What is Hemp-derived Delta 9 THC?
Why is it Causing a Stir in the Cannabis Industry?
When you think of cannabis, one of the first things that comes to mind is the psychoactive cannabinoid THC. Delta-9 THC, the compound that causes intense psychoactive effects, is present in all varieties of the cannabis plant including both marijuana and hemp. However, the main difference between these two plants is that hemp has a low THC content, while marijuana is predominately THC. Structurally Delta-9 THC is identical in both hemp and marijuana, while its only distinction is the source it came from.
Delta-9 Loophole in the Farm Bill
The 2018 Farm Bill, while legalizing hemp at a federal level, set a limit of the amount of Delta-9 THC to be no more than .3% by dry weight. Therefore, some may say that hemp-derived Delta-9 is within the legal loophole of the Farm Bill, so long as it doesn’t exceed the .3% by dry weight limit. While .3% seems like a small amount, it can still have as much THC as a recreational marijuana product, depending on how you interpret the Farm Bill. Here is an example of a company selling these types of products:
As you can see, this company is blantately taking advantage of the Farm Bill. Each gummy is 5 grams which equates to 5,000 mg total weight. In the context of the THC regulation of .3% dry weight, a 5,000 mg gummy could contain up to 15 mg THC. The gummies above contain 10 mg Delta-9 THC, so technically it is within the legal bounds of the Farm Bill.
This company even goes as far as explaining the legal hopscotch they play to be “Farm Bill compliant”. This example represents a trend of companies using the dry weight of edible products to their advantage and including as much THC as possible so they can be marketed as a hemp-derived THC product.
Marijuana Products Disguised as Hemp
Hemp-derived Delta-9 has created friction in the cannabis industry between hemp and marijuana businesses. While marijuana businesses must follow a strict set of regulations, hemp businesses do not. Since Marijuana is federally illegal, there are strict tax limitations for marijuana businesses as seen in the IRS Section 280E which applies to any sales of marijuana, including state-lawful ones. 280E makes it so marijuana businesses are prevented from deducting ordinary business expenses. These can be things such as rent, marketing, and payroll. Since hemp is federally legalized, hemp businesses are not required to be subject to IRS 280E.
Special licenses that are costly and time-consuming are needed to operate a marijuana business, while hemp businesses need no such licenses. This allows hemp businesses to quickly thrive on e-commerce platforms, while marijuana businesses must begin with brick-and-mortar dispensary storefronts. Prior to the SAFE banking act, marijuana businesses are being forced to operate on a cash basis, while hemp businesses, though having hoops to jump through, have less banking worries. These companies that are marketing hemp-derived Delta-9, are in actuality selling marijuana products, all while avoiding the sanctions in place for marijuana businesses.
Take for example this marijuana product sold in dispensaries. It has the same exact amount of THC per gummy as the “hemp product” shown above.
Kazmira Denounces Hemp-Derived Delta-9
Due to discrepancies in guidelines for marijuana businesses and hemp businesses, it’s easy to see how hemp-derived Delta-9 is causing a stir. The 2018 Farm Bill’s vague language has led to this legal gray area, where hemp-derived Delta-9 is flourishing. At Kazmira we believe this practice is a manipulation of the Farm Bill and we denounce it unequivocally. The hemp industry is not about THC, which is why Kazmira removes all traces of THC compounds in our CBD extracts. For the sake and spirit of the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill, we hope the law is amended to close the loopholes and remove the ambiguity around THC in hemp products.