Outright THC ban could be deadly for Texans, shop owner says

thc ban texas

*This article first appeared on MySanAntonio.com

Yet again, Republican Texas legislators have been tasked with banning what essentially has been an unintended loophole that legalized certain strains of THC – the psychoactive compound in marijuana. But local shop owners say such a ban could have deadly or seriously negative consequences for those who’ve turned to legal strains of THC to treat ailments and illnesses.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s 2025 legislative agenda calls for Texas officials to investigate the banning of Delta-8 and 9, which are strains of THC made legal both fully and partially by previous legislation which narrowly banned certain strains of the psychoactive compound. In his legislative priorities, he calls for the ban of both strains and calls on legislators to “examine the sale of intoxicating hemp products in Texas” and to “make recommendations to further regulate the sale of these products.” Further, he wants legislation passed which halts retailers from marketing these products to children.

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In Texas, access to medical marijuana is severely limited and held only for those with severe illnesses; the “compassionate use program,” which dictates what illnesses warrant a medical marijuana license, limits legal use of marijuana to patients who suffer from epilepsy, a seizure disorder, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, autism, cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, or an incurable neurodegenerative disease. For many, however, the psychoactive and pain-dulling benefits of marijuana have been beneficial through legal compounds of THC.

Patients often use Delta-8 along with other medications to help with depression and prevent substance abuse (this can be accomplished by replacing opioids with Delta-8, which has proven to be very effective especially with patients suffering from chronic pain),” the Texas Cannabis Clinic said in a statement. “Delta-8 is known as being effective at helping patients ease symptoms not only from chronic pain but also from stress, low appetite, nausea and vomiting (particularly due to chemotherapy treatments) and mental health conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder.”

Emerald Forest CBD Dispensary owner Romish Abdulrashid, who owns and operates several shops around San Antonio which dispense CBD and THC products, said he’s heard numerous personal stories of people who’ve reaped the benefits of the legal compounds. In fact, he says many have made the switch over from buying marijuana on the street to more trusted, lab-tested legal products from stores.

“There’s been a lot of people who went from using just regular cannabis to Delta 8,” Abdulrashid told MySA. “But it’s also been customers that have been using opioids in the past. Let’s say, God forbid, someone gets in a car accident and has lots of back pain. They’ll go to a doctor, and their doctor will prescribe them opioids that have a lot of bad side effects and could also be very addictive. A lot of those people have switched over to Delta-8.”

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Research from the Texas Cannabis Industry shows 8-12 percent of patients prescribed opioids develop an addiction to the painkiller, and some 21-29 percent of patients prescribed opioids misuse the drugs. The study says some 115 Americans overdoes on opioids every day – an epidemic marked by the shocking number of fentanyl deaths in Austin in recent weeks. Abdulrashid says access to legal THC products has helped curb Texans’ reliance on addictive opioids, but he says banning the legal compounds could have deadly side effects.

“I think if that bill were to pass, what would basically happen is, unfortunately, a lot of these shops, including ours, would probably have to close since that’s the majority of our business,” Abdulrashid said, noting there’s been a 300-400 percent increase in the number of dispensaries over the past few years. “And for our customers who have been relying on our shops, they would have to switch over to products that they would have to find on the streets. And the number of overdoses or things like that that would happen from this would be a direct result from the banning of Delta-8 or Delta-9 or any of these legal hemp products.”

Beyond just pain management in instances of wrecks or injury, Abdulrashid says these legal compounds are treating ailments like insomnia, sleep paralysis, inflammation, anxiety, and many more. Banning these alternative treatment methods for those seeking help would have a detrimental impact on the qualify of life of Texans, Abdulrashid said.

Abdulrashid isn’t entirely against legislators putting some work in when it comes to legal THC compounds, though. He’s in full support of legislative efforts which further regulate the sale of the psychoactive products, requiring lab testing and quality control to ensure the products are safe and being used as intended – a process which he says his company already practices, lab-testing their products for quality purposes and clearly labeling the ingredients.

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“One thing that I actually am in support of is actually regulating it,” Abdulrashid said. “I understand where they might be coming from since Delta-8 is not regulated by anyone. I do see sometimes I’ll go into a gas station, and they’ll have Delta-8 products. And it’ll just be in those simple baggies. Yes, that I understand. But they could always regulate it to make it’s like, ‘Hey. You have to test your products. It has to be safe.’ But don’t outright ban it.”

Zachary-Taylor Wright