AUSTIN, Texas - The state of Texas now says a substance in the same family as marijuana called Delta-8 is illegal to use or sell. This comes as a surprise to many since Delta-8 can be easily found at smoke and CBD shops across the state.
Delta-8 has become so popular recently in the state that the Texas Hemp Growers are estimating the market is worth nearly $50 million in the state.
Delta-8 is a THC compound that can be found in cannabis that can give the user a similar high effect to marijuana just not as strong. "It is a product that is made inside of labs. It starts with the CBD isolate and CBG isolate using chemicals and synthetic solvents and acids. They can actually convert that into Delta-8," said Zachary Maxwell, President of the Texas Hemp Growers.
Over the past year, Delta-8 fell into a "grey area" when it came to whether or not it was legal in Texas. However, the Texas Department of State Health Services updated its website to say "all other forms of THC, including Delta-8 in any concentration and Delta-9 exceeding 0.3%, are considered Schedule I Controlled Substances."
"If you're caught with Delta-8, as much as a cartridge for vaping, or even gummies, then you could be charged with a felony possession and that could be facing a two-year prison sentence as well as up to $10,000 in fines," said Maxwell.
Many shops have been making some serious profits through this, but now that it has been recently deemed illegal, they are questioning if the state can do this.
"It's a shame and, as a business owner, it definitely will be a big loss of income, and it's not just the money, we are here also to help customers," said Oz Millman, Owner of Green Herbal Care.
Millman says he had to hear about the Delta-8 update from his customers. He says most of his inventory is some form of Delta-8 and makes up for most of his profit.
Despite what DSHS has released on its website, Millman says he has decided to keep Delta-8 products on his shelves for now until a judge makes an official ruling, and he can get a clear answer.
"We had something similar before last year. The DSHS tried to ban smokable hemp. We were afraid of the beginning, but then they got sued and they lost because they don't have authority so it's not their decision to make and I'm pretty sure it's going to happen again," said Millman.
Millman agrees there needs to be more clarification on Delta-8, and that'll come with a lawsuit. "There needs to be legal action. There needs to be a judge that issues an injunction so that this is no longer a ‘maybe it's legal, maybe it's not’. It needs to be affirmed yes or no," he said.