KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A package of legislation signed into law this week in Lansing will regulate delta-8 THC, a synthetic substance derived from hemp.

Products made with the substance can produce a high similar to marijuana and were previously not regulated in the state in the same way as delta-9 THC, which is found in cannabis. 

Jevin Weyenberg, the co-owner of Lake Effect provisioning center in Portage, does not sell delta-8 products that are currently available because they do not meet his standards.

“The problem with delta-8 really is that right now it’s an unregulated product so it doesn’t go through any of the stringent testing that all the products in our industry does go through,” Weyenberg explained.

Delta-8 products are readily available across the state and are sold by a variety of businesses. 

“Pretty much anywhere, any gas station or liquor store has these for sale on a front display right by any cash register that you walk up to because it sells,” Weyenberg said.

State Rep. Jim Lilly, R-Park Township, co-sponsored the regulation legislation that received bipartisan support.

“This is a product that has to be regulated. It’s clearly an intoxicant. It clearly has an impact on public health,” Lilly said.

The new state laws put the substance under the control of the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency and also establish an age limit of 21. Effective Oct. 11, it will be illegal for businesses to sell delta-8 unless they are a state-licensed provisioning center.

“Minors could essentially get their hands on this stuff,” Lilly said. “Folks that are buying it that believe they’re educated consumers don’t really know what’s in the product. There was really no testing requirements.”

Scientist Jerome Reed, with Kalamazoo-based Forensic Fluids Laboratories, agreed oversight of delta-8 was needed.

“I am grateful that it is actually being regulated now, that people are paying attention to it,” Reed said.

Inside Forensic Fluid Laboratories in Kalamazoo. (July 16, 2021)

Reed was part of a team that developed a unique oral fluid drug test that can differentiate between delta-9 and delta-8.

“It is synthetic. Whenever you create something in a lab, we don’t know what chemicals they’re using to extract these compounds to put this on the market and so I’m grateful that Michigan had the foresight of you know we need to get ahead of this,” Reed said.