A bill that seeks to place an age requirement to purchase Delta-8 THC has passed the Alabama Senate. 

Senate Bill 326 (SB326) is sponsored by State Sen. Tim Melson (R-Florence). Melson had previously introduced legislation to add Delta-8 to the banned substances list in Alabama, but the bill was buried in a committee. 

Melson’s new bill only seeks to levy an age restriction on the purchasing of Delta-8 THC, a restriction that is currently not imposed in the state. 

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 

Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as Delta-8 THC, is a psychoactive substance found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabis plants have two varieties: marijuana and hemp. 

The typical psychoactive cannabinoid that the federal government outlaws found in traditional marijuana that gets people “high” is classified as Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In fact, there are over 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. The THC found in marijuana is classified as a controlled substance, but the THC found in the hemp plant is expressly exempted from the prohibition. 

Delta-8 is processed specifically from the flowers and stems of the hemp plant, a derivative from the popular medicinal hemp extract, cannabidiol oil (CBD).

CBD is a popular product that many find has the medicinal effects of marijuana without the high or intoxicated aftereffect. 

CBD can be distilled into a different substance. CBD is distilled and concentrated into a slightly less psychoactive product: Delta-8 THC. Delta-8 is sold over the counter at vape stores, head shops, and gas stations across the state. 

Delta-8 comes in several forms, such as vape pens, gummies, candies, baked goods, and others. 

There is currently no age limit to purchase Delta-8 products in Alabama. Theoretically, anyone of any age could walk into any establishment and purchase Delta-8 products. 

Many have expressed concern with Delta-8, citing the ready availability of the compound leaves people open to experimentation and self-medication as tremendous risks.

The FDA has released warnings for Delta-8 and the fact that it has not been evaluated and deemed safe to use. 

“It is important for consumers to be aware that Delta-8 THC products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use in any context,” the FDA warned. “Delta-8 THC products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use and may be marketed in ways that put public health at risk."

Due to the lack of testing and oversight, the FDA has concerns over the quality control standards in the unregulated production of Delta-8. 

While the government and its entities attempt to deal with Delta-8  production, there continues to be a concern for lawmakers. Some have proposed that the colorful packaging of many Delta-8 products is directly intended to appeal to children. 

Advocates for Delta-8 claim the war against Delta-8 is a war against Alabama hemp farmers. The cannabis advocacy group Alabamians 4 Medical Cannabis Freedom & Disability Rights has openly advocated for Delta-8 production and availability. 

“The attempted ban on Delta 8 will only bankrupt the Alabama hemp industry, aka the Alabama Farmer,” Alabamians 4 Medical Cannabis said in a social media post unrelated to the bill. “It will not keep packaging attractive to children out of Alabama. These methods used to promote a ban on Delta 8, are an insult to our industry['s] intelligence.”

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