On May 18, 2021, the Michigan House Regulatory Reform Committee unanimously approved a package of bills, including House Bill 4517, requiring hemp-derived delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) to be regulated by the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (“MMRA”).
Delta-8 THC is a cannabis compound that has gained in popularity because of its similarity to delta-9 THC prevalent in marijuana plants. Delta-8 is produced by extracting CBD from industrial hemp and then using acetic acid to turn it into THC.
Producers of delta-8 THC argue that the product is legal under the federal 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp extracts and other hemp products. However, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) issued an interim final rule in 2020 declaring: “All synthetically derived (THC) remain Schedule I controlled substances.” The Hemp Industries Association and a South Carolina CBD manufacturer initiated a lawsuit against the DEA challenging the rule.
Currently, delta-8 THC is unregulated in Michigan. The new bills, which have been sent to the full House of Representatives for consideration, would bring the delta-8 THC within the MMRA’s regulatory framework.
The move to regulate delta-8 THC has the support of the Michigan Cannabis Manufacturer’s Association (“MCMA”). In a statement, MCMA executive director Stephen Linder said: “Any product considered medicine should adhere to the same health and safety standards as medicines dispensed in pharmacies. Currently these products are available to anyone and can be found in gas stations, party stores and smoke and vape shops.”
Michigan is not the only state to take action to crack down on access to delta-8 THC. According to Hemp Industry Daily at least 12 states have imposed bans on the product.
We will continue to keep you updated about developments with respect to the delta-8 THC legislation. In the interim, if you have questions, please contact Fraser Trebilcock shareholder Paul Mallon.