Arkansas Legalized Delta 8 Without Fanfare

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As of July 28, Delta 8 is legal to purchase, possess, and consume in Arkansas. Notably, this is the first time a state which previously classified Delta 8 as a controlled substance changed its stance. Delta 8 went from illegal to now fully legal in Arkansas. Plus, all of this happened with little publicity. In short, the bill, HB 1640, passed both the House and the Senate in March and the bill was sent to Governor Asa Hutchinson, R, at the beginning of April.

Previous Law

Previously, Arkansas defined Delta 8 as a Schedule IV drug. To clarify, schedule VI drugs are classified as having a very low risk of physical dependency. This classification isn’t as strict as the federal classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug. However,  this classification still labeled Delta 8 as a dangerous substance to the general public of Arkansas. The law used to say

“(a) In addition to any substance placed in Schedule VI by the Director of the Department of Health under § 5-64-214, any material, compound, mixture, or preparation, whether produced directly or indirectly from a substance of vegetable origin or independently by means of chemical synthesis, or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis, that contains any quantity of the following substances, or that contains any of their salts, isomers, and salts of isomers when the existence of the salts, isomers, and salts of isomers is possible within the specific chemical designation, is included in Schedule VI:

(1) Marijuana;
(2) Tetrahydrocannabinols;
(3) A synthetic equivalent of:
(A) The substance contained in the Cannabis plant; or
(B) The substance contained in the resinous extractives of the genus Cannabis”

New Law

Now, Arkansas has legalized Delta 8 by aligning its hemp act to that of the Farm Bill, which federally legalized Delta 8 in 2018. Presently the new law reads:

SECTION 2. Arkansas Code Title 2, Chapter 15, is amended to add an additional subchapter to read as follows:

Subchapter 5 — Arkansas Industrial Hemp Production Act

2-15-503. Definitions.

(5) “Industrial hemp” means the plant Cannabis sativa and any part of the plant, including the seeds of the plant and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, that contains a tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of no more than that adopted by federal law under the Agricultural Marketing Act, 7 U.S.C. § 1639o, as it existed on January 1, 2021”

Future

Arkansas citizens can cheer now that Delta 8 is legal in their state. But as always, laws are subject to change. Research the rules and regulations in your state before purchasing and consuming Delta 8. 

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