two Colorado Lawmakers have introduced bipartisan legislation to regulate intoxicating cannabinoids derived from hemp including the compound most commonly delta-8 THC. The measure, Senate Bill 271, was introduced earlier this month by Republican Sen. Kevin Van Winkle and fellow Democrat, Sen. Dylan Roberts.
Last year, Colorado lawmakers passed legislation authorizing the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to begin the process of regulating cannabis with intoxicating cannabinoids including delta-8-THC, a compound that can be produced from CBD. Although not as potent as delta-9 THC, the cannabinoid associated with the classic marijuana high, delta-8’s legality under the 2018 Farm Bill has led to products with the compound being sold at retailers including department stores and smoke shops. Often, products are marketed without restrictions such as maximum potency or minimum age for buyers.
Legislation passed in 2022 also created a task force to investigate intoxicating cannabis products and make recommendations for legislation and administrative rules. The recommendations made by the task force were then used as a basis Senate Bill 271According to the sponsors of this measure.
“Anyone, including teens, can buy super-effective products online.” said Truman Bradleya task force member and CEO of the Marijuana Industry Group, a trade association for regulated cannabis businesses in Colorado.
The bill regulates the serving size of Delta-8 THC
Under the new legislation, cannabis products containing more than 2.5 milligrams of delta-8 THC will be regulated and sold only at licensed cannabis dispensaries in the state. Sale of Delta-8-THC products through unregulated outlets such as convenience stores or online retailers is prohibited.
Senate Bill 271 also mandates CDPHE to regulate and register cannabis products, including certain intoxicating cannabis products. The Department of State Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division regulates intoxicating products through administrative rules that would either allow or prohibit chemical modification, conversion, or synthetic derivation of cannabinoid compounds to create certain types of intoxicating cannabis. The agency will also be responsible for defining labeling and advertising requirements, production and testing rules, and inspection and record-keeping standards.
Van Winkle said he has some concerns about the legislation, which may be subject to amendment as the bill works its way through the legislative committee process.
“The current legislation is very much coming directly from the task force,” said Van Winkle. “Now we’re going to need some changes to it. Right now, I think the limits are a little high.”
“Maybe that’s enough to get people in Colorado excited, especially the kids,” Van Winkle added. “So we may need to lower that limit and then put an overall packet size limit.”
Senate Bill 271 also contains no restrictions on the number of servings that can fit in a package, which leads to the possibility of products with a high amount of delta-8 THC in one package.
“At the moment, the bill does not include a package cap on THC,” Bradley said. “So you can have an unlimited amount of gum, every 2.5 milligrams. That’s a problem.”
In a statement released last week, the marijuana industry group He said The intoxicating cannabis market “sells hundreds of millions of dollars in completely unregulated, untaxed products annually without identity checks, purchase restrictions, or safety restrictions. Under current law, children can purchase these products, often in the form of popular candy, via Internet and ship it anywhere or even pick it up at a local gas station or grocery store.”
In 2021, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, in collaboration with the Marijuana Enforcement Division and the Revenue Administration, issued a policy note to make it clear that chemical modification or conversion of hemp from industrial hemp is not permitted. But Robert Hoban, an attorney who specializes in cannabis law, said the policy is not enforceable.
“The State of Colorado put out a political statement last year that said you can’t sell these pools in the state,” Hoban said. “This is not the law. This is just a policy note.”
Brett Worley, CEO of cannabis-derived wholesaler MC Neutraceuticals, said he supports the current version of Senate Bill 271.
“I really don’t think there is any risk or concern with taking milligrams and a half milligrams of a hemp-derived cannabis product,” Worley said, adding that he believes parents should take responsibility for children’s well-being.
He said, “I think, like any medicine, they should be locked up somewhere a child can’t get to them.”
Senate Bill 271 has been assigned to the Senate Finance Committee, which has scheduled a hearing on the legislation for April 18.