New Delta-8 THC regulations go into effect in Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. — New regulations on delta-8 and other hemp-derived substances have come into effect in Kentucky as of August 1, 2023, following the passage of House Bill 544. The bill, which introduces new age, shipping, and packaging rules, is seen as a significant step towards ensuring the safety and regulation of legal hemp-derived products sold in the state.

The new regulations are a response to the growing prevalence of hemp-derived cannabinoid products, which are now widely available in various forms, including vape cartridges, gummies, and beverages. These products often advertise their psychoactive effects and include warnings about operating motor vehicles or machinery while under the influence. However, until now, there have been few state or federal health and safety laws regulating their production and sale.

The passage of House Bill 544 marks a significant shift in the state’s approach to regulating these products. The bill imposes age restrictions on the purchase, possession, and use of delta-8 THC and other hemp-derived products determined by regulators to have intoxicating effects on consumers. It also requires that such products meet health and safety testing standards and comply with packaging and labeling requirements to be established through emergency rulemaking.

The bill has been met with approval from various stakeholders, including Matthew Bratcher with Kentucky NORML, who stated, “To be able to put that where it’s 21, plus with these kinds of regulations on it, it makes perfect sense. You don’t want that to get in the hands of underage kids, you know, package resistant. So, I think these are good policies to be put in place.”

The new regulations also have the support of many business owners and hemp industry representatives, both in Kentucky and nationwide. Jonathan Miller, general counsel to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, called the bill “strong legislation” to regulate delta-8 THC and to keep the cannabinoid away from young people.

The regulations are distinct from Senate Bill 47, which legalized medical marijuana. That bill does not go into effect until January 2025.

The regulations come at a time when the legal landscape for hemp-derived products is changing rapidly, both in Kentucky and beyond. The passage of House Bill 544 is part of a broader trend of states seeking to regulate these products more strictly, in response to their increasing popularity and the potential risks they pose to public health and safety.

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