A new bill under consideration in Missouri is sparking significant debate within the cannabis community. State Representative Kurtis Gregory (R) has proposed a bill that would categorize delta-8 THC, a cannabinoid derived from hemp, in the same category as marijuana. 

This proposed legislation, House Bill 1328, could dramatically alter the landscape for delta-8 products in the state of Missouri.

What is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 THC, or delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, is a naturally occurring compound found in both marijuana and hemp plants. It is a less potent psychoactive compound compared to its more well-known cousin, delta-9 THC, which is the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. While delta-8 THC does produce some mild psychoactive effects, it is generally considered to be less intoxicating than delta-9 THC and is made from hemp plants and processed CBD.

The Proposed Bill: HB 1328

House Bill 1328, if passed, would redefine THC-infused hemp products, such as delta-8, as marijuana, making them subject to the same regulations as recreational marijuana in the state. 

This means delta-8 products would be prohibited from being sold in any retail locations other than state-licensed dispensaries. The bill would change the way hemp is defined in Missouri, deviating from the definition used in the 2018 Farm Bill, which federally legalized hemp.

Under the 2018 Farm Bill, products containing less than 0.3% delta-9 THC are considered hemp products and are legal at the federal level. However, HB 1328 would introduce a new definition that would categorize any hemp-derived product containing delta-8 THC as marijuana, regardless of the amount of delta-9 THC present.

Impact on the Delta-8 THC Industry

If HB 1328 is passed, Missouri would join a growing list of states that have restricted or banned delta-8 THC products. The new legislation would have a significant impact on the expanding delta-8 industry, as manufacturers and retailers would be required to comply with the same regulations as those governing the sale of marijuana.

This means that only licensed dispensaries would be allowed to sell delta-8 products, limiting consumer access and potentially stifling the growth of the industry. Supporters of the bill argue that tighter regulations are necessary to ensure consumer safety and prevent the sale of potentially harmful or unregulated products. On the other hand, advocates for delta-8 THC and other cannabinoid-based products are voicing concerns over the shutdown of an industry. 

Opposition to the Bill

Opponents of HB 1328 argue that the proposed legislation is overly restrictive and could harm the hemp industry in Missouri. Some hemp-related business owners have even stated this bill would move to ban and shut down their entire business.  

Many are concerned that reclassifying delta-8 products as marijuana could stifle innovation and economic growth within the hemp sector. Opponents argue that the bill may lead to a reduction in consumer choice and access to a wide range of hemp-derived products.

Hearing on House Bill 1328

A hearing on HB 1328 was held in mid April, providing an opportunity for stakeholders to voice their opinions on the proposed legislation. It remains to be seen whether the bill will gain enough support to pass through the legislative process.

Key Takeaways: Delta 8 THC in Missouri 

The future of delta-8 THC products in Missouri is uncertain as lawmakers consider HB 1328, seeking to categorize these hemp-derived products as marijuana. If passed, this bill would limit the sale of delta-8 products to licensed dispensaries, dramatically altering the landscape for both consumers and industry professionals in Missouri. 

With the debate surrounding HB 1328 ongoing, it remains to be seen what the future holds for delta-8 THC products in Missouri. As the legislative process unfolds, it is important for stakeholders and consumers alike to stay informed and on the right side of legality. 

***This article was last updated on April 23, 2023***

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