Kansas Businessmen Warned to Sell Some Vapes, Gummies Considered Illegal and Confusing Laws

Kansas businesses have been warned that selling certain vapes, gummies and other products could land them in legal trouble due to a confusing series of updates to the state’s cannabis laws.


The main concern is that products made from delta-8 THC, a cousin of the delta-9 THC chemical in marijuana, are sold and marketed legally in states, even where marijuana is illegal, because Delta-8 is synthesized from CBD. Popular chemical derived from cannabis that Congress legalized in 2018.

The growing popularity of Delta-8 products has led some businesses to wonder whether they are legally allowed to be sold.


Kelly Ripple, cofounder of Kansas for Hemp, told the Associated Press that an amendment to the state’s Hemp Act that took effect last April was designed to make more hemp products like Delta-8 legal.

However, the language of the law, combined with recent court rulings and the decision of the state attorney general, has also left local and state officials uncertain about the legality of the products.


“I do not doubt that you and many others think marijuana and/or hemp products should be legalized or legalized in some way,” Ellis County Prosecutor Robert Anderson wrote in a letter to businesses last week. “My obligation to the Ellis County Attorney is to enforce the laws as they are written.”

Gummies containing CBD (cannabidiol) are seen at a shop in the Paris area on June 14, 2018. Kansas businesses and legal officials are confused about which THC products are legal because last year’s law changes and the decisions of judges and the Kansas attorney general have created confusion about legality.
Geoffroy van der Hasselt / AFP via Getty Images

In the Hays area of ​​western Kansas, Anderson sent letters to 15 different businesses last week warning them that selling the products could open them up to criminal liability, and that those who want real legislative changes should not be allowed to change their business. Representative should be contacted.

Ripple, who serves on the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Hemp Advisory Board, insists they remain legal. He added that there are different types of THC and Delta-8 is not considered a controlled substance. He added that, however, state laboratories do not have the ability to tell whether the THC in a product comes from delta-8, as opposed to an illegal marijuana plant.


“We need some clear standards from the legislature on this. “Because prohibition hasn’t worked, we know this.”

The Attorney General’s opinion states that cigarettes, tea, flour and vapes are illegal regardless of THC levels.

But Ripple said other products, including gummies and topicals, are legal as long as they don’t contain more than .3 percent THC in total.


Anderson said in an interview that the issue is that many of the products sold contain far higher levels of THC.

A judge in Ellis County also weighed in on December 22, finding that Delta-8 products are illegal. The ruling stems from an illegal possession charge that Anderson filed in August against a man who broke into businesses that sell Delta-8 products and then allegedly sold stolen goods.

Anderson said the man’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the product was legal, but the judge disagreed.

“It makes its way into every county in Kansas,” he said of Delta-8. “And so now we’re stuck in this weird place all over Kansas, where there are going to be hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses that sell this stuff and they’re arguably selling it illegally like they’re a Be like regular drug dealers. And in some counties, they may be treated like that.”

He said another concern is that people could unintentionally get into trouble if they are arrested on unrelated charges and law enforcement runs a field test that detects THC in their systems. He said the tests can’t differentiate whether THC comes from marijuana or cannabis.

Agency spokeswoman Melissa Underwood said the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, which requested the attorney general’s opinion, has not conducted an enforcement campaign, nor sent notice letters to anyone believed to be Delta- Selling 8 products. She said hopefully the opinion provides clarity.

After Anderson first raised concerns last year, Shawn Musil stopped selling chocolates and gummies containing delta-8 THC at the Paisley Pier Wine Bar, Bistro, and Shop, which he and his wife run in downtown Hays. He said he still has about $300 worth of unsold products.

“We’re probably getting ready to destroy it because it’s not worth it,” he said, adding that he never used it personally. “I personally think that ultimately, maybe I’m wrong, but ultimately, it will probably be legal in Kansas.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

vaping pen
The sale of Delta-8 could land businesses in trouble over the question of its legality. In this April 16, 2019 file photo, a researcher holds a vape pen in a laboratory in Portland, Ore.
Craig Micheldeier, File/AP Photo