KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The debate over Delta 8 is leaving some confused, and others out of luck. It comes from hemp and cannabis plants. A recent legal decision in the State of Kansas changed its classification to a controlled substance.
You’ve probably seen signs, ads, and flags along the road for Delta 8 throughout the metro. In Missouri, it’s legal. You can use it without issue. However, in Kansas, it could be considered possession depending on how interested counties are in prosecuting it.
It’s not a new strain of COVID or an airliner. It’s part of the cannabis plant with milder side effects.
“It’s been referred to as weed little brother, or diet weed if you will. It does have intoxicating effects, but they’re much milder,” co-owner of KC Hemp Co., Heather Steppe said.
KC Hemp Co. is an online store focused on CBD products. Steppe started the company with her husband. She is also the part of the Kansas Cannabis Chamber of Commerce.
“Whether Delta eight is legal or illegal in Kansas, depends very much on who you talk to, and maybe even which county you’re in,” criminal defense attorney, Patrick Lewis said.
Lewis practices in Johnson County and is a member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
Delta 8 is illegal in Kansas and how it became that way is about as complicated as explaining Delta 8 itself. In western Kansas, the Ellis County Attorney prosecuted a case dealing with Delta 8. He says he asked the attorney general’s office for guidance but didn’t get much of a response. The outcome of the case categorized Delta 8 as a controlled substance.
“They’re using this language as an opportunity to try to charge people with possession of a controlled substance, and the Ellis County attorney is the one who has kind of put that ball in motion,” Steppe said.
On Dec. 2, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued an opinion saying it is unlawful to possess and sell in Kansas if it contains more than 0.3% THC.
“There are 17 different municipalities in Johnson County, and they could go in every direction they wanted to. It’s really a question of does the prosecutor in that jurisdiction, do the police in that jurisdiction wish to try to take on the topic?” Lewis said.
Steppe said they are no longer selling Delta 8 to Kansas customers and she’s hoping to see medical marijuana legalized in the state this year.
“During the offseason, we had a lot of time to educate legislators. And that really is the problem. That is the problem and the solution. There’s a lot of misinformation, there’s a lot of lack of education,” Steppe said.
Steppe is hosting an online conversation about Delta 8 in Kansas and what you need to know on Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. via Zoom.
Medical marijuana is being considered in the Kansas Senate. It passed in the House of Representatives last year. No word on when a decision may be made but if it passes in Kansas, it would be the 38th state in the nation to approve medical marijuana.