Coalition of Scientists, Safety Advocates and Cannabis Industry Groups Unveil Bipartisan Legislation to Regulate Hemp Consumer Products, Prohibit Synthetic THC Intoxicants Such as Delta-8

SPRINGFIELD – A coalition of scientists, safety advocates and cannabis industry groups today unveiled bipartisan legislation to create a long-overdue regulatory framework for hemp consumer products following a proliferation of unregulated THC products that has created confusion across the state and put consumers at risk.

The Hemp Consumer Products Act (SB3926), sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, D-Maywood, would create a regulatory framework for hemp consumer products, establishing standards for licensing, testing and labeling akin to those already in place for cannabis. It would also prohibit synthetic THC intoxicants such as Delta-8 pending further study and review of product safety. The goal of the legislation is to fill the gap left by federal regulators who have left standardization and regulation of hemp to the states. While dozens of other states have taken action, Illinois consumers remain vulnerable without clear guidelines.

Hemp consumer products are products that contain naturally occurring hemp and contain no greater than 0.3 percent of total THC in the end product, such as CBD. Synthetic THC intoxicants such as Delta-8 and Delta-10 are products that are adulterated or chemically modified to concentrate THC, leading to products that are extremely potent.

Licensed cannabis businesses regulated by the state have gone through countless steps to ensure they are operating safely, adhering to detailed rules, including product quality control and testing, a strict ban on sales to anyone under 18, and numerous zoning guidelines including those that prohibit dispensaries from opening next to schools. Applying similar standards to consumer hemp products will allow businesses to continue to sell the safe hemp products many consumers rely on, while preventing access to synthetic THC intoxicants that pose a danger to our communities.

“Regulating the sale of hemp will create a clear distinction between consumer hemp products that have been vetted for use by consumers and synthetic THC intoxicants that are concocted without oversight,” said Tiffany Chappell Ingram, Executive Director of the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois. “This will not only empower consumers, giving them certainty about dosage and ingredients, but also protect children from accessing products that will make them sick.”

“Without establishing guidelines and regulations on hemp products, consumers are vulnerable and unable to make informed decisions,” said Sen. Celina Villanueva, D-Chicago, a sponsor of the bill. “This legislation will ensure proper safeguards are in place to protect small businesses and consumers.”

“Some of these intoxicating products are advertised to the youngest shoppers without any regulation or testing,” said House Deputy Republican Leader Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb. “We wouldn’t allow that in any other industry, so why should these products be treated any differently? It’s time for the state to intervene.”

Key provisions of the bill include:

  • Ensuring continuity of operations for current hemp retailers to continue selling non-intoxicating, consumer-friendly hemp products.
  • Establishing important consumer protections for hemp consumer products, including minimum testing requirements, labeling, advertising, and regulatory oversight to ensure consumers have accurate information and can make informed decisions when purchasing hemp consumer products (such as CBD, CBN, and CBG).
  • Expanding upon current law, providing civil enforcement mechanisms for unlicensed sales of THC products outside the purview of the Cannabis Regulation Tax Act, including deceptive practices violations for targeting THC products to minors.
  • Prohibiting synthetic THC intoxicants (such as Delta-8 and Delta-10) pending further study and review.
  • Establishing a Hemp Synthesized Intoxicants Safety Committee, made up of state public health officials, doctors, scientists, and research experts to study the health impacts, manufacturing, and safety profile of synthetic THC hemp-derived consumer products for licensure and sale in Illinois. The Safety Committee will produce a report to inform product safety and potential manufacturing standards for state regulators and the General Assembly.
  • Inviting retailers who wish to sell intoxicating products to apply for newly-available cannabis dispensary licenses.

“It is important regulations exist so shoppers know what is in the products they consume. Right now, what’s on the label is not always what’s in the bottle,” said Bob Miller, Ph. D., Chief Scientific Officer at ACT Laboratories, Inc., a licensed cannabis testing lab.

These common-sense regulations will protect children and consumers of all ages, while also ensuring the state’s cannabis industry is no longer undermined by stores selling similar products without proper oversight.

“Right now, there are 200 small businesses that have gone through the painstaking cannabis application process and are trying to raise money to open,” said Kareem Kenyatta, co-founder of the Majority-Minority Group, a company dedicated to creating more minority owned businesses in the cannabis industry. “How is the regulated and taxed cannabis industry supposed to survive when someone can open up across the street, call themselves the same thing and operate without any rules?”

“This legislation will put in place safeguards for consumers, while also protecting the investments made by small businesses owners across Illinois, including cannabis businesses and hemp retailers,” said Rep. Nick Smith, D-Chicago, who is sponsoring the legislation in the House. “This is a win-win-win.”

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