Delta-8 dispute costs businesses thousands

Illustration by Mattheau Faught/The Et Cetera

Illustration by Mattheau Faught/The Et Cetera

Jordan Lackey , Opinion Editor

With the legality of Delta-8 THC still up for debate, local business owners are concerned about revenue and inventory losses.

“80 grand,” said one co-owner of Sky Rise Vapor Glassworks in Mesquite as he reclined in his chair and put his hands on the back of his head with a defeated air of calmness. “That’s nothing compared to distributors or wholesalers in the Dallas market. I mean, you’re talking millions and millions of dollars in inventory.”

Delta-8 THC is a less-potent isomer of Delta-9 THC, more commonly known as marijuana. Delta-8 can be considered a stronger version of CBD which is commonly used for pain management, insomnia, appetite stimulation, anxiety and a variety of other uses. However, unlike CBD, the product can be used recreationally, with Delta-8 having similar psychoactive effects to Delta-9.

“This is the worst thing that goes through a small business owners’ mind,” the co-owner of Sky Rise said. “What if we don’t get [Delta-8] back? What if we have to cut hours? What if we have to lay people off? That is the hardest position to be in.”

The legality of Delta-8 is still uncertain after Texas judge, Jan Soifer, temporarily blocked the state from enforcing its ban on Nov. 8. A temporary injunction was filed by Hometown Hero, an Austin-based CBD and Delta-8 company that is suing Texas over its ban on Delta-8. With the law still up for debate, the owners of Sky Rise Vapor and Glass have asked to remain anonymous.

The controversy over Delta-8 was initially sparked after the Texas Department of State Health Services listed Delta-8 on its controlled substances list back in January. However, many business owners didn’t become aware of this change until the health department issued a clarification in October saying Delta-8, in all concentrations, is illegal throughout the state according to House Bill 1325.

“They just made up a law, just like that,” said another co-owner of Sky Rise, snapping his fingers with irritation. “We just took it off our shelves to be safe,” he said. “We don’t want to catch any felonies. They’re trying to label [Delta-8] as a class A drug like K2, heroin, methamphetamine, all that stuff.”

The business owner said Sky Rise started selling Delta-8 after Mesquite passed a city ordinance forcing them to remove almost all of their glassware, or smoking paraphernalia, back in March with only 24-hours notice.

“At least give us time to sell our products, you know, get our money back,” he said. “That’s exactly what they did with our glass. … So then to do this to us again? It’s just unfair, in my opinion. The city of Mesquite, I think they’re coming for us.”

Sky Rise Vapor Glassworks opened their first Mesquite location off Town East Boulevard over six years ago. They’ve since opened two additional locations, one in Mesquite off Beltline Road and another in Forney. The business owners agree they were around well before the product became popular and they’ll stay in businesses without the income from Delta-8.

However, with 20 employees to provide for between their three locations, they still have concerns, especially when it comes to the loss of product they’ve already purchased and had to remove from their shelves.

“The revenue that was generated from Delta-8 was pretty big,” said the co-owner. “We’re definitely going to have to cut some hours. Hopefully, we don’t have to get rid of any employees. It’s definitely a hit.”

The owners understand a need for regulation. However, they also see the product as a safe and natural marijuana alternative for adults of all ages.

“Our customers, our clientele for Delta-8, they range from 20 [years old],” said the co-owner. “We even have 80-year-olds coming in here purchasing gummies or vape products because it helps them a lot.” Sky Rise sales representative, Greg Greguski, echoed this sentiment as an occasional user of the product.

“I’m 28, I’ve got three herniated disks and I’ve got sciatica and I use Delta-8 from time to time,” Greguski said. “There are customers we have that are 50, 60, 70 years old that are using [Delta-8] because weed is still illegal and they’re trying to get the same relief.”

Greguski said the product is for everyone, and Delta-8 is much less harmful or dangerous than legal products like alcohol or prescription narcotics. The business owners at Sky Rise agree the health of their clientele is their main concern.

“Put the monetary aspects aside,” said one co-owner. “Our only and main concern is the safety of our customers.”