Signed into law by Gov. Mark Gordon on March 6, 2019, Wyoming House Bill 0171 — sometimes referred to as the ‘farm bill’ — allows persons or entities to apply for licenses …
Signed into law by Gov. Mark Gordon on March 6, 2019, Wyoming House Bill 0171 — sometimes referred to as the ‘farm bill’ — allows persons or entities to apply for licenses through the Wyoming Department of Agriculture to farm and sell hemp products. One byproduct of the ability to grow and sell hemp in Wyoming is the introduction of delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as delta-8 THC.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, delta-8 THC is a psychoactive substance found in the Cannabis-sativa plant, of which marijuana and hemp are two varieties. Delta-8 THC occurs naturally in cannabis plants, albeit in insignificant amounts — concentrated amounts of delta-8 are typically manufactured from hemp-derived cannabidiol, or CBD.
Goose Vape is one of several local shops that stocks delta-8 on its shelves — employee Caleb Peterson said delta-8’s psychoactive properties are highly comparable, and sometimes indistinguishable, from delta-9 THC, the variant of THC one would find in a Colorado dispensary.
The difference between the two, Peterson said, is that delta-8 is derived from hemp plants, while delta-9 is derived from marijuana plants. Hemp plants are legal in Wyoming following the passing of HB0171, but marijuana plants remain illegal.
“It looks exactly the same, some of them [products] even feel the same, but it’s all derived from hemp plants so it’s legal under the farm bill,” Peterson said.
HB0171 dictates hemp plants grown in Wyoming must contain a delta-9 THC level lower than 0.3%, the “Acceptable Hemp THC Level.” However, the bill does not specify anything about delta-8, leaving the door open for it to be cultivated in concentrated amounts through hemp.
Peterson said delta-8 can be used both medicinally and recreationally and it comes in many of the same forms that delta-9 THC does; pre-rolled joints, edibles, concentrates, disposable vaping devices and more.
“You can use it if you’re just chilling and playing video games or if you just need something to help you throughout the day. People like to take it for that too,” Peterson said. “They vary in potency. Some of them focus more on beneficial [medicinal] factors while others are going to be more to get stoned, I guess is the best way to put it.”
Because delta-8 THC is legal to purchase and use in Wyoming, Sheridan Police Department Capt. Tom Ringley said it is not the focus of any drug investigations.
“It’s the difference between having beer or water if you’re 17. One is legal and one isn’t,” Ringley said. “It’s not that black and white, but it’s clearly defined as to what’s legal and what’s not legal to possess.”
Just because delta-8 THC is legal doesn’t mean it’s regulated, Ringley said, urging the public to be mindful of that factor if partaking in its use.
“We would urge people to use caution when consuming any controlled substance… especially if it’s not regulated, they may contain more ingredients than they bargained for,” Ringley said. “We would urge people to be aware of what they’re consuming because delta-8 is a completely unregulated industry.”