LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Last week, State Senator Tyler Dees filed Senate Bill 358— a bill aimed at banning Delta 8,9, and 10 from being sold in the Natural State.
“It’s because of an accessibility issue where you can walk into a regular gas station and purchase this product as if you're purchasing Skittles or any other candy,” said Dees.
The product comes from hemp, and right now can be found in gas stations and tobacco stores. Dees explained how the accessibility to THC products like Delta 8 has been leading to more young children consuming it.
“Poison control is being contacted of cases where kids are, are digesting products that are causing harm to them,” said Dees.
Arkansas Poison Control said that while there are no specific numbers when it comes to Delta 8 because the data didn't start being collected until January 2021, they have been seeing an increase in kids being exposed to THC products.
“Any THC-containing product is potentially harmful. Whether or not it's Delta 8 or Delta 9,” said Ari Filip, Medical Director for Arkansas Poison Control Center. "We worry about this having psychoactive effects so it should be kept away, locked inaccessible to children.”
Melissa Fults is a marijuana advocate who is also against Delta 8 for similar reasons— but she does not support the bill.
“Number one, Delta 9 should not be anywhere in it. Delta 9 is not produced from industrial hemp,” Fults explained.“The things that they're trying to change is just a backdoor way to hurt hemp farmers and to hurt patients’ medical marijuana patients again.”
Meanwhile, co-sponsor of the bill, State Senator Jonathan Dismang, said that this is not aimed at impacting medical marijuana.
“I mean, you have to have your card and there are benefits that are, you know, for those patients, this isn't about that,” said Dismang. “I mean, a high school kid right now can go purchase. Again, I think that's wrong.”
Senator Dees explained that they're working with the attorney general and hope this bill will head to the committee in the next coming days.