The legal landscape of delta-8 THC is continually evolving as states are re-examining their positions on the cannabinoid. Recently, Arkansas joined the growing list of states that have implemented restrictions on delta-8 THC. A new bill in Arkansas has banned the sale and distribution of Delta-8 THC products, along with other hemp-derived psychoactive cannabinoids. This article will provide a brief overview of Delta-8 THC, the reasons behind the Arkansas ban, and the implications of this new legislation.
What is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC, short for delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant family. It is a close relative of the more well-known delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (D=delta-9 THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Delta-8 THC is less potent than its delta-9 counterpart, producing milder psychoactive effects according to consumers. Some use delta-8 for stress or pain relief, while others enjoy the more calming and relaxing reported “high.”
While delta-8 THC can be found in both marijuana and hemp plants, it is typically present in small quantities, making it a minor cannabinoid. Most delta-8 THC products on the market are produced by chemically converting CBD, a non-psychoactive compound extracted from hemp, into delta-8 THC.
Hemp derived products in the United States containing 0.3% delta-9 THC are considered federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill. Because of this, delta-8 THC is federally legal. But the gray area still remains as more and more states take action on regulations.
The Arkansas Ban on Delta-8 THC
The Arkansas ban on delta-8 THC was enacted on April 11, 2023, when Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed SB358 into law. The new legislation amended the Arkansas Industrial Hemp Act, effectively banning the sale and distribution of delta-8 THC products and other hemp-derived psychoactive cannabinoids.
Under the new law, products containing more than 0.3% delta-9 THC, as well as any concentration of delta-8 THC or other “psychoactive cannabinoids derived from hemp”, are considered controlled substances. This means that delta-8 THC products are now subject to the same restrictions as marijuana under Arkansas state law.
The primary motivation behind the ban appears to be concerns about the safety and regulation of delta-8 THC products in the state. Proponents of the legislation argue that the lack of oversight and the potential for abuse warrant the ban. The law’s supporters also claim that the unregulated nature of the delta-8 THC market has led to a growth of unsafe and untested products.
Implications of the Ban
The ban on delta-8 THC and other hemp-derived psychoactive cannabinoids in Arkansas has several potential implications. One of the most immediate impacts is on consumers, who will no longer have access to delta-8 THC products within the state. As a result, some users may be driven to seek out products from the illicit market, which may not be subject to the same safety and quality standards.
Although the new law is set to be enforced August 1, it may be contested in a court of law. Lawmakers have included a special clause in the new legislation, anticipating the possibility of a legal challenge. If a judge orders the state to stop enforcing the law, then delta-8 THC products would still be permitted under certain conditions but with heavy regulations. In such a scenario, retailers of delta-8 THC products would also be required to obtain a special license costing $5,000.
The ban will undoubtedly affect the hemp industry in Arkansas. The growing popularity of delta-8 THC products has previously provided a valuable source of revenue for hemp farmers and processors. With the new restrictions in place, these businesses may need to pivot to other products or risk losing a significant portion of their income.
Key Takeaways: Arkansas Ban on Delta-8 THC
The recent ban on delta-8 THC products in Arkansas highlights the complex and evolving legal landscape surrounding this cannabinoid in some states. While the new law aims to address concerns about the safety and regulation of delta-8 THC, it also has significant implications for consumers and the hemp industry.
The ban further highlights the importance of high-quality third-party laboratory testing for all cannabinoid-based products, including delta-8 THC. Such testing ensures that consumers have access to safe, accurately labeled products, and it can help to build trust in an industry that is subject to rapidly changing regulations.
For more information on delta-8 THC, its potential effects and the legal status in your state, turn to Real Tested CBD.