A federal court in California on Thursday ruled that the 2018 Farm Bill – which federally legalized hemp in the U.S. – repealed prohibitions on other cannabinoids including delta-8 THC, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco determined that the cannabinoid has “psychoactive and intoxicating effects” like delta-9 but is not a “marijuana” product and not explicitly banned by the Controlled Substances Act.
“Regardless of the wisdom of legalizing Delta-8 THC products,” Judge D. Michael Fisher wrote in the 3-0 opinion, “this court will not substitute its own policy judgment for that of Congress.”
The ruling came in a trademark case, AK Futures LLC v. Boyd Street Distro LLC, in which AK accused Boyd Street of selling counterfeit versions of its delta-8 products. The court found that since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, and therefore delta-8, trademark infringement can occur and did occur in the case.
“The record on appeal convinces us that AK Futures’ delta-8 THC products are lawful under the plain text of the Farm Act and may receive trademark protection,” the opinion states. “As we have noted, this conclusion is necessarily tentative given the nature of preliminary relief.”
Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML, told the Chronicle that the decision “is federally legalizing a psychoactive cannabinoid about which relatively little is known while keeping the amply studied Delta-9 illegal.”
“It makes more sense to legalize Delta-9,” he said, “which has been studied exhaustively in thousands of subjects and research protocols over the decades.”
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