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Is Delta-8 THC Legal and Is It Being Banned?

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Is Delta-8 THC legal and are states banning it? Move over CBD and THC. Delta-8 THC is a rising star in the cannabis industry. This mildly intoxicating cannabinoid’s popularity is skyrocketing.

While this hot cannabinoid is all the rage, its dubious legal status has prompted many lawmakers to restrict its sale. For unaware consumers, delta-8’s psychoactivity could catch them off guard. Here is what you need to know about the delta-8 controversy.

What Is Delta-8 THC?

You’ve heard of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That’s the cannabinoid that produces cannabis’ signature “high” known for its intoxicating and euphoric effects. Cannabis is made up of more than 100 different cannabinoids.

Delta-8 THC is the latest cannabinoid to get the spotlight.

As an analog of THC, delta-8 has several therapeutic benefits:

  • Neuroprotective
  • Stimulates appetite
  • Reduces nausea
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Reduces pain

Similar to THC, delta-8 produces some intoxicating effects, although it is not as potent as delta-9 THC. In addition, delta-8 is found in very small concentrations in cannabis.

Generally, delta-8 is derived from hemp, a legal subcategory of cannabis that must contain under 0.3% delta-9 THC levels.

Because it is found in such low amounts in cannabis, manufacturers must process the cannabinoids with higher concentration (CBD or THC) to chemically convert them to delta-8 THC.

Under the 2018 Farm Bill, delta-8 is not specifically regulated. Industrial hemp production is legal, but this new psychotropic cannabinoid derived from hemp has some lawmakers, federal agencies, and consumers worried.

Where Is Delta-8 THC Legal and Where is it Being Banned?

The delta-8 THC market may have seen its glory days come and gone. As its popularity has exceeded expectations, this new market has caught the crosshairs of skeptical lawmakers, industry associations, federal agencies, and consumers.

As of late April 2021, delta-8 has been banned in 12 states (and counting):

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Kentucky
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah

Other states such as North Dakota, Oregon, and Alabama are set to be next on the list of states that restrict delta-8 THC sales. An Oklahoma bill is proposing to include delta-8 THC and delta-10 THC in the legal definition of cannabis.

The U.S. Hemp Authority, a nationally-recognized hemp product certification organization, announced in a March 2021 news release that they will not certify delta-8 products.

All of the controversy over hemp-derived delta-8 stems from its mild psychotropic effects and unregulated market.

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When hemp was legalized in 2018, lawmakers and consumers believed that hemp’s derivative products would not produce a high. Now, hemp-derived delta-8 THC offers a loophole for consumers to get legally high from hemp.

In states where THC is not legal, processors and consumers use the Farm Bill’s loophole to their advantage. Ordering hemp-derived delta-8 products is currently unregulated and quasi-legal until legislative action pumps the brakes on this runaway market.

How Is Delta-8 THC Made?

In the hemp industry, CBD products have flooded the market. In some cases, hemp growers and processors are left with an excess of hemp material.

Since delta-8 is found in very small amounts of cannabis, it does not make sense to extract it directly. In order to diversify their product lines, manufacturers have been converting CBD (and delta-9 THC) to delta-8 through a chemical conversion process.

In the hemp world, delta-8 is made in a variety of ways, but here is the general process:

  1. CBD isolate is extracted from hemp flower, processed, and converted into a distillate.
  2. A solvent, usually nonpolar organic, is used to dissolve the CBD isolate.
  3. An acid reagent is added to cause a chemical reaction that can take up to 18 hours.
  4. The converted extract is neutralized with an alkaline material through a washing and drying process.
  5. Any converted delta-9 THC is removed using chromatography technology.
  6. Delta-8 is tested to confirm its potency and purity.

How to Sell Delta-8 THC

Delta-8 THC’s rising popularity is hard to gauge due to its sudden meteoric rise. However, New Frontier Data revealed that delta-8 sales reached at least $10 million in 2020.

With such high stakes for legal consequences, processors and retailers are expected to follow best practices throughout the supply chain to avoid criminal charges when federal agencies start to punish delta-8 manufacturers.

As a cannabis company, navigating the challenges of the unregulated delta-8 THC market can be difficult without guidance. Follow these standard practices to maintain quality of product and customer trust.

  • Avoid dubious marketing: Do not make delta-8’s psychotropic effects the selling point.
  • Promote safe serving sizes: Since studies on delta-8 are lacking, err on the side of caution and limit the cannabinoid’s concentration to safe levels.
  • Remain state compliant: Audit your manufacturing process, ingredients, and labeling practices to avoid extra scrutiny.
  • Listen to consumers: Be as transparent as you can with your customers and have an open line of communication where they can come to you with complaints or concerns.
  • Vet your supply chain: Ensure that every part of your supply chain is complying with legal guidelines and current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations.
  • Only sell to adults: Online retailers should include age gates on their e-commerce pages to limit the sale of delta-8 to adults over the age of 21.

