JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Tennessee lawmakers will hear a bill next week that could make most delta-8 THC products illegal for sale and possession.
HB1927 and SB1904 would ban most delta-8 THC products, according to Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol.)
Lundberg said the bill has his support because of a rise in reported adverse affects to the products.
“We had had hundreds of phone calls in Tennessee to our poison control center, and frankly thousands across the country of people taking delta-8 and having severe and bad reactions,” Lundberg said.
Mountain Roots Hemp Dispensary owner William Casey said the proposed bill would ban delta-8 products containing more than .3 percent THC.
If passed, Casey said it would hurt his growing business because it would eliminate over half of his most popular products.
“It’d be a complete detriment. We’re a small company. We actually just opened up our second location,” Casey said.
Delta-8 is extracted from hemp, which was made legal on the federal level in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Companies like Casey’s take delta-8 and use it vape and edible products, as well as delta-8 flower.
Users report delta-8 a slightly less potent version of the delta-9 cannabinoid, which is found in the marijuana currently outlawed at the federal level and in Tennessee.
Delta-8 is psychoactive, which means it gets users high, however, Lundberg said manufacturers often use more than just delta-8 to make it more potent.
“To actually do anything with it, it’s usually converted with chemicals and other things added to it to boost it,” Lundberg said.
Casey said his customers tell him delta-8 has helped with chronic pain and appetite issues. The store advises customers on how much to take. The store also self-imposes a 21-year-old age limitation.
Another delta-8 bill in the General Assembly would restrict sales to those above 21.
Lundberg said Tennessee would join a host of states, including California and Colorado, in banning delta-8 if the bill passes.
“13 states have already banned delta-8. 11 of those actually have legal marijuana sales,” Lundberg said.
It does get you high – but Lundberg says there’s more to it than just delta-8.
If high-concentration delta-8 becomes illegal, Casey worried it will put more non-violent drug offenders in jail.
“It would basically outlaw this product that tons of people have in their pockets right now that are now going to be under threat of prosecution,” Casey said.
He said a ban would be a major hit to hemp farmers in the state and undo years of work by people in the cannabis industry.
“We’re scared about this avenue that has created a clear path to de-stigmatizing cannabis is about to be jerked out from under us,” Casey said.
Casey also believed the state could lose out on millions in revenue if delta-8 is banned.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear the bill on Tuesday. Then, the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee will hear it the following day.