Illinois legislators have had to tackle challenges in the cannabis industry since its legalization. Many businesses have found certain loopholes that, without the correct oversight, may risk public health problems.
One loophole does not even include the marijuana plant. This loophole, according to the Chicago Sun Times, is responsible for 119 hospitalizations this past year.
The Delta-8 variant
As described in the Farm Bill of 2018, farmers and cultivators may grow and distribute hemp and its byproducts legally. One byproduct gaining traction in the marketplace is Delta-8 THC. This psychoactive compound is like the Delta-9 THC found in pot that gets consumers high.
These products do not require the same approvals and scrutiny as marijuana. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported serious health risks from this variant. The FDA reports that many Delta-8 products may not receive testing for heavy metals, solvents or pesticides.
The report does not detail the specific effects of the drug. Hospitalized patients experienced vomiting, hallucinations and loss of consciousness.
Many states already have bans against this variant. Illinois lawmakers seek to avoid this solution. Their aim is to reduce the public health risk while still allowing hemp farmers and small businesses to sell safe products.
The changing legal landscape
This “diet weed”, as some call it, poses a lot of questions in regard to the marijuana industry. It is important for consumers to understand the laws surrounding each THC variant and how they might change.
Drug charges weigh a heavy impact on a person’s life. If the Delta-8 variant falls under further scrutiny or an outright ban, possessing it may incur similar penalties as marijuana did before its legalization.