LANSING – A group of the state’s largest cannabis companies is lobbying the Michigan state legislature to regulate Delta-8 THC, primarily manufactured from legal hemp-derived CBD, in the same way Delta-9 THC is grown by association members.

On Tuesday, Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association Executive Director Stephen Linder testified before the Michigan House asking these elected officials to vote for two House Bills 4740-4745 and House Bill 4517 that would join a chorus of other states seeking to regulate the sale of Delta-8, which mimics the high achieved through Delta-9 THC sold by Linder’s companies.

Association members include Common Citizen, Green Peak Innovations, High Life Farms, LivWell, Pleasantrees and Fluresh. Collectively, Linder said, the state’s largest growers, processors and vertically integrated businesses representing close to $1 billion of investment. He called them the “General Motors, Fords and Chryslers of the cannabis industry.”

In his House testimony, Linder said: “Delta 8 products and other similar products are intoxicants, and our position is that anything that mimics a cannabis high must be regulated, whether it comes from the refinement of hemp distillate, the refinement of cannabis distillate, or products created without organic material in a lab.

“All of these products must be subject to regulation and strict testing before they are sold to Michigan consumers,” he said. “That means they must be processed through a licensed MRA processor before being sold by an MRA-licensed provisioning facility. Just like any iteration of alcohol has to be approved through the regulatory system, so should derivatives of cannabis.”

Linder added: “Michigan is not alone in wanting to address this imminent public health crisis. Twelve states have at least temporarily banned Delta 8 THC products, including Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island and Utah. North Dakota, Alabama and Oregon are also considering Delta 8 product bans. We are not advocating banning these products. In the interest of protecting public health and safety, we are advocating regulating them and subjecting them to the same testing standards as every product that can get you high.”

But Michigan cannabis advocate Rick Thompson (co-host of Four20 Post produced by the Michigan Marijuana Report) said in response to Linder’s testimony that Delta-8 has two pathways in Michigan:

“One pathway leads to prohibition; one pathway leads to regulation. I support the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association in their effort to enact wise regulation of this emerging cannabinoid,” Thompson said. “Other states have adopted total bans, but we don’t need to walk backwards into prohibition. Cannabis and all products made from it are legal at this moment, and all of our efforts should be to support that.”

David Crabill, president of the Industrial Hemp Association of Michigan, said iHemp is not in favor of marketing Delta-8 or the next step, Delta-10, cannabinoids.

“There is a great amount of good that is being realized from CBD, CBG and CBN,” he said. “New cannabinoids are being discovered and researched. The fiber and grain markets will eclipse the cannabinoid markets over time. That is our focus. We are against any marketing of products for intoxication.”

TheHelpingFriendlySalve.Com, owned by Rob Robar, is a licensed Hemp and CBD retailer. He sells his products, some of which contain Delta-8, to more than 1,500 outlets nationwide. Robar said he was happy to see that the wording proposed in the Michigan House bills does not include a total Delta-8 ban.

“We have been committed to full-panel testing and transparency all along,” Robar said. “But were also willing to make the proper connections to make sure we are able to provide these products in the licensed market.”

This story was written by Michigan Marijuana Report Editor Mike Brennan.