How to Buy Delta-8 THC

Whether you are looking for a new intoxicating experience or want to test the relieving effects of delta-8 THC, there are a couple of ways you can avoid having a bad experience. Follow these tips to ensure you are consuming delta-8 THC of the highest quality and purity:

  • Look for third-party lab testing: If you are buying online, buy from companies that include a Certificate of Analysis (COA) provided by an independent commercial testing lab. A COA ensures your product is free of solvents, pesticides, and heavy metals.
  • Buy from licensed retailers: If you live in a legal cannabis state, only shop from licensed cannabis stores. Licensed retailers are required to test for contaminants and potency. Unregulated suppliers do not test their products.

Stay Educated with Cannabis Training University

Do you want to stay up-to-date with the latest cannabis industry developments, research, and trends? Are you ready to learn the fundamentals of different cannabinoids and how they interact in the body?

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Election 2022

America hits 21 legalization states after midterm election

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America officially reached 21 legalization states Tuesday night, after a thrilling, surprising midterm election that added Maryland and then Missouri to the green team.

More than 12 million Americans in those states became equal to their countrymen and women in 19 other states where marijuana freedom rings. That’s 6.168 million Missourians and 6.165 million Marylanders out of the disastrous, 85-year-old war on marijuana.

Maryland won early Tuesday night with 65% of the vote. Missouri followed later with a strong 53% of the vote after 89% of precincts reporting. Citizens voted by mail and in person.

Five states had cannabis initiatives on the ballot, and Colorado voted on psychedelics legalization. Here’s the Day 2 breakdown:

Legalization measures failed in Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota, but furthered debate in the deeply red states. Arkansas’ measure in particular drew the ire of cannabis activists for limiting home growing, and other restrictions.

Weedy victories access the land

A slew of good news greeted America’s majority for legalization. Pro-pot Pennsylvania Democrat John Fetterman clinched the win over Dr. Oz for the crucial Senate seat.

Meanwhile, more than two dozen California cities and counties voted on implementing legalization, 4 years after sales began. Americans returned staunchly pro-weed governors Gavin Newsom (California) and J.B. Pritzker (Illinois) to their seats. Five cities in Texas also decriminalized weed.

US House and Senate

The smoke’s still clearing on the battle for the US House and Senate. As of press time, the Senate looked almost tied, while Republicans also seemed set to have a near tie in the House. Republican gains proved far narrower than anticipated. The red wave amounted to a red meh.

What does the 2022 midterm elections mean for weed?

Marijuana freedom took another halting step forward Tuesday, but the path ahead requires grit. A legal Missouri and Maryland, a staunchly pro-cannabis Pennsylvania Senator Fetterman adds fuel to the fire of federal reform.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans a SAFE Banking Plus bill for the lame duck. Republicans had already signed off on SAFE. The idea of more radical bills seem further off.

Reform will accelerate in the states. For example, New York’s recreational store roll-out will be the story of the winter break.

Meanwhile, California leaders aim to trade with other legalization states in the near-term, not long term.

State and local California officials plan to issue more licenses faster, cut red tape and taxes, and crack down on the illicit trade. Tuesday night votes could add 150 new licenses in the coming years, MJBiz Daily estimates.

Newly legal Missouri and Maryland harbor a 12.4M-person population. Those two cannabis markets alone consume about 350 metric tons of weed a year, based on survey data. At full legalization, that weight might equal $770M in crop value for those two states, and retail sales would be quadruple that amount at full legalization—$2.1B. Weed is usually a top 5 cash crop in legal states.

Beyond those states, upcoming legalization measures are expected in Oklahoma, Ohio, Florida, Nebraska, and Wyoming.

Sign up for Leafly Newsletters for the next big legalization update.



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Finally, Cannabis Is Legal in the State of New York

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Finally, cannabis is legal in the state of New York.

It has been a long time coming after many years of failed weed proposals to legalize cannabis in the state. On the last day of March 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill making New York the 15th state in the country to legalize adult-use cannabis.

Just hours after the state’s Senate and Assembly passed the legislation the night before, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) decriminalizes cannabis and allows for the regulation of its sale, production, and use.

Cannabis is Legal in the State of New York But What Is Legal?

In the state of New York, medical and adult-use cannabis will be regulated by the newly-established Office of Cannabis Management (OCM).

The industry is expected to bring in $350 million in annual tax revenue and billions of dollars and sales. It is expected to create between 30,000 to 60,000 jobs. It’s expected to be the largest market for cannabis behind California.

