(WFXR) — Delta-8 is a naturally occurring compound in cannabis plants. It has similar properties to Delta-9 THC — the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, but it’s much milder.

However, the compound was concentrated and marketed as a loophole cannabinoid that can still get you high.

“It was being sold in gas stations. It was being sold in smoke shops. You name it, it was sold there and I think that’s where the problem came,” said Derek Wall, co-owner of The Buffalo Hemp Company. “It was too available.”

The Buffalo Hemp Company — which has locations in Floyd, Roanoke, and Blacksburg — sells CBD and Delta-8 products. Wall says they started selling Delta-8 in September to stay competitive and they grew to rely on the product for sales.

However, the product doesn’t have to be sold by cannabis shops. Debbie Custer, who owns The Hemp Mill in Vinton, says businesses are popping up to capitalize on the product’s popularity.

“I see it more at convenience stores than anywhere else,” said Custer. “I sit on a board with a banker and he says more smoke shops have opened up in the past year.”

Custer doesn’t sell Delta-8 products because her store is organic. She says there isn’t enough research or regulations.

“It’s produced no differently than another pharmaceutical drug, but it’s not produced in the same environment as another pharmaceutical drug,” said Custer.

“The problem with it is it is not regulated at all,” agreed Wall.

Wall says his customers use Delta-8 recreationally and for cannabis’ various health benefits, like better sleep. It’s a popular seller and he hasn’t seen many issues. He believes Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s amendment pushes the industry in the right direction, but he also thinks Virginia is close to legalizing marijuana and Delta-8 was helpful in preparing for that.

“It’s very similar to what people in legal states would be getting and I think it gave us a test run if anything of how to treat marijuana products,” said Wall.

According to Wall, the short-term impacts of the ban on Delta-8 would be severe if the legislation passes through the General Assembly. He says he’s likely to have to close a store and lay off some employees, but he’s optimistic for Virginia’s marijuana industry, adding that, in the long run, Delta-8 won’t be missed.