DELTA 8: Sen. Tyler Dees (R-Siloam Springs) and Fort Smith attorney Amy Martin showed a Senate committee a pile of Delta-8 products before the committee voted to pass a bill banning the products.

A state Senate committee advanced a bill Tuesday that would ban the sale of marijuana-related products known as Delta-8 and other similar products. The bill heads to the full Senate for a vote today. 

The hemp-derived products have skirted state regulations by falling into an unregulated loophole that was created when Congress legalized hemp production in the 2018 Farm Bill. Hemp processors can legally extract psychoactive components such as Delta-8 from hemp and sell them in Arkansas without regulations on the products, packaging or marketing. There is no age limit to buy Delta-8 products either. 


The products are not regulated under the state’s medical marijuana program and are not sold in the state’s 38 dispensaries. 

State Sen. Tyler Dees (R-Siloam Springs) presented Senate Bill 358 to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development along with Fort Smith attorney Amy Martin, whose family owns The Greenery, a medical marijuana dispensary in Fort Smith. 


Martin placed on the committee’s table a pile of Delta-8 products that included products similar to ice cream cones and Rice Krispie treats. The ice cream cones contained 100mg of THC each, which is about 10 times the amount that is allowed in a single dose of edible products sold through the state medical marijuana program. 

The committee also heard from a number of people who own stores that sell Delta-8 products. The owners said the bill would hurt their businesses and would like to see the industry regulated rather than eliminated. 


One owner said her business would close within two days of passage of the bill because so much of her business is reliant on Delta 8 sales. 

The owners agreed that the products should not be sold to children and blamed a few bad actors for creating problems. 

Jeremy Dennis, who owns a small CBD and hemp shop in Lonoke County, said he believed the concern about children getting the products was a “scare tactic” and that the bill was being pushed by the state medical marijuana industry that did not want competition. 

Sen. Fred Love (D-Little Rock) asked one store owner that favored regulation or prohibition if he had ever contacted a legislator about regulating the industry in Arkansas. The store owner said he had not, adding “we’re not legislators.” 


The bill passed on a voice vote with no audible dissent.

Bill Paschall, executive director of the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association, said his organization has not taken a position on SB358 or House Bill 1605, which seeks to regulate Delta-8 products.

The bill does not ban industrial hemp, which is used to make textiles, rope and other products, according to the bill’s proponents.