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Jun 14 - 2021
Delta 8 THC, a hot new cannabis product that has swept across New York in the past year, now appears to be banned under new state Health Department regulations.
The new regulations, which came out last week, prompted at least one Upstate New York retailer, Empire CBD, to close all six of its locations over the weekend. Delta 8 had become Empire CBD’s top selling product, so it is moving all its operations to Florida, owner Yardley Burgess said. (Online CBD sales to New York will continue, he said).
“There is no way I can keep it going in New York,” said Burgess, whose shops were in Syracuse (Destiny USA), Baldwinsville, Marcellus, New Hartford, Watertown and Buffalo. “Delta 8 is what helped my business grow.”
Delta 8 THC is made from hemp cannabis, not marijuana, but is said to give some users a sense of euphoria similar to a marijuana high. (The THC in marijuana is a type known as Delta 9).
On April 1, New York legalized possession of small amounts marijuana for recreational use by those 21 and older. The state is still working out the details on a legal retail sales program for marijuana, which could take up to year to introduce.
In the past year, the state also established what are likely the nation’s strictest rules on CBD and other derivatives from hemp.
The updates to those rules unveiled last week included a provision declaring that cannabinoid and cannabinol products made through a chemical process called isomerization can no longer be sold in New York. The new rules specified the compounds Delta 8 and Delta 10.
The Health Department appears to consider those to be illegal synthetic products, according to a legal analysis by the Foley & Hoag law firm of Boston.
An email sent to the Health Department this morning by syracuse.com has not yet been answered.
At least 12 other states have also banned Delta 8 THC, including Colorado, one of the first states to legalize marijuana itself.
One Central New York CBD retailer, meanwhile, isn’t sure all Delta 8 products are synthetic, though he isn’t surprised that New York took this step.
Gary Colmey, owner of Gary’s Indoor Garden Supply and CBD Center in Rome, said one of his suppliers stopped shipping him Delta 8 products late last week because of the new New York regulations. Another, based in Austin, Texas, contends its Delta 8 is not made synthetically and may continue to ship it.
“If I can get it, and they tell me it’s not synthetic, then I’ll keep it as long as I can,” Colmey said. He also added that much of his business is in supplies for indoor (home) growing, “and they can’t stop that.”
Delta 8 had been picking up momentum nationwide and in Central New York for the past few months. It could be found on the shelves at many local shops that sell CBD (cannabinol) and other hemp products. It’s sold in forms that can be smoked, vaped or ingested (like gummies).
As with both marijuana and CBD, Delta 8 THC can come in many forms. Local shops have sold it in such options as vape cartridges, tinctures, gummies or “moon rocks,” which are concentrated “nuggets” that can be smoked.
Users have told syracuse.com Delta 8 provides a sense of euphoria that affects the body more than the head, and is frequently used as a sleeping aid.
On a pro-legalization Facebook thread that Colmey administers called Legal In CNY, a commenter lamented the Delta 8 ban after hearing of it last week.
It’s “the one thing I have found that helps me sleep thru the night,” she posted.
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