Legislation Seeking to Regulate Delta-8 THC Stalls in Illinois House of Representatives

A recent bill proposed to regulate the sellers of delta-8 THC, CBD and other hemp-derived products more stringently failed to pass earlier this week after the bill, which passed the Illinois State Senate 54-1 over the weekend, did not receive a vote in the House of Representatives before the legislative session came to a close. Seeking to restrict the sale of these products to only businesses that have undergone the stringent cannabis dispensary licensing process, the bill would have cut out many current sellers such as gas stations and convenience stores, where sales of psychoactive products containing delta-8 have proliferated in recent years. Due to the lack of regulation, these products don’t face stringent testing or labeling requirements, which has allegedly led to some hospitalizations. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Kimberly Lightford, emphasized the public safety risk the bill sought to protect in a statement, “The bill we put forth showed the dire need to regulate the hemp industry before we lose yet another young life to these pervasive products.” Still even those opposed to the bill see the need for regulation, just in a less restrictive manner than the expensive and arduous process that the cannabis dispensary is subject to. State Representative La Sharn Ford, who opposed the Senate bill, is pushing his own separate bill that would restrict sales to people over the age of 21, impose a 10% tax on sellers, and require manufacturers to obtain licenses and undergo product testing, “We don’t want pop-up smoke shops opening on every corner…We need to make sure we have some licenses, and limit how many we have, so we don’t turn Chicago into ‘Delta and Marijuana City.’” The Senate bill could pass the House in the upcoming veto session in the fall but would need a three-fifths majority to do so.

Research Shows Use of Delta-8 Increasing in High School Students

A new study showed that over 11% of high school seniors admitted to using a psychoactive Delta-8 THC product last year, which is chemically similar with delta-9 THC, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. “Considering that delta-8-THC has only been on the market since 2018, the fact that we’re seeing more than 11% of youth using it is concerning,” said Alyssa F. Harlow, PhD, MPH, the study’s lead author. The study’s findings suggest that states that regulate delta-8 saw lower rates of use amongst younger populations, with youth use rates of 5.7% in states with regulation, compared to 14.4% in states without regulations. The study also found large variances based on locations, with the highest use rate of 14.6% in the Midwest, compared with a 5% use rate in Western states. Though delta-8 and other hemp derivative products are relatively new, expect to see more attention to the products given there rapidly increase popularity, which inevitably draws regulatory scrutiny and calls for more research into any potential harm the products can cause its users.