Delta-8 in Vermont: Revisiting the Rule

30 March 2022
hemp testing

March 30, 2022 | Montpelier, VT - The Hemp Program is reposting a policy statement from April of 2021 concerning manufacturing and/or labeling of delta-8-THC from CBD derived from hemp by Vermont Hemp Program registrants.  This policy has not changed. Vermont Hemp Program registrants continue to be prohibited from manufacturing and/or labeling products containing delta-8-THC. 

There is a bill, H. 548, currently making its way through the Vermont legislature that addresses delta-8-THC and delta-10-THC, when manufactured from legally produced hemp cannabinoids.  It proposes to place these types of products under the regulatory control of the Cannabis Control Board. 

The Cannabis Control Board is the entity with regulatory authority over adult-use cannabis, and the Medical Marijuana Program. In 2020, Act 164, created a framework for an equitable adult-use cannabis market with the intent of focusing on craft cultivation and products, preserving continuity of services for the existing Medical Marijuana Program and its patients, and protecting the environment, youth, and the consumer. For more information about the Cannabis Control Board, please visit https://ccb.vermont.gov/.


Is the Manufacture of Delta-8-THC or its Use in Hemp Products Permitted under the Vermont Hemp Program?

The short answer is “No”. 

Delta-8-THC is a psychoactive compound (similar to delta-9-THC) that occurs naturally in only very small amounts in hemp.  The natural concentration of delta-8-THC is so low that it is unlikely to have any effects on the consumer.  However, delta-8-THC can be synthetically made from hemp.  As a primary example, cannabidiol (CBD) can be isolated and manufactured or synthesized into delta-8-THC.  Some producers use this chemical process to convert CBD into delta-8-THC and delta-8-THC products.  Manufacturing delta-8-THC from CBD has become a way to create a psychoactive substance under the guise of being derived from legally produced hemp, which by definition does not have high concentrations of psychoactive cannabinoids.

The Vermont Hemp Rules were adopted in May 2020 and ban the “use of synthetic cannabinoids in the production of any hemp product or hemp-infused product.”  Vermont Hemp Rules § 6.3.  So, while naturally occurring delta-8-THC is not barred from hemp or hemp products, Vermont producers cannot manufacture the delta-8-THC cannabinoid from hemp. 

Because the Vermont Hemp Rules expressly prohibit the use of synthetic cannabinoids in hemp products and/or hemp-infused product, Vermont Hemp Program registrants that manufacture and/or label products containing delta-8-THC are violating State law and risk enforcement by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.   In addition, delta-8-THC manufactured from hemp may be a controlled substance under federal and/or State law.  As a result, anyone who uses, possesses, or distributes delta-8-THC may face federal and/or State criminal sanctions.

While delta-8-THC cannot be manufactured from hemp, the Vermont Hemp Rules allow producers to create distillates and isolates of hemp’s naturally occurring cannabinoids to create hemp products.   In this process, please note that primary botanical extraction is only permitted by solvent-free mechanical, CO2, ethanol, or lipid methods unless the Secretary approves an alternative extraction method.  See Vermont Hemp Rules § 6.2.  When using solvent based extraction methods, the product must be in compliance with Vermont Hemp Rules Section 8, and analytical contaminant results must demonstrate that the final product does not exceed Cannabis Quality Control Program action limits.

Find the Vermont Hemp Rules here: https://agriculture.vermont.gov/sites/agriculture/files/documents/PHARM/hemp/Vermont_Hemp_Rules_effective_05_21_20.pdf.

Cannabis Quality Control Program action limits here: https://agriculture.vermont.gov/sites/agriculture/files/documents/PHARM/hemp/FINAL_cannabis_testing_tables_10-16-20.pdf.

Hemp is an important and burgeoning agricultural product.  To maintain recent industry gains, it is important that Hemp Program registrants manufacture hemp products that do not violate the Vermont Hemp Rule and federal law, and that consumers understand what they are buying.  Toward that end, synthetic delta-8-THC—and other synthetic cannabinoids—are not allowed in hemp products.

For more information, please contact Stephanie Smith, stephanie.smith@vermont.gov or 802-661-8051.

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