Georgia Appeals Court rules Delta-8, Delta-10 are legal despite health warnings from doctors

ATLANTA — For the first time, the Georgia Court of Appeals is weighing in on Delta-8 and Delta-10, upholding they are legal.

A Gwinnett County task force raided a distributor and took Delta-8 and Delta-10 products in February 2022.

They are made from hemp but contain THC, which can create a high.

On Thursday, the court ruled Delta-8 and -10 are not controlled substances and the products should be returned to the distributor.

Delta-8 is sold in local gas stations and vape shops. Some people say it helps them physically and mentally.

[HAVE A STORY FOR 2 INVESTIGATES? Submit your tip here]

But Channel 2 investigative reporter Sophia Choi learned that doctors have been warning that people are getting sick from the products, including children.

Choi met Rowan Dyer as she was buying some Delta-8 at the Great Vape Shop in Gwinnett County.

She told Choi that she started using it after a car wreck to avoid becoming addicted to painkillers like opioids.

“My back’s messed up and everything. And this helps a whole lot more than anything else. And I’ve tried, like, a lot of stuff,” Dyer said.

Right now, Delta-8 is legal in Georgia because of a loophole in the Federal Farm Bill, which allows the sale of hemp, cannabis with less than point 3 percent THC.

Georgia passed its own version of the law with the 2019 Hemp Farming Act.

Delta-8 is isolated from hemp, so therefore OK for retailers like Michael Peterson to sell.

“It helps people out there that don’t want to go to the doctor and get pharmaceutical drugs,” Peterson said.

But unlike pharmaceuticals, Delta 8 isn’t regulated.


Dr. Gaylord Lopez heads the Georgia Poison Center, where he’s seen increasing calls about Delta-8 – 208 in the last year alone.

“It’s like playing medicine roulette. You just don’t know what you’re going to get,” Lopez said.

He said children are getting sick, from a parent inadvertently leaving it out.

In a warning from May 2022, the FDA noted the death of a child amongst the more than 2,300 calls to the National Poison Control Center about Delta 8, which comes in various forms including gummies, cookies and chocolate.

Critics say they’re made to look like sweets to temp kids and teens.

“It’s not unusual for kids to polish off entire bags of this stuff because they’re used to candy,” Lopez said.

Adults are also calling for help with varying symptoms including vomiting, dizziness and drowsiness.

Our Sister station in Orlando, WFTV, spoke with a mother there who said her adult aged son ended up in the hospital for psychosis after vaping Delta-8 for about a year.

“Every 10 seconds, literally, he would say did I die?” the mother said, asking not to be identified. “I said, ‘He’s out of his mind.’”

“These are not regulated. There’s no proper dosing really on these products. And when you play doctor yourself, you can run into problems,” Lopez said.

Tom Church said the Delta-8 industry welcomes regulation. He’s an attorney who successfully represented Delta-8 distributors and retailers in court after they started getting raided because police couldn’t tell the difference between pot and Delta-8.

“These are business owners; these aren’t drug dealers. They want to do things right and they want to comply with the law,” Church said.

Ron Thornton works at the Great Vape and told Choi that he takes Delta-8 himself for anxiety.

“It’s not so much the fogginess that you get from actually smoking marijuana. It’s more of a body sensation,” Thorton said. “It’s not as potent, and it doesn’t last as long.”

Thornton said Delta 8 is gaining popularity. Sales of Delta-8 reached $2 billion in the past two years, according to Forbes.

Dyer said she’ll keep buying it as long as she can.

“I can function and do everything that I would normally do without it. Whereas, if I was on any of the prescribed medication, I would be tired, lethargic,” Dyer said.

Georgia lawmakers introduced two bills to regulate Delta-8 in the last session but neither of them passed.