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Ruling from AZ AG could leave hemp-derived compounds up in smoke

Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC are not fit for sale, according to the AG
Posted at 5:24 PM, Apr 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-01 20:24:42-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — In a recent controversial move, Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes issued a ruling declaring the sale of popular hemp-derived cannabinoids, specifically Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC, illegal in the state.

The ruling has sparked concerns among local smoke shop owners and public health advocates alike.

Stellar Smoke Shop, a popular local business known for its marijuana-themed events, is one of many retailers affected by this decision.

"It’s not a huge sale thing… like we don’t sell a lot of it," said Isaac Morhaim, Marketing Director of Stellar Smoke Shops, referring to the now-banned products.

Hemp, which contains minimal levels of THC, is federally legal and considered non-psychoactive.

However, through a chemical process, certain types of THC can be derived from hemp plants.

"We call it weed light,” Morhaim added, emphasizing the milder potency of the hemp-derived products compared to traditional marijuana.

The Attorney General's ruling cited concerns over potency, a lack of in-state testing, and regulatory standards as reasons for the ban.

Jamal Givens, President and CEO of the local youth health nonprofit LPKNC, supports the ruling, highlighting the potential harm these unregulated substances can cause.

"Some of the young people that have used these substances sometimes end up going to the ER," Givens said.

The ruling has faced criticism from some quarters.

Morhaim believes the decision could negatively impact consumers, particularly the elderly and budget-conscious. "A lot of the older crowd is definitely more comfortable with it, they don't think it's as intense as weed," he remarked. He also criticized the ruling as hypocritical, suggesting that it gives dispensaries a monopoly on the market.

Although Attorney General Mayes's opinion is not legally binding, her office expects businesses to comply with the ruling.

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) is responsible for enforcing cannabis-related laws, and the attorney general will collaborate with the governor's office and state agencies to ensure compliance.

Mayes emphasized that her opinion should not be seen as a "general endorsement" of products like Delta-8, which "may pose public health concerns and information about these products is still emerging."

The debate over the regulation of hemp-derived cannabinoids in Arizona is far from over, with stakeholders on all sides grappling with the implications of this divisive ruling.

Eddie Celaya is a multimedia journalist at KGUN 9. Born in Tucson and raised in the Phoenix area, Eddie is a life-long Arizonan and graduate of the University of Arizona who loves the desert and mountains and hates the cold. Previously, Eddie worked in print media at the Arizona Daily Star. Share your story ideas with Eddie at, or by connecting on Facebook or Instagram.