HomeNewsArizona AG: Unlicensed Hemp THC Sales Unlawful

Arizona AG: Unlicensed Hemp THC Sales Unlawful

Arizona State Attorney General Kris Mayes has weighed in with a legal opinion on the sale of intoxicating hemp derived products in her state.

Perceived loopholes in the federal 2018 Farm bill gave rise to the manipulation of hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) into various forms of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In some states, including Arizona, delta-8 THC products have proliferated and been made available through various retail locations – including gas stations and convenience stores rather than just state licensed dispensaries.

That such products are so widely available – including to minors* in some cases – has seen states scrabbling to get on top of the situation; with some opting for regulation and others an outright ban.

AG Mayes was asked for her legal opinion whether Arizona law allows for an entity without appropriate licensing to sell products containing hemp-synthesized cannabinoids such as delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, delta-10 THC, or any other product “synthetically converted” from naturally occurring cannabidiol (“CBD”) – or other cannabinoids – into intoxicating substances.

In short, her response was pretty clear – a hard “no”, irrespective of any failings in the 2018 Farm Bill.

“Arizona broadly defines cannabis to include “[t]he resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus cannabis, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of such plant, its seeds or its resin,” and “[e]very compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of such resin or tetrahydrocannabinol,” states the Attorney General.

As Arizona continues to list both cannabis and marijuana as Schedule 1 controlled substances, with some exceptions for industrial hemp but not specifically including “extracts” and “derivatives” – this forms part of the basis for the AG’s legal opinion.

Additionally, AG Mayes stresses that her opinion should not be viewed as endorsing the of the sale of hemp-derived intoxicants by those with licenses.

“… these products may pose public health concerns and information about these products is still emerging.”

It remains to be seen what happens next with regard to unlicensed businesses selling hemp-derived THC products in the state, but some have raised concerns it will have a negative impact on Arizona’s hemp CBD industry too, as cannabidiol is an extract.

AG Mayes’ full opinion and references can be viewed here.

* 11.4% of more than 2,100 US 12th-grade students surveyed self-reported delta-8 THC consumption in 2023 according to a study published in JAMA.

Steven Gothrinet
Steven Gothrinet has been part of the Hemp Gazette in-house reporting team since 2015. Steven's broad interest in cannabis was initially fueled by the realisation of industrial hemp's versatility across multiple sectors. You can contact Steve here.

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