How Many Were Fooled Into Buying Hemp Instead Of Marijuana? Missouri Businesses Unaware Of 'Synthetic' THC In Products

Over a hundred Missouri cannabis license holders used THC distillate or concentrate in their products without knowing that it's considered a "potential threat to health and safety," reported Missouri Independent's Rebecca Rivas.

Delta Extraction, LLC, the infused product manufacturer at the center of the recent massive recall of 62,000 cannabis products in Missouri, is one to blame for selling Conte Enterprise's THC distillate to those businesses for over a year.

According to Jack Maritz, the general manager and lab manager of Delta Extraction, the company has sold 700 liters of this concoction starting from July 2022. The distillate was composed of THC-A, a non-intoxicating compound found in hemp and safe for use until heated, and a small quantity of marijuana produced in Missouri.

Marijuana businesses that have been buying Delta's product are feeling deceived now that court filings brought to attention that the company has been importing cannabinoids from other states, converting it to THC, and selling it in the regulated market as it was marijuana grown in Missouri.

Marijuana Business Owners Are Feeling Deceived

John Lopez, CEO of Old Route 66 Wellness, whose brand Bison Infused ended up on the recall list for using the THC distillate, said he "would have never bought it" if he knew the truth. The recall, which sparked the ongoing litigation, cost Lopez $800,000 in products.

Meanwhile, Lopez is blaming Oklahoma-based Conte Enterprise, the brand that contracted with Delta to follow a recipe and make the product, instead of Deltta, which produced and sold the distillate.

Another affected business owner, Richard Batenburg Jr., behind Colorado-based The Clear, which used the concentrated THC oil made from industrial hemp by the Robertsville-based company to produce pre-roll joints, said he had no idea that he was buying a "synthetic" THC.

A company he collaborated with to make his brand has now taken legal action against Conte and Delta Extraction. Dark Horse Medicinals claims it suffered losses for buying early $325,000 of distillate in May that was used to manufacture roughly $1 million worth of cannabis products.

State regulators allege that Delta engages in the practice of "inversion" - the process of unlawfully importing marijuana products from other states and blending them with their own in order to artificially bolster their production statistics.

While this move is considered illegal in Missouri, in states like Oklahoma, Arizona and Wyoming, it's considered legal.

"Inversion is not illegal everywhere," attorney Clark Wu, who specializes in hemp and cannabis law and is a partner at the Arizona-based law firm Bianchi & Brandt, said. "In some states … you can do an inversion. There's a legal process for introducing hemp-derived products into the cannabis system."

The Background

The Missouri Division of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) issued a recall on August 14 for cannabis products that were not compliantly tracked in the statewide track and trace system, METRC, which means that the origin of these products, from edibles to vape cartridges, could not be verified or that they required testing before being sold at dispensaries.

Several days later, Delta filed a motion for a temporary restraining order against the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Service and the Division for Cannabis Regulation. A judge rejected the attempt to halt the recall of products shortly after.

Adult-use cannabis sales in Missouri launched in February, several days earlier than expected. During the first three days, weed shops sold some $12.7 million in weed products, of which $4.2 million was medical marijuana and the remaining $8.5 million went to recreational sales.

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Photo: Courtesy of Kimzy Nanney on Unsplash

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsMarketsGeneralClark WuConte EnterpriseDark Horse MedicinalsDelta ExtractionHempJack MaritzJohn LopezLLCmarijuana productsOld Route 66 WellnessRichard Batenburg JrTHC
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