Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine called for state lawmakers to ban “intoxicating hemp” goods, including all delta-8 products, as part of their work on amending Issue 2, the ballot measure that legalized recreational marijuana last November.
On Wednesday, DeWine said at a press conference that a law enforcement sting operation had caught at least one gas station selling hemp-based delta-8 goods to minors, Fox 8 News reported. During the gathering with reporters, Ohio Department of Public Safety Director Andy Wilson showed pictures of THC-infused candies and alleged that the companies were targeting children.
DeWine held up several edibles that were allegedly purchased at a gas station, obvious underground knock-off goods that stole NBA star James Harden’s name and likeness to market delta 8-infused gummies in the shapes of “little shoes,” DeWine said.
He also held up another labeled “Toasted Flakes” cereal bars, with the stolen image of Tony the Tiger, the mascot of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes.
“I’m sure it’s not Tony,” DeWine observed, adding that the products were “something really aimed at children.”
Wilson said that a sting involving 15-year-old high school students this week shows how easy it is for kids to buy delta-8 goods.
“Within 10 minutes, and within three miles of their school, they walked into a BP gas station and purchased these THC gummies with no questions asked,” Wilson said of the sting operation.
“When you make a product like this, it does in fact appeal to kids,” DeWine said. “We know they’re harmful for kids. We know they’re readily available. And today, I’m asking the state legislature to take immediate action. Local police cannot do anything, I cannot do anything, without action by the state legislature.”
A bill to ban such goods is still in the drafting phase, Fox 8 News reported. A separate bill, HB86, was approved by the state Senate in December, and includes a prohibition on intoxicating hemp products. But the bill has not yet been taken up by the state House of Representatives. (Full Story)