Mar 15, 2024 - News

Senate OKs bill permitting delta-8 THC sales following AG opinion

Illustration of the Arizona State Capitol with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

An attorney general opinion that threatened to crack down on unlicensed sales of hemp-derived intoxicants like delta-8 THC could soon be moot thanks to legislation approved by the Senate this week.

Why it matters: The passage came days after Attorney General Kris Mayes issued an opinion stating that delta-8 can only be sold by entities licensed to sell cannabis.

Zoom in: The proposal passed by the Senate Thursday with heavy Republican support and a handful of Democratic votes.

  • It would prohibit sales to people under 21 and ban marketing to children.
  • Licensing and regulation would be overseen by the Arizona Department of Agriculture, not the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), which enforces laws on medicinal and recreational marijuana.

What they're saying: Though Mayes' opinion is not legally binding, ADHS told Axios on Wednesday it recognizes "the risk that intoxicating synthetic and lab-derived THC products pose to public health and safety, and are determining if and how this will affect enforcement."

Elsewhere at the Capitol this week…

📄 Next Friday is the deadline for committees to hear bills from the opposite chamber, so expect a lot of action in the week ahead.

  • That means anything that hasn't already passed out of its original chamber is likely dead.

🚧 After initially rejecting legislation requiring cities of at least 75,000 to allow duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, fiveplexes and townhomes on single-family-zoned lots, the House doubled back and approved the bill Tuesday.

  • It now heads to the Senate.

🏡 Gov. Katie Hobbs has yet to sign or veto a high profile bill aimed at encouraging developers to build more starter homes, a decision that could come today.

❌ GOP lawmakers plan to send Hobbs two identical versions of a bill she vetoed last week to make illegal immigration a state crime.

  • If she vetoes them, as expected, Senate President Warren Petersen said they're willing to put the issue on the November ballot.

🛑 Democratic lawmakers tried to force a vote in both chambers on legislation known as the Right to Contraception Act through parliamentary maneuvers, but Republicans blocked them.

🗳️ Anyone could preemptively challenge the constitutionality of a citizen initiative in court before a proposed ballot measure goes up for a vote under a separate measure Senate Republicans passed Monday.

  • It's part of recent Republican efforts to make it more difficult to enact voter-approved laws, which are often pushed by liberal groups that can't get their proposals through the GOP-controlled Legislature.
  • It now goes to the House.

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