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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Arrival of ‘Delta-9’ in local stores poses legality questions

Courtesy Photo | Drug Enforcement Administration
Delta-9 THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

Feb. 19, the Mississippi government proposed two bills that would alter state regulations on medicinal cannabis and the hemp market.

House Bill 1676 and Senate Bill 2922 would allow medicinal cannabis businesses to advertise their product and the creation of cannabis products exceeding the previous THC limit.

Henry Crisler is executive director of the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association, an organization dedicated to the access and regulation of marijuana in the state. Crisler said that their medicinal cannabis program is growing within Mississippi.

“The program is in the third full year of operation, that we have almost 400 licenses for licensed businesses within the state,” Crisler said. “And there are no plans to stop that program.”

New legislation, statewide openings of more medical cannabis dispensaries and the introduction of new cannabis products in local stores have sparked more conversation on cannabis, specifically around delta-9.

“Delta-9 is the main cannabinoid in cannabis that people claim is the medicinal or psychoactive portion of the cannabis plant,” Crisler said.

According to Healthline, delta-9 is the most abundant form of THC found naturally in cannabis plants and has been shown to help medicinal users with anxiety, insomnia, nausea and pain. Delta-9 is legal for medical use in the state of Mississippi.

Despite having similar chemical structures to delta-9, delta-8 and delta-10 are both synthetic forms of THC. Delta-8 and delta-10 have not been as extensively researched as delta-9, and there is less knowledge about their benefits and risks in their use as alternative medicine. Delta-8 and delta-10 are indistinguishable from delta-9 on a drug test.

While Delta-9 and its synthetic counterparts are not federally legal, each state is allowed to make its own laws regarding the use of delta-9 and hemp products.

According to Mississippi Cannabis Information, delta-9 products are available throughout medical dispensaries in the state. Additionally, the Mississippi Hemp Cultivation Act allows Mississippi residents to buy hemp-derived delta-9 THC products from online sellers and local retail stores. Hemp products with a 0.3% delta-9 THC concentration may be purchased and legally smoked in Mississippi without a medical card.

According to a study published in the Journal of Cannabis Research, no federal limit is placed on overall delta-9 THC dosage, and there is no requirement that the products are tested. The study found that some hemp delta-9 THC companies offer inaccurately labeled products that contain more THC than would be allowed in adult-use states.

Regardless of delta-9’s medical legality and people’s ability to purchase what is advertised as delta-9 in local smoke shops, Mississippi State University Vice President for Strategic Communications and Director of Public Affairs Sid Salter stated that delta-9 is prohibited on campus.

“Synthetic cannabinoids like ‘delta 9’ are considered controlled substances in Schedule I of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) because of their chemical structure, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration,” Salter stated in an email.

Salter said MSU would continue to refer to federal regulations on cannabis.

“Mississippi State University recognizes that the federal government still considers ‘Delta 9’ as a controlled substance,” Salter said. “To remain eligible as a university for general federal grants, federal research grants and federal student financial aid funds, MSU will continue to list ‘delta-9’ as a prohibited item, which means students in possession could be referred and disciplined in keeping with the Student Code of Conduct.”

Salter said the university had no further comments when it came to distinguishing between illegal and legal variants of cannabis.

Brandon Lovelady, public information officer for the Starkville Police Department explained what reprimands would incur for illegal possession of cannabis.

“If it is specifically illegal possession, it would be either a citation and custody arrest for a misdemeanor or, if it is a felony amount an in-custody arrest,” Lovelady said.

The Starkville Police Department declined to comment further on how officers deal with cases involving legal marijuana products.

A Mississippi State student who chose to remain anonymous said they believe in the legalization of marijuana and that cannabis is a helpful alternative to traditional treatment.

“I think that makes sense because there are people that, physically, it just makes their life better on a physical standpoint better than any other medication could,” the student said.

The student, a recreational user of cannabis, said cannabis products found in hemp stores or gas stations have less credible research and are less regulated. They said the use of cannabis from sources who could be tampering with or outright lying about their stock could have dangerous consequences for users.

“A lot of what is being provided in gas stations and vape stores that they call delta-9 could be something else,” the student said. “We really do not know what we are consuming when we buy that, in my opinion.”

The student said legalization could lead to a shift in the perception of weed among prospective users.

“Making it legal will make it less tempting for rebelling youth,” the student said. “I think if you remove the stigma about it being illegal and bad and it makes you a criminal, then most people that use weed won’t think they are.”

About the Contributor
Michael Cassidy
Michael Cassidy, Staff Writer
Michael Cassidy is a senior communication major. Michael is currently a staff writer for The Reflector.
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