Vt. regulators to crack down on synthetic cannabis

Published: May. 10, 2023 at 5:38 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The state of Vermont is cracking down on synthetic cannabis which officials say is creating confusion in the state’s fledgling legal marketplace.

Delta 8 and delta 10 are synthetic cannabis. They contain the same molecules -- and psychoactive THC found in pot -- but in a different order. And while the synthetic versions are available to purchase online -- or at some stores -- the state is now cracking down.

Good Stuff in Burlington is a store that brands itself as “a store for adults” It has four locations in Vermont and one in Plattsburgh and Florida.

The owner, Thomas Massey, says untill recently he was selling delta 8 gummies. delta-8, which is processed from hemp, has been banned by Vermont agriculture officials for a few years. But because hemp and cannabis are both legal now, It was a grey area for some.

“I was under the impression that it was a different form of CBD,” Massey said.

But the Cannabis Control Board last month put out an emergency ruling to regulate and ban sales of delta 8 and delta 10 in Vermont in stores not regulated by the state. “What are the consequences? I didn’t want to find out. I try to comply, so I took it off,” Massey said.

But another store, the Vermont Grow Shop and Seed Bank in St. Albans, is still promoting that they sell delta 8. We visited the store to learn more about the delta 8 they advertised in the window. After initially showing us the product behind the counter, we went back 10 minutes later and it was gone.

James Pepper, chair of the Cannabis Control Board, says the crackdown is to help the regulated and legal cannabis market and that products with delta 8 were not following the state’s labeling or testing rules. “When you have people creating products with delta 8 in them, they’re claiming that they’re totally unregulated,” Pepper said. “We needed this rule, in effect, so we can start the enforcement, start moving these products off the shelves or funneling them through our existing medical or existing cannabis dispensaries.”

But store owners like Massey say the change is confusing. “That’s the problem - they make all these rules and not everybody follows them.” he said.

Pepper says education will be the state’s first approach to enforcement but that fines or even shutting down stores selling delta 8 and delta 10 are possible.

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