Arizona Tightens Control on Unlicensed Delta-8 THC Sales

The Arizona Attorney General's legal opinion increases scrutiny on hemp-derived intoxicants like delta-8 THC, now considered illegal when sold by unlicensed entities, following DEA clarification that all synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols are Schedule I substances.

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Arizona Tightens Control on Unlicensed Delta-8 THC Sales

In response to the growing concerns over unregulated sales of delta-8 THC and other hemp-derived intoxicating products in Arizona, Attorney General Kris Mayes has released a 14-page legal opinion outlining the state’s position on these matters. The opinion highlights that entities without marijuana business licenses, such as gas stations and smoke shops, are engaging in illegal sales of delta-8 and similar substances.

The legal opinion asserts that such products are considered Schedule I controlled substances and, therefore, may only be sold by licensed cannabis retailers. However, Mayes also expressed her reservations about licensed marijuana businesses selling hemp-derived THC products due to potential health and safety risks.

Increased Scrutiny on Hemp-Derived Intoxicants

The issuance of this legal opinion signals increased scrutiny of hemp-derived intoxicants, which have gained popularity in the market due to their legal ambiguity. Delta-8 THC is a compound found in hemp plants that can produce mild psychoactive effects. It became popular after the federal government legalized the production of industrial hemp with less than 0.3% delta-9 THC – the main psychoactive compound in marijuana – under the 2018 Farm Bill.

However, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) clarified in August 2020 that all synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols remain Schedule I controlled substances, regardless of the percentage of delta-9 THC. As such, this further solidifies the stance of the Arizona Attorney General in considering hemp-derived THC products as illegal when being sold or distributed by unlicensed entities.

Protecting Public Health and Safety

Attorney General Mayes emphasized that her concerns about licensed marijuana businesses selling hemp-derived THC products stem from the potential risks they pose to public health and safety. While state-licensed cannabis dispensaries are required to follow strict testing and labeling regulations, hemp-derived products sold outside of this regulated system may not meet the same quality and safety standards.

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In her opinion, Mayes urged retailers to prioritize consumer well-being over the pursuit of profits by refraining from selling these questionable products. She also indicated that future regulatory decisions concerning delta-8 and other hemp-derived intoxicants would be primarily guided by updated information on their impacts on public health and safety.

Response from State Legislators

The legal opinion from the Arizona Attorney General responds to concerns raised by two state legislators about the unregulated sales of hemp-derived THC products in their jurisdictions. Senator Sonny Borrelli and Representative Domingo DeGrazia sought clarity on whether existing laws already prohibited such unlicensed sales or if new legislation was needed to address the issue.

While the released legal opinion offers some guidance on the matter, it remains to be seen whether the clarification will lead to increased enforcement efforts by local authorities against entities selling delta-8 THC products without proper licensing.

Industry Response and Potential Repercussions

The release of the Attorney General’s legal opinion on delta-8 THC sales may have significant consequences for the hemp and cannabis industries in Arizona. Some stakeholders have expressed concerns that stricter regulation of hemp-derived products could stifle business growth and hinder the expansion of legal cannabis access across the state. However, proponents of increased oversight argue that ensuring the legitimate sale of hemp-derived THC products is essential to uphold the legal cannabis market and protect consumers from potential harm caused by unregulated substances.

The Arizona Attorney General’s legal opinion on the unregulated sale of delta-8 THC products sheds light on the state’s stance towards these controversial substances. With an emphasis on protecting public health and safety, it calls upon both licensed and unlicensed entities to exercise caution when dealing with hemp-derived intoxicants.

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This move may prompt other states to reevaluate their regulatory approaches to marijuana business licensing, testing, and labeling requirements to ensure the safety and legitimacy of cannabis-related products in the market. While the long-term outcome remains uncertain, stakeholders in the cannabis industry must pay close attention to potential changes in regulations and enforcement efforts.

Rita Ferreira

Rita Ferreira

Rita is a seasoned writer with over five years of experience, having worked with globally renowned platforms, including Forbes and Miister CBD. Her deep knowledge of hemp-related businesses and passion for delivering accurate and concise information distinguish her in the industry. Rita's contributions empower individuals and companies to navigate the complexities of the cannabis world, and her work remains a valuable resource for those seeking a deeper understanding of its potential.

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