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Ohio attempts to regulate Delta-8 THC in medical marijuana products

Opioid-related deaths fell 6.5% after recreational marijuana legalized in Colorado, research finds
Posted at 12:18 PM, Jun 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-22 12:39:38-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) is attempting to regulate Delta-8 THC in medical marijuana products produced and sold in the state.

The five requirements are:

  • Telling MMCP Delta-8 THC will be used and providing how it complies with state code
  • Counting Delta-8 THC towards a product’s THC limit
  • Putting “Delta-8 THC” on packaging and labeling
  • Maintaining records of Delta-8 THC supply chain
  • Including Delta-8 THC in testing by cultivators, processors, and testing labs

Those requirements were related last week by the Ohio Department of Commerce, which oversees Ohio’s medical marijuana cultivators, processors, product recalls, and testing laboratories.

Medical marijuana
Ohio is starting to regulate the use of Delta-8 THC in its medical marijuana plants while Delta-8 remains largely unregulated for sale elsewhere.

The rules got early pushback because they don’t address products that have already been sent to dispensaries and appear to make some changes that normally require a longer rule-changing process.

When asked if the Department of Commerce or MMCP would be providing updates or clarifications Tuesday or later this week, a spokesperson responded, “MMCP will be providing additional guidance in the future.”

These rule changes do not have any direct impact on Delta-8 THC sales outside Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program.

What is Delta-8?

Delta-8 THC is a derivative of hemp that can still get users “high.” Some people say it isn’t as strong and doesn’t have as many negative side effects as Delta-9 THC, the more traditional cannabis compound that marijuana users seek out.

Delta 8 720 REV.png
Even though Delta 8 is a derivative of hemp, it still will make users fail a drug test.

Since Delta 8 THC is made from hemp, legal experts tell News 5 it is legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, which “removed hemp, defined as cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.) and derivatives of cannabis with extremely low concentrations of the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (no more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis), from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA),” according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Some states have banned Delta-8 THC, but Ohio isn’t one of them, meaning it’s available in convenience stores, gas stations, and storefronts all over the Buckeye State.

See News 5 Cleveland's full story on Delta-8 THC here.

More Delta-8 regulation?
The Department of Commerce's new Delta-8 THC rules don't directly impact how or where it's allowed to be sold outside the state-run dispensaries, but Governor DeWine's spokesperson tells News 5 Ohio is considering additional Delta-8 regulation eventually.

Right now, he says the state is considering all of its options for new Delta-8 rules, either through new laws created in the Ohio Legislature or through other steps short of lawmakers. He says when the Farm Bill legalized hemp across the nation, it's the Governor's position that the new law was intended to provide a path to use hemp to get high.

On a similar note, he says Ohio's Medical Marijuana Control Program has intentionally been created to prevent it from being used as a stepping stone towards eventually legalizing adult recreational use.

Still, Pew Research Center data suggests that two-thirds of Americans support legalizing marijuana, giving cannabis advocates confidence that a ballot initiative would likely legalize adult cannabis use in Ohio anyway.

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