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Delta-8 retailers scramble as Texas ban goes to court: wild weed and wild – News

By on November 6, 2021 0

Elevated Wellness Austin, a CBD retailer located in downtown Austin (Courtesy of Ross Anderson)

When a Travis County judge dismissed a request for an emergency injunction to enforce the recently released Texas ban on Delta-8 products, Seth Cowan, director of ECIG 101, a vaping and tobacco store on Anderson Lane, immediately instructed its employees to remove banned products from store shelves.

“I have no intention of selling anything if it is considered a federal offense,” Cowan said. The setback is minimal for his store, where Delta-8 only represents about 10% of sales. But for many local retailers who have capitalized on the increasingly popular isomer of THC (the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana), the ban on Delta-8 – which the state says has always been illegal in the country. Texas – could be ruinous.

At the end of summer, Ross anderson, COO of retailer CBD High Wellbeing Austin, invested $ 17,000 in Delta-8 gummies for sale in store. If an injunction is not granted after a Nov. 5 hearing in Travis County District Court, Ross said the investment flares up – literally. He will likely burn the product to avoid the potential legal repercussions of possession of a Schedule I controlled substance, which could carry a state prison sentence with a sentence of between 180 days and 2 years. and a fine of up to $ 10,000. The Texas Department of State Health Services, which is responsible for the classification of controlled substances, has not set a disposal program for Delta-8, which is sold in thousands of smokehouses, gas stations and other stores across the state.

Anderson said Delta-8 accounts for between a quarter and a third of his company’s sales, but he believes he could adapt as the store sells other cannabinoids as well. CBD legal products (for now). He said he couldn’t say the same for new businesses, like Delta 8 THC Austin, which came into being over the past year solely to capitalize on the fad of the product, which users believe produces a similar, albeit weaker, effect than regular old marijuana (which contains Delta-9 THC ). He is particularly outraged that state agencies are allowing new companies, some with names like “Delta 8” written in their incorporation documents, to open this year if the DSHS already knew the substance was illegal. In calls last week to at least a dozen large and medium-sized Austin retailers, about half were still selling Delta-8 products. (Delta 8 THC Austin declined to respond if he removed Delta-8 products from its shelves or took the risk of continuing to sell.)

“Many of us wouldn’t be here yet without Delta-8.” – Lukas Gilkey from Hometown Hero

It is still unclear whether local and state law enforcement is willing to enforce the state’s ban. While there have been reports of a handful of possession arrests in recent months, Lukas Gilkey, CEO of retailer and wholesaler Austin CBD Hometown hero, said he had yet to see any evidence that these are not just rumors. In Austin, where city council decriminalized low levels possession of marijuana last year, the risk of enforcement by the Austin Police Department is unlikely. But many retailers don’t take the risk of continuing to sell when state or even federal drug officers could potentially arrest people for possessing or selling Delta-8 as a Schedule I controlled substance – a class of. drugs including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.

Hometown Hero challenges DSHS determination in Travis County lawsuit that sparked November 5 hearing before district judge Gary Harger, who last week denied Gilkey’s request for an injunction blocking the rule. According to Gilkey, this is one of at least four lawsuits that have been filed statewide to challenge the illegality of Delta-8. The Hometown Hero lawsuit is based on the argument that DSHS insufficiently informed the public of the hearing in which it ruled on the classification of the substance.

If lawsuits fail to block the app, Gilkey predicts trouble for the 9,000 people he says work in CBD and tobacco stores across Texas. “The only reason you probably know 75% of these stores didn’t close during COVID shutdowns is because they had Delta-8 for sale,” Gilkey said. “Many of us wouldn’t be here yet without Delta-8.” He also thinks the DSHS classification is absurd for the state, which could tax the product for additional revenue.

Anderson said the focus should not be on banning retailers, but on regulating them. By banning the products, he believes, the state will only create more danger around cannabinoid consumption, not less. “You are only forcing a black market,” he said. “Yeah, you could take it away from us and put it in the hands of a guy on the street, if that’s what you really want to do here, but honestly it’s not a good idea.”

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