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Another Kansas district attorney warns delta-8 retailers



The district attorney in Douglas County, Kansas, is warning shopkeepers to take delta-8 THC products off their shelves, reports the Lawrence Journal-World. Douglas County, home to the University of Kansas (KU) in Lawrence, sits near the eastern border of Kansas, between Topeka and Kansas City.


June 14, DA Suzanne Valdez released a statement on the office’s position regarding delta-8, and a copy of a notice sent to retailers.


“Presently, there appears to be a great deal of confusion and misinformation regarding the legal status of delta-8 THC,” the statement reads.


Valdez goes on to cite an opinion issued by the Kansas Attorney General’s Office in December calling delta-8 THC products “unlawful to possess or sell” beyond trace concentrations of 0.3 percent.


Although the state AG’s opinion clashes with the stance of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and a federal court of appeals, it has prompted action in the state. In Johnson County, near Kansas City, District Attorney Steve Howe announced in February that his office had issued notices to businesses advising them of a March 20 deadline to stop selling delta-8 products. And CBD shops were raided in Topeka in late April, with law enforcement targeting hemp-derived THC. Shop owners maintained that their products were legal according to state and federal law.


“Taking into account the prevailing public health, safety, and welfare interests, this office will prosecute distribution and sale of delta-8 in Douglas County. … Should the Kansas Legislature choose to revisit the legal status of Delta-8, then this office is certainly willing to reassess its position on this issue.”

— Douglas County District Attorney Suzanne Valdez


What is delta-8? It's a compound with a chemical structure similar to that of delta-9 THC, the most abundant form of naturally-occurring THC. And like delta-9, it has a psychotropic effect — though users report its potency is milder. Unlike delta-9, it's typically sourced from hemp and is not explicitly banned at the federal level. State laws governing the substance vary, but Kansas law (like federal law) does not regulate any THC isomer except delta-9.


In the statement, DA Valdez explained that the office’s typical strategy is to prosecute distribution of THC rather than end users in possession of small quantities. And that’s how the the office plans to address delta-8.


“[T]aking into account the prevailing public health, safety, and welfare interests, this office will prosecute distribution and sale of delta-8 in Douglas County,” DA Valdez wrote. “… Should the Kansas Legislature choose to revisit the legal status of Delta-8, then this office is certainly willing to reassess its position on this issue.”


The notice sent to Douglas County retailers also cites the AG’s December opinion, and asks shopkeepers to stop selling delta-8 THC.

“We are providing your business written notice of the illegality of marketing and/or selling delta-8 THC products to consumers,” the letter says. “We ask that you voluntarily remove these products from your store shelves and no longer sell them to consumers.”

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