Arizona Attorney General Rules Out Delta-8 THC Sales at Unlicensed Retailers

In a formal legal opinion, Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes has determined that state law prohibits the sale of delta-8 THC and other hemp-derived intoxicating products by businesses not licensed through the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The opinion, issued on March 11th in response to an inquiry from state senators, provides clarity on the legal status of delta-8 and similar cannabinoids in Arizona following confusion over their regulation.

“Arizona law does not permit the sale of delta-8 and other hemp-synthesized intoxicants by entities that have not been licensed,” Mayes stated unequivocally in her summary.

While acknowledging the 2018 federal Farm Bill’s provisions for hemp, Mayes argued that Arizona’s definition of “industrial hemp” excludes intoxicating extracts and derivatives like delta-8. The state aims to “maintain strict control of marijuana,” she wrote.

Mayes cited public health concerns raised by the FDA regarding potentially unsafe manufacturing of synthesized delta-8 products and numerous reports of adverse effects from consumption. She determined these intoxicating hemp derivatives constitute controlled substances under Arizona drug laws.

The opinion represents a blow to convenience stores, smoke shops and other non-dispensary retailers that had begun selling delta-8 items following their proliferation nationwide as a legally ambiguous substitute for traditional marijuana.

While not legally binding, the attorney general’s stance creates potential legal risks for unlicensed sellers continuing delta-8 commerce in Arizona. It also protects the state-licensed cannabis industry’s effective monopoly on intoxicating cannabinoid sales.

Cannabis advocates criticized Mayes for siding with marijuana business interests, which lobbied for regulations curbing delta-8 market competition. But the AG argues her guidance aligns with legislative intent and prioritizes public safety through regulated channels.

As more states grapple with delta-8’s emergence, Arizona has staked its position: these hemp spin-offs remain squarely within marijuana’s tightly controlled regulatory sphere unless policies change. Unlicensed sales are now inadvisable legal territory.


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