'Stone America': Legal, lower-THC hemp product draws ire of Polk County sheriff

Delta 8 THC, a new product on the market, is being called "weed light." Unlike your standard marijuana, Delta 8 THC is being sold legally to buyers without a prescription.

"The difference, we're talking about Delta 9 being cannabis, Delta 8 being available in hemp. If it's hemp, it is legal. Still gets you stoned and it is made legal under the same laws that made CBD legal," said Carlos Hermida, owner of the Chillum Glass Gallery and CBD Dispensary in Ybor City.

Delta 8 is said to be 70% to 75% as potent as the real thing.

"Essentially, all you need is to consume a little more to feel the same," Hermida said. "Right now in the medical marijuana system, you have to see a doctor every seven months and you're paying extreme prices for cannabis. Some patients can't do that, and this allows an alternative to that system."

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) says it's currently in the process of reviewing the rules surrounding products like Delta 8 THC.

"I'm not surprised," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. "I warned everybody that it really wasn't medicine for the very sick, it was the camel's nose under the tent and we haven't seen all we're going to see."


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Last week, the U.S House of Representatives approved a bill that would take marijuana off the federal list of controlled substances, eliminating penalties for anyone caught with cannabis and setting up a process to expunge convictions.

It should be noted that Delta 8 THC will likely show up on a drug test. You could also get a DUI if you're driving high on it.

"What we're seeing here today is not the end result but the next step in the way to stone America," Sheriff Judd said. "I'm worried about the health of your loved one that drives on the same highway with a person that takes enough of this low Delta 8 to get stoned. So it's not going to be safe."