Senators Sharif Street and Judy Schwank

Harrisburg – April 6, 2022 – Today, State Sens. Judy Schwank and Sharif Street issued a co-sponsor memorandum for a bill they plan to introduce that would ban the sale of delta-8 THC products in Pennsylvania.

The Food and Drug Administration defines delta-8 THC as a psychoactive substance found in the cannabis sativa plant, of which marijuana and hemp are two varieties. It can be manufactured in higher amounts by synthetically converting a better-known non-intoxicating compound, CBD, into delta-8 THC. In September of 2021, the FDA issued a warning that “potentially unsafe household chemicals” are sometimes used to convert CBD to delta-8 THC. 

Under the federal Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, hemp was removed from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substance Act (CSA). The act defines hemp as a cannabis plant that contains 0.3% delta-9 THC or less, which is considered too low to have a psychoactive effect. However, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 did not address delta-8 THC, allowing it to go unregulated at the federal level.

This omission created a loophole that allows vendors to sell delta-8 THC products like edibles, vapes, and tinctures with no oversight. Currently, delta-8 THC products can be purchased by individuals 21 or older at gas stations and neighborhood corner stores.

“What we are seeing right now is a completely unregulated market for these products and they are becoming more popular with each passing day,” Schwank said. “I’m particularly concerned about underage teens using these products because we have no clue how they are manufactured. I’ve already heard about high school-age children in my district getting sick after using delta-8 THC, so they are finding ways to access it.”

Schwank also noted that the outlandish flavors these products come in seem to be geared towards teenagers.

“The omission of delta-8 THC from federal regulation has left us with a legally defined ‘hemp’ product with psychotropic effects that exists outside PA’s Medical Marijuana Program and may be accessible to those under the age of 21,” Street said. “It was never the intent for hemp to get anyone high. It is important that consumers are aware of what they are purchasing, and it is our responsibility as government to ensure safety and consumer protection. This legislation fixes this problem and reminds us of the importance of a well-regulated and secure market for cannabis.”

You can read the full co-sponsor memo here.