one that may backfire on his anti-pot policy in Florida.

 Implications for the Hemp Industry


The regulatory crackdown on intoxicating hemp products has several significant implications for the hemp industry:

  • Market Adjustments: Producers and retailers of Delta-8 THC and similar products face the prospect of losing substantial revenue streams as states impose bans and restrictions. This could lead to a shift in focus towards non-intoxicating cannabinoids like CBD and CBG (cannabigerol).

  • Compliance Costs: Meeting new regulatory requirements, such as enhanced testing and labeling standards, will increase operational costs for businesses. This could disadvantage smaller companies that lack the resources to adapt quickly.

  • Legal Challenges: The evolving regulatory landscape is likely to result in continued legal challenges as businesses and advocacy groups push back against state bans and seek clarity on federal regulations.

  • Consumer Access: Consumers who rely on Delta-8 THC for its perceived benefits, such as pain relief and anxiety reduction, may find it harder to obtain these products. This could drive demand for alternative cannabinoids or result in a resurgence of the illicit market.

  • Innovation and Research: The scrutiny of Delta-8 THC highlights the need for more comprehensive research into the safety and efficacy of all cannabinoids. This could spur innovation in the industry, leading to the development of new, safer products that meet regulatory standards.

The Future of Hemp-Derived Products

As the regulatory landscape continues to evolve, the future of hemp-derived products remains uncertain but filled with potential. Key factors that will shape this future include:

  • Federal Legislation: Clarification from federal agencies, including the DEA and FDA, on the status of Delta-8 THC and other cannabinoids will be crucial. Clear guidelines and consistent enforcement can help stabilize the market and protect consumers.

  • State Regulations: States will continue to play a critical role in regulating hemp products. Collaboration between state and federal authorities, as well as input from industry stakeholders, will be essential in developing balanced regulations that safeguard public health while supporting economic growth.

  • Consumer Education: Educating consumers about the differences between cannabinoids and the importance of purchasing from reputable sources will help reduce confusion and ensure safe consumption practices.

  • Innovation: The challenges posed by regulation can also drive innovation. Companies that invest in research and development to create novel, compliant products will likely thrive in the long term.

  • Advocacy and Collaboration: Ongoing dialogue between industry representatives, lawmakers, and advocacy groups will be vital in shaping fair and effective regulations. Transparent communication and collaboration can help address concerns and promote the benefits of hemp-derived products.


The regulatory crackdown on intoxicating hemp products across multiple states underscores the complex interplay between innovation, consumer demand, and public safety. As states move to impose stricter controls on products like Delta-8 THC, the hemp industry must navigate a challenging landscape marked by legal ambiguities and evolving standards. While these regulations aim to protect public health and prevent misuse, they also present significant challenges and opportunities for industry stakeholders. The future of hemp-derived products will depend on clear regulatory guidance, ongoing research, and the industry's ability to adapt and innovate in response to changing conditions. By prioritizing safety and compliance, the hemp industry can continue to grow and offer valuable products that meet consumer needs in a regulated and responsible manner.





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