AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The state surprised CBD stores and convenience stores across Texas by updating its guidance for Schedule 1 Controlled Substances recently to include commonly-sold hemp product, Delta 8.
But industry leaders say the only communication the state has given the public so far is a brief update to the wording on their website.
Capital CBD American Shaman store owner Michael Sterling said nearly 35% of his store’s sales are from Delta 8 products.
“I’ve got products generally in every form, from gummies to some vape cartridges and tinctures as well,” Sterling said, “A lot of people use it for sleep. A lot of people use it for pain relief.”
It’s gained popularity over the last three years.
“You will find it at pretty much any CBD shop, smoke shop, and even on the shelves of many convenience stores now,” Zachary Maxwell with Texas Hemp Growers explained.
Federally, it’s legal. It’s less potent than Delta 9, the THC component in marijuana.
Current law gives the state’s health commissioner the authority to reject federal drug regulations. Back in May, DSHS associate commissioner Stephen Pahl said in a committee hearing the state was pushing to add it to its list of Schedule 1 substances because it can be synthetically enhanced.
“Because there are other compounds, or deltas or isomers, of THC that have pharmacological or psychoactive properties, Commissioner of Health opted to object, those schedules,” Pahl said in a Senate committee hearing.
Sterling said he was blindsided by the state’s latest update this month.
“Something could have been communicated along the lines so we have an idea,” he said.
Sterling said the state needs to step up its outreach, and regulate Delta 8 products rather than ban them.
“We need to be sure that whoever selling is educating the customer and that it’s not in every, you know, convenience store or any shop that just has a license to sell products,” Sterling said.
Maxwell agrees that regulation is needed.
“The state should be more concerned about making sure that these products are manufactured responsibly, instead of pushing them to the black market,” Maxwell explained.
Currently, law enforcement officials would be tasked with testing the drug and charging anyone caught with Delta 8.
Maxwell said he already knows of Texans being arrested for it.
“I have it on good authority from a top attorney in this state that there have been over six arrests in the last 90 days. And in all cases, they are facing felony possession charges,” he said.
DSHS did not respond to Nexstar Media’s email or phone requests for comment on the recent update, or how the agency would be investigating cases moving forward, if at all.