Bill seeks to close sales loophole for pot-related substance

House Bill 611 aimed at prohibiting sales of Delta-8 products in stores
Delta 8image

Pending state legislation would close a loophole that allows retail outlets in New Hampshire to sell gummies, vape canisters and other products containing an intoxicating substance similar to the active ingredient in marijuana.

These so-called delta-8 products are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and pose serious health risks, according to the federal agency.

House Bill 611 is aimed at prohibiting sales of these products, which are now available in stores throughout the state.

The bill passed the Senate last week, and would become law with House approval and the governor’s signature.

The loophole comes from a 2018 federal law that approved the sale and possession of hemp — a type of cannabis used in the manufacture of rope, yarn and burlap — while strictly limiting the amount of delta-9 THC that could be included. Delta-9 THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

But the law was silent on delta-8, a substance that can also be intoxicating in sufficient quantities.

This led companies to manufacture delta-8 products that can make a user feel “high,” said Matt Simon, director of public and government relations for Prime Alternative Treatment Centers, which dispenses medical marijuana in New Hampshire.

“The biggest concern is that there is no regulation of these products,” he said.

“They are being sold at various retailers, including some gas stations, convenience stores and vape shops. There’s no requirement for an ID check. There’s no requirement that the products be independently lab-tested.”

Dr. Karen Simone, director of the Northern New England Poison Center in Maine, said that from May 2021 to March 2023, the center received eight calls from people in Maine, NH and Vermont who reported problems after ingesting the substance. Some ended up going to a healthcare facility.

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