Minimum age requirement: 21

Possession limit: Up to 3 ounces of cannabis or 24 grams of cannabis concentrates; 5 pound limit at home

Home cultivation limit: Up to 6 plants for personal use (up to 3 can be mature); Up to 12 plants per household

Tax rate: 13%

Social Equity

Under the MRTA, 50% of establishment licenses must be issued to social equity applicants.

Social equity applicants include:

  • Applicants who are from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition
  • Women-owned businesses
  • Distressed farmers
  • Service-disabled veterans

For businesses with 25 or more employees, the OCM will give priority to applicants that have set up peace labor agreements or use union labor to build their facility. A two-year review from the OCM will determine if a licensee meets its eligibility requirements.

Criminal Justice and Record Expungement

Currently, low-level possession of cannabis results in thousands of arrests per year, 90% of which are people of color in New York. Now, possession will no longer be criminalized and those criminal records will be erased.

The law will automatically expunge or resentence anyone with a prior cannabis conviction that would be legal under the new law. Individuals with past convictions would be allowed to participate in the new adult-use market.

In addition, the law adds cannabis to the clean indoor air act which determines where cannabis can be smoked or vaped. However, individual jurisdictions can create stricter regulations to control cannabis smoking and vaping in public.

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Social Consumption and Delivery

Social consumption facilities and delivery services will be permitted.

However, cities and towns have the option to opt-out of commercial cannabis activity. Individual jurisdictions must opt-out by December 31, 2021.

Medical Program Expansion

The MRTA directs authority over the state’s medical cannabis program from the Department of Health to the OCM.

In particular, the law does the following:

  • Expands the list of medical conditions eligible for medical marijuana use
  • Increases the number of caregivers allowed per patient
  • Allows medical cannabis patients to cultivate cannabis at home (including outdoors)
  • Expands possession limits of medical cannabis to a 60-day supply, up from the previous 30-day limit
  • Removes restrictions on smoking medical cannabis

Cannabinoid Hemp

The MRTA directs authority over the state’s hemp program from the Department of Agriculture and Markets to the OCM.

The bill allows for the sale of hemp flower (available at adult-use dispensaries).

Tax Revenue

Tax revenue from the state’s adult-use market will be directed to the New York state cannabis revenue fund. The funds will cover reasonable costs to run the program and implement the law. The rest of the funding will be split three ways:

  • 40% to Education
  • 40% to Community Grants Reinvestment Fund
  • 20% to Drug Treatment and Public Education Fund

Traffic Safety

The New York State Department of Health alongside higher education institutions will conduct a study designed to evaluate methodologies and technologies for the detection of cannabis-impaired driving.

The law will direct funding to increase the number of trained and certified drug-recognition experts and provide increased drug recognition awareness and advanced roadside impaired driving enforcement training.

Cannabis is Legal in the State of New York Road Ahead

Why has it taken so long to legalize weed in New York? Ultimately, Governor Cuomo and the state legislature haven’t been able to compromise on the details of the adult-use program.

Even up to the last hours of debate, lawmakers hurriedly implemented changes and compromises. Previous proposals were stalled due to disagreements over how tax revenue should be distributed.

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In the end, Democrat lawmakers fought for a major portion of the revenue to go to communities that have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. Governor Cuomo eventually made concessions that may have been largely influenced by his impeachment investigation.

No matter the reason, weed is legal in New York now. The bill has surprisingly become one of the most progressive bills implemented. From social equity and criminal justice reform to expansion of the medical program, New York’s industry has a promising future.

Stay In-the-Know

If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest industry developments, subscribe to Cannabis Training University’s marijuana industry blog.

For a complete cannabis education on the industry’s most important topics, enroll in one of the online marijuana training courses from CTU.



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Virginia Becomes 16th State to Legalize Cannabis

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It’s official. The state of Virginia has become the 16th state to legalize cannabis. Originally, lawmakers planned to allow adults 21 years of age and over to possess and grow weed starting January 1, 2024. However, Democratic Governor Ralph Northam proposed moving up the legalization timeline to allow adults to possess and grow cannabis starting on July 1, 2021.

What Is and Is Not Legal?

This new bill makes Virginia the first state in the South to legalize the simple possession of cannabis. The state’s House of Delegates and Senate approved the governor’s proposal with a razor-thin margin.

Starting on July 1, 2021, the following will be legal for adults aged 21 and older:

Possession Limit: Up to 1 ounce of cannabis

Home cultivation: Up to 4 plants

Gifting: Up to 1 ounce to any adult

Possessing more than the one-ounce limit and less than a pound can earn you a $25 fine. Possessing more than a pound can be charged with a felony punishable by 1 to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000.

