By J.D. McCormick
American Healthy Alternatives Association
The American Healthy Alternatives Association (AHAA) is an advocacy organization dedicated to keeping alternatives to Big Pharmaceutical companies’ products legal and accessible to as many consumers as possible. It’s time we all recognize our Nation benefits from alternative products like Delta-8 THC and other minor cannabinoids derived from the hemp plant. As you know, access to these products has helped millions of people across America, and we intend to protect that.
Many state legislatures across the country attempted to ban hemp derived cannabinoids, chief among them Delta-8. The plant Cannabis Sativa L. is BOTH hemp and cannabis. The only legal distinction between the two in Federal Law is the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, and it says:
SEC. 297A. <> DEFINITIONS.
“In this subtitle:
“(1) Hemp.–The term `hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.
It quickly became clear that this meant the entire Cannabis plant and 111 of its 112 active cannabinoids were now legal. Many state legislatures took umbrage with this and have since sought more restrictive language, cumbersome regulation, and outright bans of all consumer cannabinoids except for what they deem appropriate and when it is appropriate. In hypocritical fashion most states that have banned Delta-8 already have legal medicinal and/or recreational cannabis, effectively picking favorites and tax revenue from their large donors (Big Cannabis) over small business and consumers wants. The fact is Delta-8 is in demand because many consumers enjoy its use and find benefits from it. An example of a good common-sense approach can be found in Ohio, where their cannabis authority simply changed their rules allowing Cannabis Dispensaries to also sell Delta-8 THC and THCv (because of consumer demand) while not affecting the rest of the industries’ ability to freely sell Delta8 in smoke shops, and hemp only stores.
Let’s take a look at Virginia; The legislature attempted to ban Delta8 by rushing amendments through attaching them to a Bill that seemingly had a good premise; Ban the shapes of cartoons and child appealing images in cannabis edibles. The reality of the Bill with its new amendment; ban the use of the hemp plant for the production of any consumable cannabinoids. The Virginia Healthy Alternatives Association, working at a fever pitch, spoke with legislators, engaged with businesses across the Commonwealth, and took interviews with local news media to get the word out that this Bill would destroy thousands of small businesses and farms if not amended. After months of hard work, the association in conjunction with other organizations and legislators, was able to work new language into the Commonwealth’s budget that sought to better regulate these products without making them illegal. This fight and many like it are not over yet, not by a longshot.
We encourage everyone to join The American Healthy Alternatives Association (AHAA), or one of our many state associations to get involved in the fight and learn more about what is happening in your state’s legislature.