Editor’s Notebook: Why MJ operators had exactly the wrong reaction to delta-8 THC

, Editor’s Notebook: Why MJ operators had exactly the wrong reaction to delta-8 THC

This column appears in the February issue of MJBizMagazine.

Delta-8 THC dropped on the cannabis industry like a nuclear weapon.

The establishment didn’t take kindly to new competition: Regulated marijuana companies and politicians flipped out, and the lab-created cannabinoid left both sides frozen like two superpowers in the Cold War.

Where was D-8 coming from? And why were these upstart cannabis formulators allowed to bypass the rules, produce and sell intoxicants (and make big money!) without following established procedures?

Procedures, of course, that include undesirable steps such as:  

  • Waiting months or years for final regulations to be published.
  • Acquiring a license, which usually requires lawyers, consultants and hefty fees.
  • Complying with exhaustive testing and sampling rules—never mind that people have been safely growing and using untested cannabis for centuries.
  • Paying steep taxes at every step.
  • Watching state lawmakers raid those cannabis tax funds to pay for roads, schools and pet projects they ought to be asking all taxpayers to fund instead of fleecing marijuana companies.
  • Urging the same government bureaucrats who tax and regulate the stuffing out of THC to make it harder for other companies to join the market.

In opposing D-8, established cannabis operators joined the government regulators who are all too happy to ban treatments that don’t come through the established pharmaceutical pipeline.

THC and CBD players fired off alarming news releases siding with government regulators to keep these products off store shelves without further research (ignoring the fact that regulators neither suggested nor offered to pay for such research).

It’s a game that leaves cannabis entrepreneurs at all THC levels fighting each other instead of pushing back at how cannabis is overregulated.

The D-8 0pportunity

Just like a nuclear standoff, everyone loses in the delta-8 THC standoff.

As this issue of MJBizMagazine looks at lab-created cannabinoids, I suggest that marijuana operators see the delta-8 THC trend as an opportunity to ask tough questions about the extensive testing and red tape imposed on cannabis.

Most would agree that intoxicating products ought to be regulated, but how? When do regulations go too far?

So, let’s push back. As we examine whether lab-created cannabinoids are a threat or an opportunity, let’s agree that the trend offers all cannabis entrepreneurs the opportunity to ask questions about why marijuana is so often treated like another “sin tax.”

I don’t know whether delta-8 THC trend will fizzle. I don’t know which minor cannabinoids or synthetically converted analogs are coming next.

But I’m sure delta-8 THC should make all cannabis entrepreneurs reconsider the status quo. Rather than ask why lab-created cannabinoids don’t have more rules, ask why other extracts from the plant have so many.

Kristen Nichols covers hemp for MJBizMagazine. She can be reached at kristen.nichols@staging-hempindustrydaily.kinsta.cloud.