Legal loophole allows Madison businesses to sell marijuana-like drug Delta-8 THC The Badger Herald


From head to toe stores grocery stores, many Madison companies have recently been successful in selling delta-8-hemp, a substance found in small amounts in cannabis plants.

Unlike marijuana, whose main psychoactive component is delta-8-THC, purchasing delta-8 is legal in Wisconsin. The U.S. Senate passed the 2018 Farm Bill legalizing hemp and cannabis derivatives with low concentrations of delta-8-THC, according to the FDA.

Despite the difference in legal status, the effects of consuming delta-8 are similar to those of traditional marijuana, according to Justin Hennings, warehouse manager at the local Madison KnuckleHeads store.

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“It’s less psychoactive, but it gives people that happy feeling associated with THC,” Hennings said. “But we’re trying to get away from calling it delta-8-THC because it confuses some people. It’s a completely different compound. It’s not derived from THC but rather from hemp, which is used for a certain number of products that are not delta-8.

The main chemical difference between delta-8 and delta-9 is the location of a double bond, University of Wisconsin chemistry professor Daniel Weix said. Weix said small changes can create big differences in the behavior of the molecule in the body.

The Food and drug administration warned consumers about delta-8 on its website, saying the FDA had not evaluated the substance and had received reports of adverse events regarding the consumption of delta-8.

These concerns pose a challenge to the commercial success of Delta-8, Hennings said.

“The biggest challenge the Delta-8 faces right now is the marijuana industry and the government itself,” Hennings said. “Both sides are not happy that the substance has gotten so big because there is only one sales tax, whereas marijuana – in states where it is legalized – has very high tax rates. students.”

District 4 Ald. Mike Verveer said the Delta-8 occupies a legal gray area, which means the product is largely unregulated. If there will be regulations on Delta-8, it will come from the state government – not the city government, Verveer said.

The regulations could either be drafted by the Wisconsin legislature or come from other agencies such as the FDA and the Wisconsin Department of Agricultural Trade and Consumer Protection.

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Verveer said the use of delta-8 is legal in Wisconsin. When he wrote the Madison City Ordinance To further decriminalize marijuana in 2019, Verveer said the Wisconsin Department of Justice has recommended law enforcement agencies take no action against CBD products.

He said consumers and sellers can rest assured that local law enforcement is not involved in research or enforce any law for Delta-8 in Madison.

“It is clearly sold for all to see and certainly to this day I know of no desire from anyone in municipal government to get involved in stopping the consumption of delta-8,” he said. .

With the unregulated aspect of the industry comes safety and quality issues.

Given the compound’s unregulated status in Wisconsin, Weix said he had many concerns about the purity of delta-8.

“If it turns out that it’s basically unregulated, then you just trust the companies that make it have a neat product,” Weix said. “It could be contaminated with synthetic material, it could be that the reaction is incomplete and the chemical reactions could have side reactions, so there could be other cannabinoids.”

The The illegal status of marijuana in Wisconsin can lead people to use newer, sometimes more dangerous, variants, independent investigative reporter Ben Westhoff said.

Marijuana bans were one of the reasons people started using the synthetic cannabinoid known as Spice, Westhoff said. Spice, a psychoactive drug of human origin, is known to cause overdose. It should not be confused with delta-8, which is derived from the hemp plant.

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Westhoff said he doesn’t know how safe delta-8 is, but he imagines fewer people would use it if marijuana were legal in Wisconsin.

“It is painfully obvious that we are the only state in our region that has not legalized medical marijuana, so it makes sense that there is this huge market for delta-8 that will remain strong until we come to our senses and state law take meaningful action to legalize cannabis in Wisconsin, ”said Verveer.

In the meantime, Knuckleheads has seen a slight uptick in delta-8 purchases, Hennings said.

The derivative is popular enough to be available for purchase at local grocery chain Woodman’s, according to their website.

“The bottleneck is the Republicans, not the governor or the people, who poll after poll support legalization,” Verveer said.

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