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DeWine wants to stop hemp from being sold to children

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(The Center Square) – Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine wants lawmakers to move quickly to stop the sale of modified hemp products to children.

DeWine says rogue chemists are modifying hemp – a legal, non-intoxicating plant – to pull out Delta 8 THC that causes a high similar to marijuana and marketing to children across the state.

The products are being sold in stores as candy, cereal, gummy candy and other things attractive to children.

“The current loophole that allows these dangerous products to be sold to children needs to be closed as soon as possible,” DeWine said. “Right now, Senator Steve Huffman is working on a bill to address this, and once it is introduced, I encourage members of the Ohio General Assembly to act quickly to pass it. These products are marketed to kids and are made to look like their favorite candy and treats. With no regulation and wide availability, it is all too easy for kids to get them.”

The Ohio Poison Control said there have been 257 records of Delta 8 poisoning in the state in the past three years. Last year, there were 102, including 42 children under the age of 6.

According to Dr. Gary Wenk, emeritus professor of behavioral neuroscience at The Ohio State University and The Ohio State University Medical Center, the impact can be substantial.

“Children have difficulty paying attention in class; they become emotionally unstable; they have difficulty learning things; they stop attending classes; and they start acting out at home,” Wenk said. “The parents know something is wrong, but if [their child] is just eating ‘cereal’ in their bedroom, it’s easy for them to hide. That’s why this is a crisis, it’s because it is a perfectly legal compound that does a great deal of well-documented harm.”

DeWine wants the products regulated the same way new recreational marijuana laws require products to be sold only by licensed retailers to people 21 years old and older. Currently, the products can be sold to anyone.

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