SD Senate & House approve ban on ‘diet weed,’ or chemically modified hemp

PIERRE, S.D. – A bill that would ban so-called “diet weed” in South Dakota has made it to the governor’s desk. Both the state House and Senate have approved House Bill 1125, which would prohibit the chemical modification or conversion of industrial hemp, as well as the sale or distribution of the substance.

According to the South Dakota Department of Health, which spoke out in favor of the bill, naturally occurring CBD from hemp can be chemically modified to create these potentially dangerous substances in massive quantities. Unlike the natural plant which produces very small amounts of Delta-8, 9 or 10 THC, “diet weed” is created using a chemical reaction often in an unregulated lab, which may be contaminated with the harmful chemicals used to make them. 

The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported more than 2,300 poison control calls related to these products in 2021-2022. More than 70% required hospitalization. 

“The Federal Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health and state poison control centers have all started to sound the alarm on these products, not only related to their overdose and safety concerns, but the deaths that are now associated with these products,” the SD Department of Health wrote in a news release.

Emily’s Hope founder Angela Kennecke also spoke out in favor of the bill, saying that it aligns with the non profit’s mission by seeking to prohibit the sale of these harmful substances while preserving access to non-psychoactive hemp-derived products that offer therapeutic benefits.

“Furthermore, we are deeply concerned about the potential impact of these substances on children and adolescents,” Kennecke said, “THC introduced into the developing brain increases the risk of substance use disorder by 15 percent. Therefore, we must take proactive steps to prevent children from accessing products containing psychoactive cannabinoids, such as Delta-8, Delta-9, and Delta-10 THC.”

The SD Department of Health also notes that the packaging can be very enticing to children and young adults. Sometimes it resembles candy and is sold over the counter in gas stations, CBD shops, vape shops and grocery stores in South Dakota.

Courtesy: SD Department of Health

Seventeen other states have already banned “diet weed,” including North Dakota.