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Tennessee lawmakers consider banning most Delta-8 THC products

Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 5:19 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Tennessee lawmakers are debating a bill that opponents say could hurt the state’s growing cannabis industry.

The bill would make most Delta-8 THC products illegal in Tennessee.

After surviving a global pandemic, business owners that sell cannabidiol (CBD) products like Will Vance, who owns Your CBD Store at 3157 Poplar Avenue, have a new worry.

It’s over Delta-8, a psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant that produces a high similar to marijuana. Some people describe it as milder.

Delta-8 is sold in products like gummies, sprays and oils and some people claim it helps with health issues like stress and anxiety.

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban most Delta-8 products by redefining marijuana, which remains illegal in Tennessee, to include hemp products that have THC concentrations of more than 0.3%.

“Unfortunately, for not only us a lot of companies if they’re not able to sell good quality CBD and Delta-8 products it definitely could ruin their life or their livelihoods at least temporarily,” said Vance.

Others in the industry shared their concerns with lawmakers in Nashville last week.

“This bill as amended, it will kill businesses across this state. We’ll drop 50%. I’ll have to fire multiple, multiple people,” said Sam O’Sullivan with the Tennessee Health Alternatives Association.

State Representative William Lamberth, the bill’s sponsor, says Delta-8 has gone unregulated, is highly addictive and potentially dangerous.

Action News 5′s sister station in Nashville found 115 calls to the Tennessee Poison Control Center last year after people accidentally overdosed on Delta-8.

About a third of those calls concerned children.

“This needs to be clear cut as to what is and is not legal and what exactly is on the shelves and quite frankly, we need to make sure this is absolutely not getting into the hands of children,” said Lamberth. “Because right now they sell it in gummy bears and a child is not going to be able to tell the difference in a gummy bear and neither is an adult.”

Vance says his business puts safety above everything else.

“We’re totally about the science,” Vance said.

He says he understands that may not be the case for everyone who sells CBD products.

Still, he hopes a compromise can be found.

“I’m not going to lie, we do sell a lot of Delta-8 and it would hurt if they removed Delta-8,” said Vance.

The bill passed the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee last week and is set to go to the full House Criminal Justice Committee.

The Senate version also advanced, passing the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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