GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A law firm in Atlanta said they are filing a lawsuit against the Gwinnett County District Attorney, claiming wrongful arrests, store raids were made in connection with hemp-related products like Delta-8 and Delta-10.
Pate, Johnson & Church Law claims that despite the legality of the products, the DA has unjustly raided retail stores and arrested employees and owners who sell the products.
Products containing Delta-8 and Delta-10 are legal and sold commonly in Georgia, since 2018, so long as they keep the amount of THC or Delta-9 below the 0.3% threshold.
"It's an interesting legal issue," Thomas Church, an attorney on the case said. "And I think, a lot of these business owners we represent are struggling right now. They have to stop selling the stuff over the fear of prosecution."
The Gwinnett County DA's press release was published in the Gwinnett Daily Post and says the products are illegal and potentially fatal.
"The issue is further complicated by the reality that online retailers broadcast that some of these substances are legal and legitimate," the office said in a news release. "With the emergence of the legalization of hemp and low THC oil there are other products which are being sold which are not legal. Two of those products are Delta-8 THC and Delta-10 THC.” The office added, "Delta-8 THC and Delta-10 THC are two substances that are forbidden under Georgia law."
But Church said, this just isn't true.
"If you look at the language of the Hemp Bill (Georgia Hemp Farming Act) that Georgia passed, it's very explicit, hemp and all its extracts, all its derivatives, and critically here, all of its cannabinoids are legal except using more than 0.3% of Delta-9 THC."
Georgia has legalized hemp products that do not contain more than 0.3% of THC by dry weight since 2018, according to the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the federal Farm Bill.
The DA's office was quoted saying in their release that "state law allows the sale of Delta-9 THC when its THC concentration is less than 0.3%," but seems to be torn over the legality of Delta-8 and Delta-10 as they are not specifically defined in law.
"As far as business owners are concerned, they're getting it (Delta-8 or Delta 10 products) from incorporated companies that are giving them lab results with their products," Church said.
Delta-8 and Delta-10 are not synthetic said the firm's website, but are a derivative or extract of CDB and hemp, therefore legal. Delta-9, which is the main psychoactive ingredient or cannabinoid in THC is not legal in Georgia.
Both Delta-8 and Delta-10 are not banned or defined by Georgia's government but they do have to follow FDA regulations like any other product sold on the shelf.
"It's a different argument if I'm going after these otherwise legal products, because they have too much of the illegal stuff in it, but she's (Gwinnett County DA) saying that all the stuff is illegal," Church said.
Church said he's hoping this case could clear up any further confusion in the state about Delta-8 and Delta-10's relationship to THC.