House Agriculture Committee passes bill to close the hemp loophole

One week ago today, the House Agriculture Committee passed an amendment to ban hemp intoxicants like Delta-8 THC, effectively closing the Delta-8 loophole. These dangerous products have flooded America’s gas stations, convenience stores, and smoke shops since 2019. The 2018 Farm Bill inadvertently legalized Delta-8 THC and other THC analogs. Manufacturers sell these products in drinks, vapes and food products appealing to small children.

We thank Reps. Mary Miller of Illinois, Doug LaMalfa of California, and Committee Chair RT Thompson of Pennsylvania for pushing the bill.  A warning issued by the FDA in fall 2021 did little to stop the sale of these products.

Meanwhile, states like Texas debate the issue in the state legislature. Illinois passed a “hemp regulation” bill in the Senate, but failed to pass the bill in the House. The Florida state legislature passed such a bill, but the hemp industry is pushing hard on Governor DeSantis to veto it.

To date, 15 states have banned these products, and we believe a national ban should be enacted. In the past, we’ve written articles about the harmfulness of Delta-8 and other THC analogs.

SAM and CADCA have been pushing the ban

According to Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), closing the loophole is a crucial step in the right direction.  But we need to keep working. SAM urges people to contact their Representatives and Senators on this issue.

Here is an outline of the process that the Farm Bill, and the Miller Amendment, will have to go through before the hemp ban becomes law:

  1. The House of Representatives will need to vote on and pass the Farm Bill.
  2. The Senate Agriculture Committee will soon release their own version of the Farm Bill; this will be different from what the House passed.
  3. The Senate Agriculture Committee will then mark up (adds amendments to and votes on) their version of the Farm Bill. If an amendment banning hemp intoxicants like Delta-8 THC, we will fight to get an amendment vote.
  4. The Senate will vote and pass their version of the Farm Bill.
  5. Select House and Senate members will come together to work out differences in their versions of the Farm Bill to reach a compromise that can pass both chambers. 
  6. The combined bill will be voted on again in the full House and in the full Senate.
  7. The President will then need to sign the bill. 

How a Farm Bill legalized these products


Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill legalizing hemp. Hemp contains mainly CBD.   In that bill, only hemp with no more than .3 percent dry-weight THC was allowed to be grown. 

However, the CBD, made legal by the bill, can be converted –or “isomerized” in a lab — into various THC derivatives. These derivatives become 3 times stronger through the “acetylation” process. 

Because of these processes, legal CBD-based products may cause mental impairments such as psychosis, similar to Delta-9 THC. The FDA has not been able to regulate it, despite several warnings, and admonishments to companies for false claims.

Currently, it is not clear if most poisonings caused by gummies and other edibles are made from Delta-9 THC, or Delta-8 THC.  It’s probably a mixture, with the frequent poisonings of students in California coming from Delta-9.

We know that many of the cannabis-related suicides are connected to vaping Delta-8 THC.  Many cannabis companies support closing the loophole, because sellers of Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC take profits away from the industry. While they argue safety, their bottom line suffers.