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THC Drinks Legality Questioned As Legislators Call for Stricter Regulations

Drinks infused with THC have become popular in the recent times, and if you were wondering: yes, they’re legal. The drinks are derived from hemp, which usually contains no more than 0.3% THC.

THC is one of the two primary compounds found in cannabis plants, the other being CBD. However, unlike THC, CBD doesn’t induce a high when ingested.

After the 2018 Farm Bill was passed, industrial hemp was made legal, eliminating it from the DEA’s list of controlled substances. This legalization loophole is what allowed for hemp drinks to be sold legally by cannabis stores, alcohol retailers and breweries.

It should be noted, however, that other THC products derived from marijuana are still strictly regulated by the federal government.

As THC drinks continue to occupy more space on the shelves, beer sales continue to decline. This isn’t pleasing Big Alcohol, which had been enjoying monopoly in the market. A new report from Bloomberg shows that internet searches for THC-infused beverages have risen to a new high this year. The beverages have become so mainstream that “Esquire” and “Bon Appétit” published “to try” recommendations for happy hour highs.

Napa Cannabis Collective, a dispensary, reveals that THC beverages offer a more prolonged and intense high as compared to edibles or smoking. Normally, the drink’s effects begin to take effect in 5 to 10 minutes. The beverages also provide precise dosing, which isn’t always the case with other forms of marijuana consumption. In addition, the drinks are easily available, particularly at major retailers such as Total Wine, which provides a variety of these beverages, containing ranges from 2.5 mg to 10 mg.

It is expected that the popularity of these drinks may drop as more states begin regulating THC-infused beverages. Already, the U.S. Cannabis Council has appealed to Congress to regulate hemp products more strictly. A letter recently penned to members of Congress notes that the legalization of hemp has created a national consumer market of unregulated and untested intoxicating products.

Not all seem to share these sentiments. Bloomberg highlighted in its report that some companies which sold regulated marijuana felt that their market share was unfairly at risk. Additionally, some alcohol distributors are seeking permission that will allow them to continue manufacturing these beverages.

In other news, the Biden administration recently moved to reclassify cannabis in a lower schedule of the Controlled Substances Act. A recently submitted proposal launched the process to move the drug from Schedule I to Schedule III. Drugs under the latter classification have a moderate to low potential for abuse.

While this reclassification isn’t what marijuana entities such as Tilray Brands Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) (TSX: TLRY) would have wished for, they nevertheless recognize that any progress made is to be welcomed and plenty of work may be needed to trigger action to finally end prohibition.

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