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'I felt like I can breathe': New law aims to regulate Delta-8 in Kentucky

A Louisville business owner is breathing a little easier now that a new law will help regulate the hemp-derived alternative.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Lawmakers are returning to Frankfort now that Governor Andy Beshear’s veto period is winding down.

The Republican-led legislature and the governor have agreed on regulating Delta 8 – a hemp alternative to marijuana that has received push back in recent years. 

Dee Dee Taylor, owner of 502 and 812 Hemp, said her business has been implementing the regulations outlined in HB 544.

For example, Taylor uses a tamper evident seal to keep kids out of the product.

The bill also says no one under 21-years-old can indulge in Delta 8 products.

“It has always been that way. We do not sell to children,” Taylor said. “Never have and never will.”

HB 544 requires all products to be sold behind the counter and lab testing before distribution.

“We already do third party testing, and we test for any residuals – any like heavy metals, any of that type of stuff,” she said.

Taylor said the regulations streamline the industry and take away the looming threat against processors and shop owners.

The hemp-derived product was made popular after the 2018 Federal Farm Bill took effect.

Delta 8 contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but at a lower level than marijuana. However, it does not have FDA guidance.

Credit: WHAS-TV
Dee Dee Taylor

“For the first time, in what almost three years, I felt like I can breathe because I knew all along that I was not a criminal and I was not selling a product that was illegal,” Taylor said.

Even in this latest session, a bill was introduced that aimed to ban Delta-8.

“I think it just took some understanding by the legislators as to what these products are and how they do benefit people,” Taylor said. “I have customers that got off medications for PTSD. I have a lot of veterans that use our products instead of the medications that are prescribed to them. So I think this is a healthier alternative that to some of the prescriptions that are on the market.”

The new guidance does not allow retailers to label the products as a cure for any diseases.

Taylor said she verbally explains any product a customer has inquiries about.

She said she looks forward to seeing what the future holds if medical marijuana passes.

For now, she is glad Delta-8 has the needed oversight for industry growth.

The new law goes into effect on Aug. 1, 2023.

► Contact reporter Bobbi McSwine at BMcSwine@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter

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