Monday, November 8, 2021
Regular readers are familiar with my regular posts highlighting papers from the on-going series of student papers supported by the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center. I am excited to now be able to highlight another version of one of these papers resulting from DEPC's partnership with the Reason Foundation to turn student work into extended policy briefs. Nathaniel Wilson, a student at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, has this new full policy brief completed under the full title "New Market Entrants and Uncertain Drug Policy in the United States: Kratom and Delta-8 THC Illustrate Tradeoffs." Here is part of the brief's introduction:
This brief focuses on two substances that ... are each regularly sold to consumers across the country and are gaining in popularity, especially among younger demographics. Delta-8 THC is a relatively new phenomenon that has been introduced into consumer markets across the country, though it has been a known derivative of the cannabis plant for decades. The brief will discuss the legality of delta-8 THC, including the significant role of the 2018 Farm Bill, in this analysis. Additionally, it examines whether or not delta-8 THC is truly legal at the federal level today and provides a forward-looking analysis as to any potential changes that are likely to come in the future. This brief then explores concerns that a business has to contend with if it wants to manufacture and sell delta-8 products, as well as the policy considerations for regulators who want to focus their sights on these particular products. After discussing delta-8, this brief turns to kratom, a substance similarly besieged by incoherent government policy as it gets regularly sold to consumers across the country. Kratom, which is marketed as an herbal supplement, is another substance that has been around for a long time but has seen a recent rise in interest for its potential recreational and therapeutic applications. As with delta-8, this brief discusses the legal environment surrounding kratom, as well as the policy considerations that must factor into an effective regulatory scheme for this particular substance. The concluding discussion forges the overall approach that should be taken when dealing with new market entrants in these “underground” markets.