The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) recently stated that companies in the state may no longer sell products containing delta-8 cannabidiol, a popular cannabis extract. The department’s decision has caused widespread panic among retailers and cultivators who are now scrambling to find new sources for their product lines.
Three years after federal legislation removed the marijuana extract known as delta-8 THC from the country’s list of controlled substances, Texas health officials have added it to their own list of illegal drugs, sending shock waves through the state’s burgeoning CBD retail industry and effectively making the substance illegal.
Christine Perez, the owner of the renowned Austin CBD business Lazydaze+Coffeeshop, was unaware of the change until she received a notification on the Texas Department of State Health Services’ website on Oct. 15.
“I was perplexed, as were a number of other businesses. “What the hell is going on?” According to Perez. “I have no clue why [the state] would attempt to outlaw it, or when it would happen. We haven’t heard anything from the state about it.”
It was simple to overlook.
According to The Dallas Morning News, the state health department published a notice in the Texas Register, which publishes regulation changes. Delta-8 remained a restricted substance in Texas, according to the notification. By maintaining separate lists, the federal government and states may disagree on what constitutes a restricted drug. Despite this, CBD retailers were unaware that anything containing the drug, like as candy or tincture oil, would be prohibited to sell in Texas.
It quickly became the most popular substance in many Texas clinics, as consumers said it gave them the same “high” as marijuana. After the 2018 Farm Bill expanded the definition of “lawful marijuana extracts” to cover any extract with less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), including delta-8, the variation gained popularity. THC is the psychoactive component in marijuana that gives the consumer a buzz.
After Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1325, which legalized any hemp product with less than 0.3 percent THC, Delta-8 was believed to be legal in Texas almost two years ago.
However, the Department of Homeland Security (DSHS) stated last week that delta-8 had been categorized as a Schedule I controlled substance, a classification reserved for substances with no recognized medical value, such as heroin and LSD.
This isn’t the first time the question of whether delta-8 is a restricted drug in Texas has arisen. As previously reported by the DMN, during this year’s regular legislative session, Stephen Pahl, the Texas health department’s associate commissioner for consumer protection, informed lawmakers that state law allows Health and Human Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt to object to federal drug schedules, including delta-8. A measure to declare delta-8 unlawful was discussed by lawmakers, but it died in committee when health authorities told them that the drug had already been classified as a restricted substance by the state.
Last week’s statement was simply a clarification in the eyes of the state.
According to Lara Anton, a DSHS spokeswoman, “DSHS provided the explanation below on our website in response to recent inquiries from hemp farmers who claimed there was misunderstanding in the market regarding what was permitted in edible hemp products.”
The notice, on the other hand, seemed capricious and unjust to merchants.
“This is really unexpected. “It’s not founded on science, and it’s not based on any actual danger to Texans,” Rick Trojan III, a Hemp Industries Association board member, said. “Everyone concerned is perplexed by the situation. It seems that DSHS is baffled as to why they know what they’re doing.”
Trojan said that he had not heard of any “hemp grower” who was perplexed by the legislation.
Several shops said the state had done nothing to warn them that delta-8 was unlawful until the notification a week earlier.
Lit Smoke & Vape, a CBD shop in Allen, has said that it would not cease selling delta-8 until forced to.
When The Texas Tribune inquired about the new advice, several businesses, such as Your CBD in Mesquite, said they were unaware of it. Delta-8 was removed off the shelves an hour later.
“It’s still on our shelf,” a manager at Lit Smoke & Vape remarked, “until it’s legally determined that it’s unlawful.” “Those individuals don’t have any legal power.” So, no, we will continue to offer it until the law says that it is prohibited. They attempted to prohibit CBD two years ago, but were unsuccessful due to a lawsuit. As a result, it’ll happen again.”
The Texas Legislature tried to make delta-8 illegal in May of last year, but the bill failed.
A number of businesses, including CBD American Shaman, have threatened to sue the state.
Meanwhile, many businesses are concerned about how the state would enforce the new regulations.
“The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has the authority to take enforcement action against licensees who sell edible hemp products that include prohibited drugs.” “The Department of State and Homeland Security does not regulate the possession of restricted drugs,” a DSHS spokesman stated.
Despite this, Trojan thinks that enforcing the law will be tough.
“I’ve heard that some sheriffs refuse to execute the law.” Stores, according to what I’ve heard, will be allowed to sell what they have,” Trojan added.