PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A bill seeking to bring a measure of regulation to South Dakota’s Delta 8 industry has passed the state House and Senate, and it could soon be signed into law.
HB 1292, brought by Rep. Taylor Rehfeldt (R-Sioux Falls) would limit the sale of Delta 8 THC to those 21 and older. The age limit in the bill would also apply to the sale of THC-O acetate and hexahydrocannabinol (HHC).
In a conversation with KELOLAND News, Rehfeldt said she sponsored the bill because of the current unregulated status of the substances in South Dakota. She also pointed out that there had been a bill earlier in the session seeking to outlaw the substances, but she believes “responsible regulation to support a safe environment” was a better approach.
The original version of Rehfeldt’s bill focused solely on Delta 8, but she says it was expanded to include THC-O and HHC following collaboration with retailers and the cannabis/hemp industry.
These substances, Delta 8, THC-O and HHC are all compounds derived from cannabis, the plant family that includes both marijuana and hemp.
Delta 8: According to Leafly, a cannabis website founded in 2010 that provides, among other things, information about cannabis products, Delta-8 is a cannabis compound derived from hemp that will cause a high similar to that caused by marijuana, though it is much less potent in terms of the overall effect..
THC-O: Again from Leafly, THC-O is a synthetic compound formed by the combining of a flammable compound called acetic anhydride with Delta 8 THC molecules. It is found to be roughly 3x stronger than conventional THC.
HHC: Leafly notes that little is currently known about HHC, but that it was created in 1944 by a chemist who combined hydrogen molecules with conventional THC, creating HHC. Today, it is most commonly derived from the low-THC hemp plant. HHC is said to be similar in effect to Delta 8, though less potent per dose.
While Rehfeldt’s bill deals with age of use, there are other concerns in the industry regarding the lack of regulation in these products. Matthew Jorgenson, CEO of Cannabis Chem Lab, a South Dakota testing company, points to the fact that these hemp-derived products can be sold between states as a factor.
“Due to this, there is going to be an inherent discrepancy in testing standards, testing criteria, and what can and can not be done with it based on each state,” Jorgenson wrote to KELOLAND News.
Leafly references a report from the U.S. Cannabis Council describing the unregulated sale of Delta 8 products as a “crisis.” One of the primary concerns is the lack of control over what is put into Delta 8 products. Without proper regulations, unlicensed manufacturers are able to introduce unapproved and sometimes toxic additives without oversight.
This problem is outlined by the FDA, which warns of the array of additives that may be introduced to the product, including household chemicals.
Rehfeldt acknowledges that further regulation on the industry may be needed. “However,” she notes “it will be important to address those issues with all stakeholders including public health, the hemp/marijuana industry, and the business community.”
Regulating the age of purchase to 21 and up, says Rehfeldt, is a good place to start.
HB 1292 has passed the House and Senate.