The link below is to an article that appeared recently on the Politico website.

Apparently the Minnesota State House agreed by voice vote to approve new legislation around hemp-based products. Except afterwards, the Republican Leader had second thoughts. Had they inadvertently just legalized marijuana? That being something he and his Party vigorously oppose.

Not yet, his Democratic counterpart assured him. But “that comes next,” she teased.

Here’s how it happened:

Did Minnesota accidentally legalize weed?

Turns out what the legislature had actually done was to legalize D8, in the form of psychoactive products already on sale in many parts of America. D8 will get you high, too, but so far, it’s legal. We first encountered the phenomenon in Texas. It’s spread far and wide.

This all came about, you may remember, because of a provision in the Federal Farm Bill that allowed for the sale of certain hemp-based products that had very low THC content. Despite its psychoactive abilities, D8 THC, which can be made from CBD in a laboratory, was technically legal under the protections afforded for hemp-based products. Suddenly an array of commercial products began to appear, especially throughout the Red states of the South, where legalizing D9 THC was unlikely to happen any time soon.

Users quickly passed the word that despite its relatively low potency, simply ingesting a larger amount of the stuff would result in a more-than-satisfying buzz.

Not coincidentally, D8 products are frequently ‘gummies’, intended to mimic the look, feel, and taste of popular candies. Flavors include apple, peach, watermelon, and something called ‘Blue Raspberry”. The euphoria they produce can be replenished throughout the day. They’re easy to conceal from nosy parents, bosses, supervisors, teachers, or passing DEA agents.

Just for fun, I logged onto a popular commercial website and was immediately asked to state clearly that I was at least 21 years of age. Yes, I answered proudly. I guess they took my word for it because I was promptly dumped onto another web page chock full of descriptions of available products, along with testimonials and ordering information.

It was abundantly clear that buying D8 online would be no more challenging than logging onto Amazon to order your favorite herbal shampoo. Although you can’t buy D8 on Amazon itself — not yet, at least — plenty of other vendors are eager to sell you D8 products. Here’s a sample from one:

Ordering your delta 8 THC online for delivery is cheaper, more convenient, and allows you to check important third-party analyses. With free shipping, subscription services, and no overheads, ordering straight from the manufacturer is cheaper for you and guarantees excellence, anonymity, and peace of mind.”

Those ‘third party-analyses’ they reference are the way they demonstrate that the product you plan to purchase contains enough THC to deliver the desired effect, but without the genuinely nasty contaminants that have sometimes been detected.

Contamination appears to be a problem. Here’s the FDA’s thoughts on the subject:

5 Things to Know about Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol – Delta-8 THC

So yeah, quality control is very important. Although to be frank, I don’t know how much confidence we can have in something we read on the seller’s website. There’s no real regulatory oversight, after all.  Nobody cross-checking extravagant claims of potency plus safety. I suppose a savvy consumer could investigate the company’s references, check for any formal complaints, ask for credentials to prove the ‘independent’ labs were themselves legit.

Seriously, though, how many consumers will go to the trouble? They’re just looking for a buzz.

The emergence of D8 has just made everything around the commercialization of THC that much more confusing. Not just to the Minnesota Republican Party, either.