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Delta-8 THC Bud at Farmers Market Causes a Stir in Missouri

A stand that sold delta-8 THC hemp ignited controversy at St. Louis’ historic Soulard Farmers Market in the heart of Soulard near downtown. The issue was exacerbated by the fact that the marijuana was being sold in large quantities, drawing more attention. Reportedly the delta-8 THC hemp was sold loosely in bins and a sign allegedly read, “10lbs. for $5,000.”

The Bud Man’s stand at the farmers market was named as the culprit, but the herb isn’t what spectators think it is. The Delta-8 THC smokeable hemp can be distinguished from the high-potency medical marijuana dispensaries in Missouri. However, regulations are generally different. The “Bud Man’s” products fall into the legal CBD category, according to officials with the City of St. Louis.

Soulard Market is overseen by the City of St. Louis Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry. However, the department did not have knowledge of CBD products that were being sold. A representative said that they checked beforehand to ensure that the stand didn’t sell any controlled substances.

“Our department reviewed this particular vendor’s prior request & we worked directly with legal counsel to ensure the necessary compliance with state law guidelines,” Director of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Greg Hayes said in a statement. “We also created an addendum provision regarding the sale of CBD products. According to the city, the vendor provided a notarized certificate that stated all the products sold at the stand had been properly tested. The vendor’s request did not include any Delta 8 products.”

While it’s common to see CBD products and hemp oil products at farmers markets across the country, delta-8 products that resemble smokable cannabis are a different story.

It is frequently disputed whether delta-8 THC products are legal. Delta-9 THC content above 0.3% on a dry weight basis is considered cannabis, which is federally a Schedule 1 drug. Kight Law reports that delta-9 THC, the isomer only of THC, is listed. Delta-8 products, however, are not controlled substances under the DEA. 

Farmers Market organizers weren’t amused. Fox 2 News reports the farmers market organizers were not amused by the display. The stand won’t be permitted back to the market until further notice.

While delta-8 THC may be considered legal under some definitions, the compound is also highly criticized—inside and out of the cannabis community—due to the way the compound is extracted from hemp.

Workers from licensed medical cannabis dispensaries, like Missouri Wild Alchemy based in O’Fallon, Missouri, say the Soulard stand will just cause even more confusion.

“Certainly seeing it in tubs like that on the side of the highway could seem a little concerning to us who are trying to serve the community with lab-tested, quality THC,” said Alexandria Hitchcock of Missouri Wild.

The controversial delta-8 THC products remain controversial within the community. It is made from CBD and converted using a lab process. The conversion of CBD to delta-8 THC involves “refluxing” CBD in an organic solvent, with an acid that serves as a catalyst.

Delta-8 THC is found in a variety of hemp-derived products, including oils, cartridges and gummies. The most common way to smoke is as hemp flower. For now, adult-use cannabis hasn’t been legalized in the state. Safety regulations only apply to medical marijuana.

Missouri’s lawmaker, Ron Hicks, introduced an extensive bill last February to legalize recreational marijuana. Representative Ron Hicks from St. Charles, introduced the Cannabis Freedom Act (or House Bill 2704) in Missouri’s House of Representatives. It would legalize adult cannabis use, regulate recreational marijuana commerce, and exonerate past cannabis-related convictions.