Missouri, like many states, has found itself navigating the complex landscape of Delta-8 THC products and their legality. Recent legislative efforts have sought to address concerns regarding the regulation of Delta-8 THC, a compound with properties similar to Delta-9 THC found in traditional marijuana.
In this comprehensive article, we'll delve into the intricacies of the Delta-8 debate, explore the proposed legislation, and consider the implications for both consumers and the cannabis industry in Missouri.
The "Intoxicating Cannabinoid Control Act"
Missouri Senator Nick Schroer introduced Senate Bill 984, also known as the "Intoxicating Cannabinoid Control Act." This bill, if passed, would categorize all "intoxicating cannabinoid products" as cannabis. Its primary purpose is to regulate hemp products containing Delta-8 THC, which are currently classified as hemp rather than cannabis. Several issues surround this classification, including the absence of age restrictions for purchasing Delta-8 hemp products and a lack of requirements for accurate product testing and labeling.
One of Senator Schroer's primary concerns is that Delta-8 THC products are easily accessible to minors, with reports of children being hospitalized after consuming them. The proposed bill, SB-984, would require the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) to establish regulations mirroring those in place for traditional cannabis. Representative Chad Perkins filed a companion bill, House Bill 1781, in the House of Representatives.
The DHSS has acknowledged the potential public health impact of unregulated THC products, especially on children. While they did not provide specific comments on the bills, they emphasize the need for protective regulations, particularly regarding health and children's safety. Currently, there is no protective framework for unregulated THC products, leaving consumers vulnerable.
The Role of the Missouri Hemp Trade Association (MHTA)
The Missouri Hemp Trade Association (MHTA), led by President Sean Hackman, recognizes the importance of addressing any overdose incidents related to Delta-8 products, especially those involving minors. They view these situations not as a public health emergency but as opportunities for improved regulation.
MHTA is committed to enhancing product safety and quality. However, the association does not support regulating Delta-8 products through the DHSS or restricting their sale to licensed dispensaries.
Previous Attempts at Regulation
This isn't the first time Missouri legislators have attempted to address Delta-8 product regulation. In February 2023, Representative Kurtis Gregory filed House Bill 1328, aiming to reclassify Delta-8 products as cannabis instead of hemp. The primary concern was the lack of age limits on Delta-8 product purchases, perceived as a legal loophole.
However, HB-1328 faced strong opposition and did not progress beyond a public hearing in April 2023. Some legislators argued that regulating Delta-8 products could create a monopoly, primarily due to inconsistencies in how the DHSS was approving cannabis licenses.
Currently, a lawsuit involving a Missouri cannabis manufacturer named Delta Extraction is ongoing. The Missouri Division of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) received an anonymous tip in August, alleging that Delta Extraction was involved in illegal activities. As a result, the DCR issued an Order of Immediate Suspension, instructing the company to cease operations immediately. This order also required all stores to remove 60,000 items from their shelves, including products manufactured by Delta Extraction. By November 2023, the company's license had been revoked.
Delta Extraction's attorney representative, Chuck Hatfield, argues that the DCR lacks the authority to regulate hemp products. He maintains that the Division of Cannabis Regulation's jurisdiction is limited to non-hemp marijuana, regardless of whether hemp-derived THC is used in the production of cannabis products. The case awaits discussion through an Administrative Hearing Commission, which will determine if regulators have the authority to prohibit licensed companies like Delta Extraction from infusing hemp-derived THC into cannabis products within the state.
Monitoring Progress and Protecting Youth
Despite the challenges and legal battles, Senator Schroer remains committed to monitoring progress and crafting laws that comply with established case law. The primary objective is to protect the youth and all consumers of these products. As the discussions continue, the focus remains on ensuring the safety and well-being of Missourians.
The Landscape of Marijuana in Missouri
Missouri has experienced significant changes in its cannabis landscape in recent years. Medical cannabis sales commenced in October 2020, while recreational cannabis was legalized through a voter-approved ballot in November 2022. Possession regulations were relaxed as of December 2022, and the first recreational cannabis sales began in February 2023. During the inaugural month, adult-use cannabis sales reached a remarkable $100 million. By May of that year, the state had surpassed $1 billion in legal cannabis sales.
Additionally, Missouri's recreational cannabis law includes provisions for the expungement of nonviolent cannabis-related cases from criminal records. The law stipulates that misdemeanor expungements must be completed by June 8, with felony expungements to be finalized by December 8. While these deadlines were not met, progress has been made, with almost 100,000 records expunged.
Dan Viets, one of the authors of Amendment 3, noted that missing the deadline was not a concern as long as genuine efforts were being made to expunge cases. The legacy of a century of marijuana prohibition in Missouri has resulted in hundreds of thousands of cases, making expungement a complex and ongoing process.
The status of Delta-8 THC products in Missouri remains a subject of debate and regulatory scrutiny. Recent legislative efforts aim to address concerns surrounding the accessibility of these products, particularly to minors.
While the outcome remains uncertain, the commitment to protecting public health, especially that of children, remains paramount. Missouri's evolving cannabis landscape reflects a broader national conversation on the regulation of alternative cannabinoids, and further developments are expected as the state navigates these complex issues.
Get Your Medical Marijuana Card in Missouri Today!
Although marijuana is now legal recreationally in Missouri, you should still get your medical card. If you have any questions, just give us a call!
There are so many benefits to having your medical marijuana card in a recreational state, including being responsible for less in taxes, saving at dispensaries, and higher possession laws.
If you don’t already have your medical marijuana card, we can help! Our doctors are standing by to take you through a quick and easy evaluation to see if you qualify. During your evaluation, they will be happy to answer all your questions about how cannabis may be able to help with your anxiety or any other medical conditions.
Schedule an appointment with a marijuana professional online or by giving us a call at
(877) 303-3117 to talk to a patient support representative.
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