CODY — The Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Judiciary Committee is going to spend its interim session working to close a legal “loophole” that currently makes cannabis compound Delta 8 easy for young residents to purchase.

Committee member Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R-Cody, noted during the meeting that Delta 8 was a particular concern in Cody, where “we’ve had several students go to the ER as the result of this loophole in the law and this product being available.”

During its first meeting of the interim in Sheridan on April 24, the committee heard from Sarah Barrett, senior forensic analyst for the state of Wyoming, about the challenges posed by the current state statute.

Barrett said the root of the problem is that Delta 8 can be both naturally occurring in small quantities in a hemp plant — which is legal under current statute — and can also be synthetically created from cannabidiol or CBD, which is not legal.

Barrett said that, due to how limited the supply of natural Delta 8 is, she assumes the vast majority of Delta 8 products being sold statewide are synthetic products.

The problem, Barrett said, is that, on the molecular level, both types of Delta 8 are basically identical so there is no way to determine whether the product being sold complies with state statute or not.

“There’s no scientific way to prove how that Delta 8 THC came to be — if it was in fact naturally occurring or if it was synthetically converted,” Barrett said. “...There’s no scientific way to determine the origin of the Delta 8 THC.”

Barrett asked the committee to consider changing statute to treat the two forms of Delta 8 alike.

“Having Delta 8 THC in two different areas … I think that obviously is an issue,” she said. “So I’d like that to be cleared up.”

Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation Commander Robert “Ronnie” Jones also spoke in favor of the change, but asked that the committee consider delaying the effective date of the new law in order to provide law enforcement with time to educate businesses on the changes and how they will be impacted.

Rodriguez-Williams said that Delta 8 was a “public health issue” and it would behoove the state to address the issue sooner than later. She asked Jones if law enforcement could start educating businesses on the changes now, which would allow for a more immediate effective date.

Jones said this was possible but noted there was no guarantee the legislature could actually approve the statute change. He said it might make more sense to educate businesses after the law was actually passed.

Students from Cody High School’s Youth for Justice program have spent recent months lobbying for changes to Delta 8 laws in front of both the Cody City Council and the Wyoming Legislature. In front of the latter body, they supported House Bill 137, which would forbid the sale of cannabidiol products to — and purchase by — minors under the age of 21. The bill ultimately did not pass the legislature.

“This school year, we have seen an increase of student suspensions due to the use and possession of Delta 8,” CHS Assistant Principal Beth Blatt said in the Youth for Justice literature about the bill. “... Our younger students are walking into the alleys around school and smoking Delta 8 during the lunch hour. On four separate occasions, students have come into the office ... asking for help because they feel out of control due to taking this drug. We sent these students with their parents to the emergency room.”

The judiciary committee requested the Legislative Service Office to develop a bill draft closing the Delta 8 loophole, which will be considered at the committee’s next meeting scheduled for Sept. 18 and 19 in Casper.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.