Supervisors tour new Highway Department Garage in Loyal

Health department addresses dangers of legal hemp products

By Nicole Rogers
Posted 6/26/24

The Clark County Board of Supervisors met on June 20 at the new Clark County Highway Department Garage in Loyal. The previous night, a tour was given of the new facility and midway through the …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Supervisors tour new Highway Department Garage in Loyal

Health department addresses dangers of legal hemp products


The Clark County Board of Supervisors met on June 20 at the new Clark County Highway Department Garage in Loyal. The previous night, a tour was given of the new facility and midway through the supervisor’s meeting on Thursday the group toured the garage as well. The Loyal facility is approximately 25,400 square feet and houses an administrative office, a 1,050 square feet multipurpose room with a meeting area, break room and time recording kiosk; locker rooms with 11 men’s lockers and 4 women’s lockers; and a shop area with 6 ton truck hoist, 10 ton overhead crane, and four column Steril-Koni lifts. The garage also has a separate parts rooms, a welding room, an oil room and a mezzanine with extra storage space and an area to house an air compressor system for the entire building. There is a fuel island, wash bay and a 9,890 square foot truck storage.

Rebecca Greisen and Brittany Mews of the Clark County Health Department along with Abby/Colby Police/School Safety Officer Patrick Leichtnam and talked about the legal and regulatory landscape of CBD and THC products in the county as it affects area youth. Abbotsford School District Administrator Ryan Bargender pointed out that vaping is a problem in all schools and that Abby Schools decided to purchase a vape detector  and employ a school safety officer which has helped with this problem. Concerns were raised about the potential risks associated with these products among youth, and the need for regulation and enforcement. They raised the concern about the availability of these products which can look much like popular candy brands and can have the potential to make those who smoke or ingest them high or feel drunk.

An informational sheet was passed around to the board members which offered an overview of Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC products. It stated both marijuana and hemp plants contain the psychoactive component THC. Marijuana contains more Delta-9 THC than hemp. Hemp contains both Delta-9 and Delta-8 THC. Legally, a hemp plant is a cannabis plant that contain .3% or less of Delta-9 THC. The Delta-8 is also known as “lite cannabis” or “diet weed.” This type of THC nearly all comes from cannabidiol (CDB), which has been extracted from federally legal hemp plants. As it is 50-75% psychoactive as Delta-9 THC, it is frequently sold and marketed as an intoxicating product.

It was pointed out that due to a loophole in the 2018 Farm Bill both Delta-9 and Delta-8 products derived from the hemp plant are unregulated and on the federal level do not have age restrictions. Unless a retailer has their own restrictions in place, youth may have access to these products. According to Wisconsin State Cannabis Org., Wisconsin customers must be at least 21 years old to make in-person or online purchases. Hemp-based THC products available for sale in Wisconsin include gummies, edibles, pre-rolled smokable joints, and cartridges.

“Prior to 2018 hemp was not differentiated from other cannabis plants like the marijuana plant,” Rebecca Greisen explained. “Prior to 2018, hemp and hemp seed were controlled substances according to the Drug Enforcement Agency or the DEA. The 2018 Farm Bill changed all of that and reclassified making it legal to grow. And again, the hemp plants are identified by having a point 3% or less of that Delta-9 THC, the most important difference from the hemp plant in the marijuana. This Farm Bill accidentally created a loophole, which now leads to development of novel THC products. Hemp plants are legal, but they do still have those chemical properties. So, what happened is manufacturers began taking some of these non-psychoactive components such as CBD and different types of Delta, and they started tweaking them up and synthesized them and now they're making products that are psychoactive. So, they're taking a legal product, altering the chemicals in it, and now you can get high off it with some of these products.”

For the last six years Police Officer Leichtnam sat on a committee with the Marshfield Clinic for their opioid addiction grant they received which has led him to the current addiction issues with area youth.

“This is what spear-headed the talk about Delta products, THC products, vaping in general and our youth,” Leichtnam stated. “If you could lump all of that together, and how this is affecting our kids, we've been talking about this for about the last six years. Yes, I don't know why, but it's exploded in the last six years and it's everywhere. Those products are sold locally, in our stores, in our gas stations, anywhere that sells your vapes that have anything besides nicotine. And they'll sell with the packaging, that say THC-A, THC-P, THC-C, or Delta H, and in some, flipping around the back of the box will clearly tell you that there's also THC, 80 percent, which is a very high concentration. So where's this going? This is very readily accessible to our kids, they can get it on the internet, they have, they can walk right in the stores and buy it themselves and not get IDed or carded or older friends, relatives or even parents, may buy it for the kids. And so, that's coming into our schools.”

With this information, Leichtman passed around examples of vape pens, cartridges and other paraphernalia which was confiscated from schools. He advocated creating an ordinance to help keep these products out of the hands of youth and out of the schools. State and federal laws on legalized hemp and cannabis leaves it open to local authority to take more restrictive regulatory measures. Leichtman presented an ordinance enacted by Wood County that regulated Hemp-derived cannabinoids which stated it shall be illegal for any person under 21 to possess or use any amount of hemp-derived cannabinoid including delta-8 THC, delta-10 THC, HHC, HHC-O, THCA, THC-O, THCP or THCV. It also made it illegal to sell or deliver these products to anyone under 21 and these products cannot be sold within 750 feet of a hospital, church or youth serving organization.

Clark County Health Director Brittany Mews encouraged those who are concerned about this issue to speak with the health department if they would like to take action on this issue.