Legal high may be too good to be true

Published 9:06 pm Monday, June 20, 2022

If you have visited Magnolia Spirits in Luverne, you may have seen a new edition to their merchandise. Jars of Hemp named Delta 8 and edible baked goods containing Delta 8 are now available for purchase.

Delta 8 contains THC, a naturally occurring chemical compound called a cannabinoid that’s found in hemp and cannabis (marijuana) plants according to WebMd.

Delta 8 and Delta 9 contain THC, the main psychoactive compound that is in marijuana. THC is what gives users a “high.”

Delta 8

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Crenshaw County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Stewart said that even though it is legal in Alabama, there may still be legal issues associated with using and having it. The Delta the Delta 8 sold in stores like Magnolia Spirits looks identical to marijuana. And it tests positive just like marijuana.

Stewart tested a sample of Delta 8 during an interview, showing how quickly the marijuana test turns purple, indicating that it is a cannabis plant. The small pinch of Delta 8 immediately turned the solution in the test tube a bright purple.

“The test is not checking for THC, it tests for the cannabis plant itself,” Stewart explained. “Hemp has a 0.3 percent or less THC concentration that makes it legal in the state of Alabama. Marijuana of course still has more. They will both give you a high.”

Stewart said the hemp high is not as strong as a marijuana high.

“You can still be arrested for DUI of a controlled substance,” he said. “It does impair like marijuana does.”

Visually, there is little to no difference in the appearance of marijuana and Delta 8. This can lead to legal ramifications if found on you by law enforcement.

“If they say it is Delta 8 and we test it, of course it is going to test positive for marijuana since it is testing the plant material itself,” Stewart said. “They can still be charged.”

If charges are made, the plant material will be sent off to the lab to be tested and confirmed to be Delta 8 or marijuana. If the results come back as being a Delta 8 variant, then charges can be dropped later on Stewart said.

“Or, we could let them go, send it off to be tested, get the results back. If it tests positive, we can sign a warrant and pick them up later. There has to be officer discretion,” Stewart said.

In Alabama, any amount of marijuana is illegal.

“Most times, cooperation and honesty will go a long way with law enforcement,” he said.

No traffic violations can be issued for marijuana second by law enforcement.

“It is just as if you received a speeding ticket. It is a non-traffic citation,” Stewart said. “There are still fines and you still have to go to court.”

Individuals who purchase the Delta 8 variant need to understand that they may legal hoops they will have to jump through if pulled over with the substance.