Last Wednesday, the Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee passed an amendment that could potentially ban both Delta 8 and Delta 10, two low-potency strains of CBD.

This is being vehemently opposed by leaders and retailers in the hemp industry. Delta 8 and 10, both of which have become popular products in hemp businesses recently, help users with general anxiety, pain and mood elevation, all without the effects of getting high like marijuana offers.

Sonya Lowrey, the owner of Tuscaloosa’s Freedom CBD & Wellness, has been involved in the hemp business since June 2019 and takes CBD products to help with chronic pain and inflammatory-related illnesses. CBD products can come in a variety of forms, such as gummies, smokable flower, oils, capsules and even coffee.

“It really changed my quality of life,” Lowrey said. “It decreased my pain, helped my mood, helped me sleep better…it helped me tremendously.”

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Delta 8 and Delta 10 are relatively similar to CBD. While both strains have low potency levels, Delta 8 is significantly less commanding in comparison to Delta 10.

“They really elevate your mood without being ‘stoned’ and lazy, like if you had smoked marijuana,” said Lowrey.”

This provision's journey through the Alabama legislature is not a clear one. House Bill 2, which is now headed to the state Senate, was introduced by Alabama State Rep. Sen. Mike Holmes, R-Wetumpka. Holmes' bill seeks to ban tianeptine, an antidepressant that has been known, in large quantities, to affect the body the same way an opioid might.

This bill flew through the House, 101-0, then was taken into consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Instead of introducing his own legislation regarding Delta 8 and Delta 10, state Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur decided to tack banning the products onto the already popular HB2.

The bill passed with a 6-3 vote.

Now, both Delta 8 and 10 may be added to Alabama’s controlled substances list if the bill makes it through the Senate. The COVID-19 pandemic had caused an economic plummet in the CBD and hemp industry, but the development of Delta 8 products has proved to be a saving grace to struggling businesses.

“Things had really slowed down on the CBD and hemp side of things,” Lowrey said.

Hemp flour and hemp biomass are key elements in CBD oil. When the industry experienced an influx of these ingredients, their prices fell dramatically. Delta 8 created a new demand for these excess supplies, thus revitalizing the hemp industry again.

“When it hit the market, it just blew up,” Lowrey said. “Delta 8 basically brought the CBD and hemp industry back.”

The legal production of Delta 8 not only serves as an alternative form of pain relief but also an economic stimulant. Delta 8 provides a huge margin of revenue for stores like Freedom CBD & Wellness – something they hadn't seen in at least a year. According to Lowrey, some stores might have “40-75% of their monthly revenue” attributed to Delta 8 products.

For hemp store owners like Lowrey, this ban feels like “fighting a losing battle.”

“Stores will sell inferior products that might not be tested,” she said. “That always hurts the industry.”

Selling CBD products that are not properly tested can be detrimental to the reputation of the hemp industry. Testing not only ensures the quality of the cannabis but also checks for metals, pesticides or residual solvents.

“CBD stores have taken the steps,” Lowrey said. “We have the lab reports. We have tested these products. We know they are good, and we just want to be able to sell them to our customers that need them.”

The Senate is set to consider HB2 sometime this week. With only 11 days left in the 2021 Alabama regular legislative session as of Tuesday, there should be more chatter coming from Montgomery regarding the bill's developments very soon.

Stay tuned here for more updates on the fate of Delta 8 as they become available or visit Freedom CBD & Wellness’ Facebook page.

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