Some calling for more regulation of Delta-8 THC products in Illinois

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An array of products advertised as containing synthetically derived delta-8 THC is offered for sale at a smoke shop in north Seattle on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. AP Photo courtesy of The Center Square/Gene Johnson

As the popularity of Delta-8 cannabis products grows, some are calling for more oversight in Illinois. 

Delta-8 THC is legal in Illinois and 21 other states, but unlike marijuana, which is regulated, taxed and can only be sold in licensed dispensaries, Delta-8 can be sold in convenience stores and online. 

While cannabis is still illegal on the federal level, when the $867 billion Farm Bill passed, it made hemp production legal nationally.  

Products made from Delta-8 deliver a milder marijuana-like high than Delta-9, prompting the moniker “marijuana light.”

Aaron Smith, CEO of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said Delta-8 hemp products should face the same regulations as regular cannabis.

“Our position isn’t that it should be prohibited by any means, but it should go through the same regulatory process so only licensed facilities can sell this to adults,” Smith said. 

Only a handful of states (Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland and Wyoming) have passed laws preventing youth from buying Delta-8 THC. 

Legislation has been discussed in Illinois that would limit sales of Delta-8 to those age 21 and over, create testing and labeling requirements and impose new taxes on hemp products. Although there has been talk of regulating Delta-8 in Illinois, only three states – California, Tennessee and Connecticut – have substantial regulations in place.  

Some Illinois communities have drawn up their own regulations when it comes to hemp products. The Antioch Village Board voted in favor of not allowing liquor and tobacco license holders to sell products containing Delta-8 THC.

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