Enforcement Bulletin 22-01: Purchase or sale of synthetic THC, including hemp-derived delta-8 THC

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March 17, 2022

To: Liquor Industry Members

From: Chandra Brady, Enforcement and Education Division Director

Subject: Purchase or sale of synthetic THC, including hemp-derived delta-8 THC

Enforcement Bulletin 22-01

This bulletin is offered in response to stakeholders who have requested additional guidance regarding synthetic THC following the release of LCB Policy Statement #PS21-01 on April 28, 2021.

Policy Statement # PS21-01, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) compounds other than delta-9 and the conversion of CBD, hemp, or both to delta-8 THC, delta-9 THC, delta-10 THC, THC-O-acetate, or any other cannabis compound that is not currently identified or defined in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), the Washington Administrative Code (WAC), or both.

Policy Statement #PS21-01 referenced that under RCW 69.50.204, delta-8 THC and synthetic equivalents are Schedule 1 controlled substances. Under current law, liquor licensees may not buy or sell hemp-derived delta-8 THC, or other synthetic THC products. Engaging in this activity is a violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act (RCW 69.50.401).

 What does this mean for licensees?

  • Retailers may not knowingly purchase products which contain delta-8 THC converted from CBD, or other forms of synthetic THC, nor may retailers sell such products to consumers. 
  • Manufacture, distribution, possession, or sale of synthetic THC is a violation of a liquor license for engaging in criminal conduct (WAC 314-55-015).
  • Sale or distribution of synthetic THC could result in the suspension or revocation of a liquor license.

How will the LCB Enforcement and Education staff approach this in the field?

The Enforcement and Education team will approach this from an education-first perspective in order to help licensees achieve compliance. Our team has several tools to use to help; communication, basic education, administrative holds, and warnings. However, if we identify licensees who are knowingly and intentionally violating rules and law or licensees who do not demonstrate a desire to achieve compliance, we will take appropriate enforcement action. As synthetic THC products, such as delta-8 THC, are Schedule 1 controlled substances, LCB officers will seize these products as contraband to prevent further distribution. This includes but is not limited to gummies containing delta-8 THC. See some examples of these synthetic THC products on the LCB website.

Are there any exceptions?

There are no exceptions.

If you have any questions, please contact your assigned enforcement officer.