The Nebraska Attorney General and the California Attorney General have filed lawsuits recently under their states’ consumer protection statutes targeting the manufacturers of hemp products containing Delta-8 THC, noting the health and safety risk to consumers of these products. Such products, known as “hemp synthesized intoxicants” or “HSIs” are often just as intoxicating as the Delta-9 THC in state-legal adult-use and medical marijuana, but may not be subject to the same types of licensure, testing, and packaging/labeling requirements imposed under state cannabis programs.
As I have previously written, the manufacture and distribution of HSIs appears to be the result of a perceived loophole in the 2018 Farm Bill’s legalization of hemp and its “derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers.” Proponents of HSIs assert that, in defining hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill, Congress did not prohibit the chemicals in hemp from being converted into psychoactive compounds.
Opponents of HSIs argue that hemp was legalized as an agricultural commodity, and the 2018 Farm Bill was focused on the production (cultivation) of hemp, not consumer finished products that could be manufactured using its constituents. They posit that Congress did not intend for the chemicals in hemp to be converted into a host of compounds just as intoxicating as Delta-9 THC.
State AG consumer protection lawsuits against manufacturers of products containing HSIs are an attempt to curb their proliferation. Congress may address the perceived loophole that is being exploited to manufacturer HSIs in the forthcoming Farm Bill.