The term legalization can scare people into believing that social issues will become worse. For example, when asked about legalizing cannabis, people fear that crime rates will go up. They also fear teens and young kids will have easier access to cannabis. Plus the police won’t be able to keep up with all of the demands legalization would put on them.
However, research shows that this doesn’t happen. In fact, studies in 2018 showed the very opposite happening. Why’s that? There are rules and regulations followed with dispensaries and store fronts. Because there are more people interested in products like Delta 8 THC, more traffic comes to the area and increases revenue for other local businesses as well.
But cannabis isn’t the only thing to make waves in the community. A cannabinoid found in cannabis, called Delta 8 THC, is causing quite a stir. Delta 8 is helping rebuild communities across the states. Because of its similarity with cannabis, specifically marijuana, people are scared of what Delta 8 may do. Plus, addiction could possibly ruin their lives. To understand why people think this way, we first need to look at what Delta 8 THC is and how it works.
Delta 8 THC
Delta 8 THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant stem. It’s similar in structure and effect to Delta 9 THC. That’s the main cannabinoid in marijuana that creates the stereotypical euphoric high. But Delta 8 is less potent and more controllable than Delta 9. Delta 8 also doesn’t have any of the unwanted side effects that Delta 9 can produce. Those side effects range from headaches and dizziness, to increased anxiety and paranoia.
Delta 8 is structured differently on the molecular level than Delta 9. There’s a double bond present on the 8th carbon chain in Delta 8. Delta 9 has a double bond on the 9th carbon chain. This is how Delta 8 is less potent and much more controllable than Delta 9. It’s also how Delta 8 is federally legal and Delta 9 is a Schedule I controlled substance.
Delta 8 Legality
In 2018, President Trump signed the USDA’s Farm Bill. Hemp and marijuana are defined separately. This hasn’t happened since cannabis as a whole became part of the Controlled Substance List in the early 1970s.
Hemp is defined as:
“The term ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
Delta 8 is structured differently from Delta 9 thanks to that double bond. Because of this, all Delta 8 products will contain less than 0.3 percent of Delta 9 in them. Therefore, Delta 8 THC products are legal on the federal level.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case in every state. While many states have adopted the same definition of hemp in their state laws, others have been incredibly resistant. This is definitely the opposite of the national trend. Legalizing hemp and cannabis become a priority in recent years. Many states that have legalized both have seen growth in many unexpected ways.
There are around 36 states that have legalized medical marijuana in some capacity over the past couple of decades. At least 12 of those states, plus DC, have also legalized adult-use cannabis.
With this legalization, states allow individual cities and towns to decide if they want dispensaries or stores in their jurisdictions. Unfortunately, a lot of areas will still continue to ban marijuana dispensaries and keep the prohibition in place. Even though a state has legalized cannabis, there are still areas that want to keep cannabis permanently out. This only leads to creating a more sturdy black, or underground, market. Just because there aren’t legal dispensaries or stores in an area doesn’t mean that cannabis isn’t in the community.
With hemp and Delta 8, most cities and towns don’t get to say whether or not products are allowed. So if a state has legalized hemp and consumption, then it is legal within the whole state. That’s why there are so many CBD and hemp stores popping up all over legal states.
Now the question becomes, how will the community react to this? Some react in negative, fear driven ways, that continue to perpetuate that marijuana and any derivative of it are dangerous and corruptive to the community.
That’s not really the case. Many times when stores open up, they offer many benefits to communities. Stores help:
- Reduced court costs of possession arrests
- Decrease the amount of money spent on police investigations into possession
- Billions of dollars in tax revenue
- A decrease in teenage usage
- Lower product costs with better quality
- Increased home values
- Creates additional jobs for the community and boosts the economy
And that’s just from a store opening in a local area. Many times when stores open up, they take up the space of a rundown or previously abandoned building. These stores come in and upgrade the building, set up security measures, and suddenly there’s protection and help in an area that didn’t have it before. It’s one way Delta 8 and companies are helping to rebuild communities. And sometimes without the community actually knowing they are receiving help.
Ending the Cycle of Prohibition
With the legality of Delta 8 across the country, many places are starting to see a decrease in crime and death. Studies can’t say conclusively why these changes are happening, or for how long they will last. But these Delta 8 changes offer positivity to whole communities.
Traditionally, cannabis and hemp arrests focus on African American and Mexican communities. It didn’t matter that their white counterparts were consuming cannabis and hemp at the same rate. Colored people are four times more likely to be arrested.
Millions of dollars are spent on police arrests for simple marijuana and hemp possession. The trend needs to stop. By legalizing hemp, the US is making strides towards ending the racist infused War on Drugs. That has failed time and time again for the past half a century.
Legalizing hemp has opened up several opportunities to communities. Jobs are created. Businesses grow and give back to their communities. The hemp industry in 2020 was estimated to be worth $5.3 Billion dollars. It’s expected to grow to $15.2 Billion by 2027. With the exponential growth expected, hemp seems to be the industry leading the charge in cannabis reform as well.
It may take a while for cannabis, but what Delta 8 THC and hemp have offered is priceless. Plus there will continue to be change thanks to the cannabis plant.
What are your thoughts on Delta 8 and cannabis legalization? Do you think Delta 8 helps rebuild communities? Let us know in the comments below. Make sure to check back for more cannabis and hemp news.