The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) has come out in support of hemp-derived delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
In a news release, the association took the position that all hemp-derived cannabinoids were made federally legal by the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill), and delta-8 should therefore be regulated, yet permitted for production and sale, across the U.S.
The association backed its stance with a legal opinion analyzing the legality of the contentious cannabinoid, which was penned by attorneys Rod Kight and Philip Snow of Kight Law.
Delta-8’s legality is still being debated among legal experts. While it comes from legal hemp, it is often converted from cannabidiol (CBD) or delta-9 THC. Because of this, some interpret delta-8 to fall under “synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols.” In its final rule on hemp released in August 2020, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) clarified synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols are to remain scheduled substances despite their delta-9 THC content.
“Businesses, farmers, and consumers all deserve regulations that support the exploration of the hemp plant’s full potential. This isn’t just about one minor cannabinoid —the list is over a hundred already and growing,” said Jody McGinness, HIA’s executive director, said in a news release. “Fortunately, the industry has all the expertise legislators could need, and those manufacturing leaders and scientists are engaged and ready to help create productive policy solutions.”
The HIA’s Stance
Key points from Kight’s and Snow’s analysis, which includes HIA’s position, are as follows:
The 2018 Farm Bill defined “hemp” to include all of its cannabinoids and tetrahydrocannabinols. The farm bill also directed that hemp be regulated as an agricultural product.
A regulatory framework is needed for delta-8 to protect consumer safety and prioritize research into the cannabinoid.
“Prohibition is a failed concept,” HIA stated in the news release. The association is calling for state lawmakers to drop any delta-8 bans in place and instead partner with hemp industry experts to draft a policy that “opens markets, fosters innovation, spurs investment, and creates valuable jobs.”
The HIA is also calling on industry leaders to help consumers and the market as a whole by adopting strict testing protocol, using responsible and transparent marketing, and including potency data and warnings regarding consumption.
The HIA added in the news release that its recently formed Cannabinoids Council, which has a focus on national cannabinoid priorities, “has identified safe market expansion as a core focus for its early efforts.”
The association is currently involved in two lawsuits over the DEA’s interim final rule on hemp because of its stance on synthetically derived THC. It is the association’s fourth lawsuit with the DEA since 1994.
Another Industry Position
On the other hand, the U.S. Hemp Roundtable (USHR), another prominent industry organization, took a more conservative approach to the cannabinoid.
In late April, the USHR released a statement that agreed delta-8 should be regulated instead of banned. However, the USHR proposed regulating delta-8 “akin to adult-use cannabis, sold in dispensary-like settings away from minors.”
“The dietary supplement and food/beverage additive lanes should be limited to non-intoxicating hemp products,” the association added.
At the time, the USHR said it was in the process of developing science-based policies regarding delta-8 and other intoxicating hemp-derived for use by both local and national governments. “We are worried about [a] patchwork of state laws created that cause confusion and impair interstate commerce,” the USHR said in a statement.