In terms of home cultivation, each plant must be tagged with the growers name, driver’s license or state identification number, and a note that says it’s being grown for personal use. Plants must also be not visible from a public street or be accessible to minors.

Growing between 5 and 10 plants can earn you a $250 fine. Growing more than 50 plants is punishable with a felony charge.

Retail sales would still have to wait until regulations go into effect on January 1, 2024.

Virginia lawmakers must still meet during their general session in 2022 to re-approve the regulatory framework of the bill.

Close Call

Governor Northam has been a strong proponent of reforming the Virginia cannabis law. In February 2021, lawmakers sent amendments to his desk to legalize recreational cannabis. Late in March, the governor submitted his revisions the both chambers:

The House and Senate passed these amendments by the following majorities:

  • House: 53-44
  • Senate: 21-20

In the Senate, Democratic Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax broke the tie.

After the initial votes, both chambers passed each other’s proposals to effectively move up the legalization date and pass other amendments without any further approval from the governor.

Democratic House of Delegates Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn said of the decision: “Today, with the Governor’s amendments, we will have made tremendous progress in ending the targeting of Black and brown Virginians through selective enforcement of marijuana prohibition by this summer”

Social Equity

A major part of the push for the bill by the governor was his insistence on repairing the damage caused by the war on drugs. One study found that Black Virginians were 3.5 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis crimes compared with white people. It also found that they were more likely to be convicted at a rate of 3.9 times higher than white people.

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Even after the state lowered penalties for possession to a $25 fine, a disproportionate amount of Black people were still being charged.

The new law allows for the automatic sealing of past misdemeanor cannabis convictions. It also creates a petition-based process that allows individuals with more serious cannabis convictions to clear their records.

30% of the revenue from cannabis would be directed to communities most affected by the war on drugs to the Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Fund. Funds would go to scholarships, job placement services, workforce development, and low- or no-interest loans for those wanting to start a cannabis business.

The bill would also give preference in licensing to those affected by the war on drugs. Virginians who have been convicted of a cannabis-related charge or who have a family member who has been convicted, or live in an area that is disproportionately affected by the war on drugs would get preferential treatment for licensing for any license type.

Public Health Education and Enforcement

The governor’s substitute bills will direct funding to public health education and law enforcement services including:

  • Public Health Education: $1 million to educate the youth about the health risks of cannabis.
  • Law Enforcement: $1 million to increase and improve training law enforcement to “recognize and prevent drugged driving.”

Employee Rights

In a win for employee rights, an amendment passed would give regulators authority to revoke a business license if an establishment interferes with attempts to organize a union.

In addition, license revocation could happen if a company “fails to pay a prevailing wage as defined by the United States Department of Labor” or have more than 10% of employees listed as independent contractors.

Fighting for More Reform

Racial justice advocates have been at the forefront fighting for speedy and efficient legalization from the start. The ACLU of Virginia and Marijuana Justice were extremely vocal against the legislature’s decision to delay legislation until 2024.

Advocates celebrated the recent victory but were still left wanting more. Virginia NORML Executive Director Jenn Michelle Pedini stated:

“In the interest of public and consumer safety, Virginians 21 and older should be able to purchase retail cannabis products at the already operational dispensaries in 2021, not in 2024. Such a delay will only exacerbate the divide for equity applicants and embolden illicit activity.”

Members of the Cannabis Equity Coalition of Virginia argued for at least 70% of tax revenues to be directed to the reinvestment fund.

Public Favors Legalization

These recent changes in the law accurately reflect current public support for legalization. A recent February 2021 poll from the Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center for Civic Leadership found that two-thirds (68%) of Virginian adults supported recreational legalization. Only a slight majority (51%) of Republican-registered voters supports this.

Northam Approves Additional Reforms

In addition to the recent legislation, Governor Northam had recently approved several amendments to strengthen reform efforts and protect cannabis patients.

There are over 300,000 jobs in the cannabis industry. CTU trained me for one of them!

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Early in March, Governor Northam approved legislation that would allow retailers to dispense botanical medical cannabis. Previously, license cultivators were required to process cannabis into oils and tinctures. Now, medical cannabis patients will be able to purchase products made of cannabis oil or botanical cannabis as early as September 2021.

In addition, the amendments would make telehealth improvements passed after COVID-19 permanent, and give patients in residential facilities increased access to medical cannabis.

In late March, the governor signed House Bill 1862 which gives employment protections for medical cannabis patients. It would prohibit employers from firing, disciplining, or discriminating against employees who use medical cannabis off the clock.

All of these measures take effect July 1, 2021.

Online Cannabis Education

Stay up-to-date with the latest cannabis industry developments by subscribing to the Cannabis Training University marijuana industry blog. For a comprehensive cannabis education, enroll in online marijuana training.



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