Latest version would allow adult use and establish a 5 percent tax on hemp-derived products.
Tennessee lawmakers have amended a bill that would have made delta-8 and other hemp-derived THC products illegal across the state, reports WBIR Channel 10 News. Instead, they’re opting to allow sales for ages 21 and up, and institute a 5 percent sales tax.
The previous version of the bill, House Bill 1927, eliminated distinctions between THC isomers, making them all illegal in concentrations above 0.3 percent.
Currently the 0.3 percent THC threshold applies only to delta-9 THC, the most well-known form of THC.
Hemp-derived THCs are extracted from hemp as CBD, then chemically converted into THC. Although it’s possible to turn CBD into delta-9 THC, processors generally make closely-related isomers like delta-8 and delta-10 because they’re legal by the letter of the law.
Details of the Bill
The bill — sponsored by Republicans William Lamberth in the House and Richard Briggs in the Senate — would redefine “marijuana” to include hemp products with THC concentrations over 0.1 percent. (Hemp products could still contain up to 0.3 percent delta-9, which is already the law for non-intoxicating hemp products like CBD.)
The amended rules also include new standards for licensing, testing and labeling.
Processors making hemp-derived THC products and the retailers who sell them would be licensed through the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. The department would have oversight and enforcement authority, and would be required to conduct random, unannounced inspections of shops selling hemp-derived THC. The annual licenses would be set at $500 for manufacturing and $250 for retail.
Any product containing a hemp-derived cannabinoid would have to undergo third-party testing by an accredited lab. Labels must include a code that links to testing results. They must also show milligram measurements of cannabinoids per serving and the total amount of in the package. Packaging could not appeal to children (no “superheroes, comic book characters, video game characters, television show characters, movie characters, mythical creatures, [or] unicorns”) and would be required to be child-resistant.
The 5 percent “sin tax” would be in addition to regular sales taxes. The revenue it generates will be used to fund oversight and enforcement of hemp-derived THC.
The bill explicitly says that it doesn’t permit operating a vehicle under the influence of a hemp-derived cannabinoid, nor any task that would be negligent to do so. It also notes employers aren’t required to accommodate the use of a hemp-derived cannabinoids in the workplace, and protects them in continuing or establishing drug-free workplace programs.
If the bill passes, the age restrictions would go into effect July 1. The additional tax and standards for licensing, testing and labeling would go into effect Jan. 1, 2023.