ALABAMA (WHNT) — A bill recently filed in the Alabama legislature seeks to ban the sale of “psychoactive cannabinoids” to anyone under the age of 21.
Senate Bill 66 (SB66), sponsored by State Sen. Tim Melson (R-Florence), would also impose a 5% tax on the gross profits of selling any products that contain psychoactive cannabinoids.
Melson filed a similar bill in 2022 in an attempt to ban Delta-8 in Alabama, but it ultimately fell apart.
The goal of SB66 is to “prohibit the sale, distribution, marketing, or possession of psychoactive cannabinoids derived from or found in hemp to any individual under 21 years of age.”
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA): “Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as Delta-8 THC, is a psychoactive substance found in the Cannabis sativa plant, of which marijuana and hemp are two varieties.”
The THC found in marijuana is classified as a controlled substance, but the THC found in the hemp plant is explicitly exempted from the prohibition.
The FDA adds that Delta-8 THC has similar psychoactive and intoxicating effects as Delta-9 THC, which is responsible for creating the “high” people might experience from using cannabis. Products containing Delta-8 THC concern the FDA because they “likely expose consumers to much higher levels of the substance than are naturally occurring in hemp cannabis raw extracts…historical use of cannabis cannot be relied upon in establishing a level of safety for these products in humans.”
According to the DEA’s Drug & Chemical Evaluation Section Chief Terrence L. Boos, “Delta-9-THC0 and delta-8-THC0 do not occur naturally in the cannabis plant and can only be obtained synthetically, and therefore do not fall under the definition of hemp.”
Delta-8 THC is processed from the flowers and stems of the hemp plant, a by-product of the well-known medicinal hemp extract, cannabidiol oil (CBD). The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says CBD doesn’t cause a “high,” as it contains “no more than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the mind-altering substance in marijuana.”
Delta-10 THC and THC-0 are produced in a similar way and are considered to be psychoactive cannabinoids made from CBD.
The World Health Organization defines psychoactive drugs as “substances that, when taken in or administered into one’s system, affect mental processes [like] perception, consciousness, cognition, or mood and emotions,” but adds that psychoactive drugs don’t necessarily imply “dependence-producing.”
Delta-8 THC and similar cannabinoids are not hard to find, commonly sold over the counter at vape stores, head shops, and gas stations across Alabama in several forms, like vape pens, gummies, candies, baked goods, and more.
You can read the bill in its entirety here. If it passes, any violation would be considered a Class B misdemeanor.