Delta-8 THC, a previously loosely regulated compound derived from marijuana that induces a similar high, will be reined in by Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency beginning Oct. 11.
Prior to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signing a series of new marijuana bills Tuesday, regulation of delta-8 products was blurry, since state law only addressed delta-9 THC, the more traditional cannabis compound sought by licensed marijuana producers.
This led to gas stations, online vendors and other businesses selling delta-8 THC products without licensing, testing and other regulations that are in place for recreational marijuana.
Additionally, some processors and manufacturers were using a process to extract delta-8 THC from legal hemp, which is defined as cannabis with less than .3% of delta-9 THC. Hemp is not regulated under state marijuana laws.
Some legislators compared delta-8 THC to the scourge of “bath salts,” or synthesized drugs that hit the market nearly a decade ago by way of loopholes.
The ban on delta-8 THC products by businesses that aren’t state-licensed as marijuana retailers also encompasses any other potentially intoxicating compounds that might be derived from the cannabis plant.
Robin Schneider, director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, a large marijuana trade association, said most of its members opposed a full ban of delta-THC, which some stated have imposed.
“We applaud Governor Whitmer’s decision to sign this package of bills into law,” Schneider said. “Regulating delta 8 rather than banning the product is a smart and progressive move that is in the best interest of public health and safety.
The changes mean anyone producing or selling delta-8 THC products must ensure they are licensed, tracked and tested similar to existing marijuana products.
The package of bills also included an extension for telemedicine for medical marijuana certification, which requires a doctor’s medical recommendation before a medical marijuana patient card may be issued by the state. The state made an exception to allow for telemedicine referrals during the coronavirus pandemic. With passage of the laws, the exception becomes permanent.
“I’m thrilled that medical marijuana patients now have access to telemedicine, just like the rest of Michigan’s medical patients do,” Whitmer said. “This package of bills makes a huge difference in the lives of those who rely on the medical properties of marijuana.”
The bills signed into law include: House Bill 4517, sponsored by Rep. Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor; HB 4740, sponsored by Rep. Pat Outman, R-Six Lakes; HB 4741, sponsored by Rep. T.C. Clements, R-Temperance; HB 4742, sponsored by Rep. Tenisha Yancey, D-Grosse Pointe; HB 4743, sponsored by Rep. Julie Calley, R-Portland; HB 4744, sponsored by Rep. Richard Steenland, D-Roseville; and HB 4746, sponsored by Rep. Roger Hauck, R-Mount Pleasant.
The Marijuana Regulatory Agency created a document containing more information about delta-8 and the changes.
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