GOP Gov. Mike DeWine Pushes For Crackdown On Unregulated Intoxicating Hemp In Ohio And Nationwide

During a Friday press conference, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine called on lawmakers to ban Delta-8 and Delta 10 THC and their derivatives found in unregulated hemp edibles and inhalable products, which are often referred to as “intoxicating hemp.”

“It is intoxicating, it is something that needs to be banned, and again, the legislature could ban it,” said DeWine. “These hemp products can be sold anywhere in the state of Ohio, and we have no jurisdiction, we have no laws to prohibit that, we can do absolutely nothing.”

What Is Intoxicating Hemp And Why Is It Uncontrolled?

These unregulated and untested intoxicating hemp-derived products have exploited a loophole created by the 2018 Farm Bill, which categorizes any cannabis product with less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC (the primary psychoactive component in cannabis) as hemp and legalized its sale across the country. This opened the door for gas stations, convenience stores and CBD shops to stock their shelves with potentially potent yet unregulated substances.

To address this loophole, State Senator Steve Huffman (R) is drafting a standalone bill to regulate intoxicating hemp. Huffman said he wants to make sure it strikes a balance between protecting public health and preventing undue burden on legitimate CBD retailers, reported the Statehouse News Bureau

“There are excellent CBD products out there,” Huffman said in an interview. “But others, manufactured in a way that is dangerous and potentially intoxicating, need regulation.”

Huffman said that an earlier version of regulations regarding Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC was taken out of the state budget in the summer of 2023.

DeWine made the comments about intoxicating hemp in a press conference about his recent executive order to ban a bill that would restrict transgender healthcare, which earned him a public thrashing from Donald Trump, who called the governor a “stiff.”  

Shifting toward the cannabis issue, DeWine also urged the legislature to focus its efforts on getting the cannabis industry up and running in a hurry.

“I would just say that since the house is coming back next week, this might be a good time to take on and deal again with something that they did not do, which is to deal with the marijuana issue,” DeWine said. The Senate is not scheduled for its first session of 2024 until later in January. 

Photo: Benzinga edit with images by Vivien McClain Photography via Wikimedia Commons and Alesia Kozik via Pexels

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