This Drug Gets You High, and Is Legal (Maybe) Across the Country

Texas has the most restrictive medical marijuana laws in the country, with prescription sales allowed for only certain conditions.

Its chief executive officer Lucas Gilkey has not stopped Hometown Hero CBDBased in Austin, Texas. His company sells joints, blunts, gummy beer, vaping devices and tinctures that offer an entertaining high. In fact, the business is also booming online, where it sells to many people in other states with strict marijuana laws.

But Mr. Gilkey says he is no outsider, and he is not selling marijuana, just a close relationship. He is offering products with a chemical compound – delta-8-THC – extracted from hemp. It differs only slightly chemically from Delta 9, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

And that small difference, it turns out, can bring a big change in the eyes of the law. Under federal law, Psychoactive Delta 9 is clearly outlawed. But Delta-8-THC from Ganja, is not a drawback that some entrepreneurs say they are allowed to sell it in several states where possession of Ganja is legal. The number of customers “coming to Delta 8 is staggering” Mr. Gilkey said.

“You have a drug that essentially gets you high, but is completely legal,” he said. “The whole thing is comical.”

The rise of Delta 8 is a case study of how hardworking hemp entrepreneurs are separating hemp and marijuana to create myriad new products with different marketing angles. They range from a variety of potency, flavor and strains of THC to cannabis producing narcotics and non-toxic compounds of CBD, often sold as a health product.

With Delta 8, entrepreneurs also believe they have found a way to take advantage of the nation’s fragmented and complex laws on recreational marijuana use. Although it is not so easy. Federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, are still considering their options for enforcement and regulation.

“Dealing with 8-Delta THC in no way is without significant legal risk,” said Alex Butcher, a Colorado attorney who specializes in cannabis law.

Nevertheless, cannabis industry experts said that Delta 8 was actually sold. Delta 8 is the “fastest growing segment” of products sourced from hemp, said Ian Laird, chief financial officer of New Leaf Data Services, which monitors cannabis and cannabis markets. He said consumer sales of at least $ 10 million are projected, “Delta 8 has actually come out somewhere over the past year.”

Marijuana and cannabis are basically the same plant, but marijuana has a high concentration of Delta-9 THC – and, as a source of intoxication, it has been a main focus of entrepreneurs, as well as state and federal lawmakers. Delta 8, if discussed at all, was an esoteric, less powerful byproduct in both plants.

Changed with 2018 farm bill, A huge piece of federal law that, among other things, Widely legalized cannabis cultivation and distribution. The law specifically allowed the sale of plant by-products – the only exception was Delta 9, which defines it as marijuana with high-enough levels of THC.

Because the law made no mention of Delta 8, entrepreneurs leaped into the void and began removing and packaging it as a legal food and smokeable alternative.

Exactly how high Delta 8 is produced depends on whom you ask. Some people think of it as “marijuana light,” while others are “offering it as pain relief with less psychotherapy.” , “Said David Downs, senior content editor for Leaf. ComA popular source of news and information about cannabis.

Either way, Delta 8 has become “extremely climbed”, Mr Downs said, indicating what he calls “prohibitive downward prohibition”, where consumer demand and entrepreneurial activity are holes in rapidly evolving and fragmented legislation. Are exploiting.

“We’re getting reports that you can walk to a truck stop in prohibited states like Georgia, where you’re seeing what looks like a cannabis bud in a jar,” Mr Downs said. The bud is sprayed with high concentration delta 8 oil.

Who owns salom Georgia Hemp Company, He said Delta 8 began to be sold locally and shipped nationally in October – about 25 orders a day. “It’s taken too far.”

Their website describes Delta 8 as “very similar to its psychoanalytic sibling THC, providing users with as much relief from stress and inflammation,” without as much anxiety-causing highs as some with THC Can experience. “

Mr. Salome said he does not need to purchase an expensive state license to sell medical marijuana because he feels protected by the farm bill.

“It’s all right,” he said, explaining that it is now “legal to sell all parts of the plant.”

The legal scenario is contradictory at best. Many states are more permissive than the federal government, which considers marijuana an illegal and highly dangerous drug under the Controlled Substances Act. in 36 states, Is legal for marijuana Medicinal use. In 14 states, It is legal for recreational use.

But in a flip, under the farm bill, the federal government opened the door to the sale of hemp products even in states that have not legalized recreational use of marijuana. Hemp is completely banned only in some states like Idaho, but in others, Delta 8 entrepreneurs are finding a receptive market.

Mr. Gilkey’s lawyers believe the farm bill is on his side. “Delta 8, if it is obtained from hemp, or extracted from hemp, is considered hemp,” said Andreas Steele, co-chairman of the cannabis business group at Cot Rose, a Houston law firm. He emphasized that legality also depends on whether Delta 9 exceeds the legal limit.

Ms. Steele said that when creating a Delta 8 product, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to filter all Delta 9s with hemp.

“Adding another wrinkle,” he said, “not many laboratories have the ability to delimit between Delta 8 and Delta 9.”

Lisa Pittman, the other co-chair of the cannabis business group in Cot Rose, said that in her reading of the issue, the authors of the farm bill would not have considered the consequences of the law.

Ms. Pitman said the final question of a product’s validity may depend on other factors, including the production and source of Delta 8. In particular, the lawyers said, the D.E.A. The rule on this issue suggests that Delta 8 may be illegal if it is “artificially created” rather than systematically derived.

Lawsuits are currently pending interpretation of the DEA rule.

Mr. Gilkey said he paid more than $ 50,000 in legal fees to ensure that he would not back down from the law. A veteran of the US Coast Guard, Mr. Gilkey worked in a counternarcotics unit on boats out of San Diego. “Saw some very tough things,” he said, and “were not happy about the war on drugs.”

He wound up running a business in Austin that sold e-liquid for vaping equipment. Then in 2019, he focused his current business on selling CBD. At the end of last spring, he said, he started getting customers’ calls about the Delta 8.

“I said, please explain to me what that is,” he said. Mr. Gilkey, whose company supplies other retail outlets across the country with products, saw a huge opportunity. After checking in with lawyers, he introduced full-scale packaging gummies and vape pens and other products using Delta 8, which he said he had received from a major hemp supplier.

“It’s going to go mainstream,” he said. And this is just the beginning. “A delta in functions is 10.”

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