On October 15th, 2021, Texas Health and Human Services Department issued a notice clarifying that Delta-8 products are not legal for sale in the state of Texas. This is on the heels of the South Carolina Attorney General releasing a statement on October 4th, effectively making Delta-8 illegal there as well.
Anyone in the hemp retail industry knows that Delta-8 sales are driving businesses currently, and with these types of products being the backbone of revenue for a store owner, retailers are scrambling to stay afloat.
Retailers Need to Prepare
If you are one of the lucky retailers who have a store in a state that has not banned Delta-8, that doesn’t mean you can relax. At the time of this writing, 22 states have banned or limited Delta-8 sales, and the list grows larger every week.
In order to protect your business and weather any sort of regulatory storm, it is important that store owners start diversifying their products as soon as possible.
For those that are unfortunate enough to be in a state that has banned Delta-8 already, there is no time to waste.
What Can a Retailer Do?
Retailers have options! Here are some strategies that retailers can employ in order to be more ban-resistant.
First and foremost, retailers can engage within the community to further build ties with customers and provide additional value. For CBD and wellness shops, retailers can demonstrate how other non-Delta-8 products can help their customers in other non-intoxicating ways. Inherently, once customers understand what their options are and how the endocannabinoid system works, the retailer is likely to see an increase in CBD sales.
For vape or smoke shop owners, holding classes on topics like “how to clean your glass,” “how dab rigs work,” and “how to manage your vape device” including voltage and maintenance discussions. Hosting these types of classes are sure to drive vape, tobacco, and accessory sales.
Local marketing can be tricky, but one strategy that is proven successful time and time again is to focus on a small niche within your community and get in front of that audience. An example of this would be partnering with breweries in Colorado, meeting up with a farmers group in Iowa, and teaming up with a rodeo events company in Texas. Depending on the stores location, there will always be cultural niches that are unique, and working within these existing audiences to get face time with customers to introduce products you still carry will translate into a larger customer base and more stable revenue.
New Product Types
Another method is to introduce new product types that will fill the Delta-8 void. There is a new product type in the hemp industry that works as a direct replacement for Delta-8: hemp-derived Delta-9 products. Delta-9 THC, while it sounds like a new fancy isomer, is actually the “original” THC that everyone knows and loves. This is the same THC that already exists in full-spectrum products today.
Companies like Trojan Horse Cannabis have developed dispensary grade THC and CBD edibles that are Farm Bill compliant. Their flagship gummy, for example, has 10 milligrams of D9 THC and 100 milligrams of CBD per gummy, while staying under the 0.3% limit as required by law. These types of products, as long as they are not isomerized or synthesized, are more robust against regulatory change, because they are essentially just full-spectrum products.
Be Transparent About THC
Another method to employ is to actively market the THC content of their existing full-spectrum CBD products. For some reason, there has been a strange tendency in the industry to hide or obfuscate THC content in full-spectrum CBD, with statements like “less than 0.3% THC” or “trace amounts of THC, Farm Bill Compliant” being the only mention of THC on the label or marketing material.
Store owners can look through the COAs of their existing full-spectrum product lines, do the math to understand how much THC exists in each product, then throw stickers on the shelves showing the exact milligrams per serving or unit of Delta-9 THC. For example, if you carry Lazarus Naturals Birthday Cake Full Spectrum Tincture, each milliliter of tincture has 2 milligrams of Delta-9 THC, meaning the entire 30 milliliter bottle has 60 milligrams of Delta-9 that can be marketed.
Hang In There, Retailers
Retail stores are the backbone of the hemp industry. Additionally, wth the PACT act taking effect, vape and smoke shops are now the backbone of their respective industries as well. Our industries need retailers to just survive, but to thrive. I encourage the reader of this article to make it a point to visit a new retailer today and support them by purchasing a product and showing your support.
Hang in there, retailers. Get scrappy, focus on customers and quality, and thrive!