Expert available to explain delta-8 Senate State Affairs Committee debate

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An expert on drug policy from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy is available to comment on the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee hearing on how to regulate delta-8/hemp-cannabinoid products.

Katharine Neill Harris, the Alfred C. Glassell, III, Fellow in Drug Policy at the Baker Institute, submitted recommendations to the committee members and argued that banning hemp-derived cannabinoids would be ineffective and increase risks for consumers – view the full commentary here.

She explained how a lack of sufficient safeguards and oversight may lead to products containing harmful additives or having inconsistent and unreliable dosages. 

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“The rapidly evolving cannabinoid marketplace, combined with unreliable product labeling, can easily confuse consumers,” Harris wrote. “When consumers don’t have complete and accurate information about a product’s ingredients and likely effects, the risks of adverse health events increase.”

The most compelling reason not to outlaw hemp-derived cannabinoids is that a broad ban, even a poorly enforced one, would harm consumers more than the state’s current system, Harris argued.

“As of April 2024, Texas had over 7,000 registered hemp dispensaries. More than 50,000 Texans are estimated to be employed through the hemp sector. A state ban would ruin this industry, but it would not reduce consumer demand for hemp-derived cannabinoids,” she wrote. “Instead, consumers would turn to the illicit hemp market that would inevitably form in the wake of state prohibition. Products sold today in state-registered shops would still be available through underground supply networks that would reap billions in tax-free profits.”

To schedule an interview with Harris, or for more information, contact Avery Franklin, media relations specialist at Rice, at or 713-348-6327.