Over-the-counter hemp products in Mississippi are not what they appear to be, according to a Steep Hill Mississippi analysis.
Clarion Ledger reports that Steep Hill Mississippi President and co-founder Cliff Osbon said so-called hemp-derived products that were recently tested contain significant amounts of delta-9 THC and unsafe pesticides. He also said that the products would have failed the Mississippi Department of Health’s standards of medical cannabis as they contain pesticides.
Steep Hill Mississippi is a branch of Steep Hill—an industry leader in cannabis testing and analytics, located throughout the U.S. and Mexico
“On Nov. 27, I personally went around Rankin County (and) went to a number of gas stations and convenience stores and purchased products labeled they contained delta-9 THC, the primary ingredient in marijuana,” Osbon told the Clarion Ledger.
The products are labeled as hemp yet contain what is most likely potent cannabis.
“Reportedly these come from the hemp plant, not the marijuana plant, and remember as such they can have 0.3% THC,” Osbon said. “Our science team and their technicians tested these for potency, and we were staggered by the results we found.”
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp at the federal level, and in doing so, lawmakers accidentally legalized psychoactive compounds like delta-8 THC that are derived from hemp. Only 0.3% of delta-9 THC on a dry-weight basis is allowed. But the products in Mississippi contain delta-9 THC, which isn’t legal in the state.
Lab technicians discovered some products had 30 to 40 times the amount of THC allowed under the Farm Bill. Some of the samples that were tested had 12-14% delta-9 THC, Osbon explained. They also found that some of the samples contain an assortment of banned pesticides such as bifenazate, myclobutanil, metalaxyl, malathion, chlorantraniliprole, diazinon, spinosad, and permethrins.
“We in no way want to encourage anyone who sees this information to go out and access those products because of their questionable safety,” he said. “While merchants may have been told that these products are safe, legal and tested and may have been told they are exempt from the Farm Bill, our testing results call that into question.”
Medical cannabis dispensary operators are on the same side and said these sketchy hemp products are a threat to lab-tested cannabis that patients depend on.
“These findings undermine patient access to safe and effective medicine, which in-turn undermines the entire medical marijuana program,” Williams said. “There are many Mississippians that have devoted their lives to supporting this program … it undermines their efforts as well.”
Mississippi’s Medical Cannabis Program
Mississippi hemp farmers recently pivoted from hemp to medical cannabis, High Times reported last March.
Also last March, Mississippi lawmakers approved a bill that makes changes to the state’s Medical Cannabis Act, the bill to legalize medical cannabis that was passed by the legislature in 2022.
House Bill 1158 was signed by Gov. Tate Reeves on March 27, 2022. The bill makes clarifications to the state’s medical cannabis program, and it also includes language designed to prevent regulators from passing rules that do not comply with the state’s medical cannabis statute.
The bill makes investigations by state agencies, including citations issued by the Department of Health, confidential until an investigation into the matter has been completed. An earlier version of the bill kept such records out of public view indefinitely, but some senators argued that keeping such material off the public record for any length of time is not acceptable.
“The ‘medical marijuana bill’ has consumed an enormous amount of space on the front pages of the legacy media outlets across Mississippi over the last three-plus years,” Reeves said in a statement that he posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “There is no doubt that there are individuals in our state who could do significantly better if they had access to medically prescribed doses of cannabis. There are also those who really want a recreational marijuana program that could lead to more people smoking and less people working, with all of the societal and family ills that that brings.”
The medical cannabis bill was a source of intense disagreement within the Mississippi legislature, and between lawmakers and Reeves, who was adamant about imposing tight restrictions on any law that emerged.