FILE - Bob Morgan

In this July 15, 2014 file photo, Bob Morgan answers questions after a Joint Committee on Administrative Rules meeting in Chicago.

(The Center Square) – Delta-8, which has been called both “THC-lite” and "CBD on crack," has become increasingly popular throughout the state of Illinois as a substitute for cannabis. 

The increase in use has led members of the cannabis industry and some lawmakers to call for more regulation of the product. Delta-8 comes from the cannabis plant, but is distinct from both cannabidiol – the popular non-intoxicating supplement – and THC, or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that gets people high.

Pam Althoff, executive director of the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois, has been vocal in favor of more regulation for Delta-8. She called it a “cheaper and more dangerous substitute for legal weed,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported

Some cannabis dispensaries in the state sell products that contain Delta 8, in addition to products that contain CBD and THC.

Deerfield Democrat state Rep. Bob Morgan sponsored House Bill 147, which would regulate Delta-8 and other cannabinoid products. Morgan said the products in kiosks and shops are “untested, unsafe, and high in metals and pesticides.”

“You have all seen CBD stores and kiosks, but right now they are completely unregulated in Illinois," Morgan said. "They Are untested, they are unsafe, they include heavy metals and chemicals and pesticides."

3 chi, a Carmel, Indiana, company that makes products that contain Delta-8, said it makes safe products that “use all legal ingredients as well as post the finished batch testing information on their website.” The company also said its products are 100% pure. 

On Tuesday, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, who helped usher in the bill that legalized recreational cannabis use in Illinois, signed on to Morgan's bill as a chief co-sponsor.

On Wednesday, Morgan's bill passed out of the Illinois House of Representatives. 

“This is a public health crisis,” Morgan said in a statement after the vote. “Thousands of people in Illinois are buying products labeled as CBD, Delta-8, or other hemp derivatives, without any way of being sure what these products contain. Some may not contain any CBD or hemp at all.”

Staff Reporter

Andrew Hensel reports on issues in Chicago and Statewide. He has been with The Center Square News since April of 2021 and was previously with The Joliet Slammers.