HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Texas Department of State Health Services posted on their Consumable Hemp Program that the Delta-8 cannabidiol (CBD) is a Schedule 1 Substance, meaning it is now a felony to possess or sell it.
“They sell it at gas stations, at all the smoke shops, that’s going to be a great percentage of loss,” said Trevor Kocaoglan, owner of Rio CDB RGV shop and CBD farmer.
Delta-8 is a substance found in both illegal marijuana plants and CBD hemp plants, but Delta-8 does not have the same psychoactive components as marijuana, according to Kocaoglan.
“You cannot get high or stoned, or any psychoactive effects off of Delta-8,” said Kocaoglan.
However, Kocaoglan says that DSHS’s announcement was not made clear enough and was not made known to the hundreds of Delta-8 manufacturers and retailers across the state of Texas.
“They said Delta-8 was illegal, they put it on their website, and we just kind of found out through word of mouth,” said Kocaoglan.
By DSHS placing it on the schedule 1 substance list, anyone caught with it could face a felony punishable up to 2 years in prison and a fine as much as $10,000.
“This is something they should’ve done or maybe talked about doing when they passed the hemp bill or farm bill in 2018,” said Kocaoglan.
Kocaoglan is referring to a U.S. Bill passed stating that hemp plants below .3% THC are legal to manufacture and sell, which Kocaoglan said Delta-8 should be made legal by these standards.
Now, other local retailers are not sure how this will affect their small businesses.
“It’s a primary seller, a lot of people come in and ask for it, you take that away and I have nothing else to work with,” said Ruben Meza, Grow Rite CBD shop owner.
Meza said that Delta-8 products are 60% of his revenue and he has been selling them for the past 36 months.
Though Meza had plans to open a third location with a goal of franchising, he said that has to be put on hold. Even worse, Meza says customers who rely on the product will suffer.
“Crohn’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), PTSD from a lot of veterans, come in and specifically ask for Delta-8 products,” said Meza.
Meza said that if DSHS’s new clause truly changes Texas law he believes he will go out of business.
“I know that people think that once it goes into court, only the big guys who have the big companies are getting affected by it, and it’s not true,” said Meza. “This is my livelihood, 6 days out of the week I get up and I come to work.”
Some hemp firms have submitted a restraining order against DSHS’s legal clause and though an Austin judge denied it, there is another hearing scheduled for Nov. 5.