WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — 3BUDS LLC, a full-service Delta 8 cannabinoid company held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the grand opening of their hemp dispensary on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre, Tuesday.

The dispensary sells Delta 8, but many wonder what is Delta 8, how is it legal and how does it differ from medical marijuana (Delta 9 THC)?

3BUDS is owned by brothers-in-law, Ted Lasher and Hunter Smetana, along with their “honorary brother” Colby Kluk. The business started online as an e-commerce business that has grown into 3 physical locations in Wilkes-Barre, Wyoming and Scranton.

“I’m super excited, I couldn’t sleep last night, but I’m also excited to see the public’s reaction to see how they feel getting access to these products. We get to inform and help educate the public and break the stigma,” said Ted Lasher, co-owner, 3BUDS LLC.

According to Lasher, all products for sale in the shop are legal under state and federal law as it is classified as Delta 8 THC. Delta 8 is derived from the same genome as Delta 9 (marijuana), however, it’s a different breakdown of cannabinoids.

“Delta 8 comes from the hemp plant and is specifically classified as Delta 8 because it has .003 percent THC or less. There is a classification between hemp and marijuana. As long as the percent of cannabis flower is less than .003 percent it is classified as hemp. So anything derived from that hemp plant can be turned around, isolated and supplied as a hemp-based product, explained Lasher.

To make a purchase at 3BUDS, no medical marijuana card is required and it is open to the public.

“We encourage cardholders to come in because often our prices are better than what they’ll see at the state stores,” said Lasher.

Lasher says with Delta 8, there are plenty of different cannabinoids to customize to what your specific needs are.

He says the first thing he asks a customer is ‘what brought them into the store?,’ because from there he can get down to the root of what’s going on and get the specific Delta 8 products the customer needs.

“When you come into a shop like this you can really narrow in on what cannabinoid is helping you, whether you need it for sleep, anxiety, or depression, you can pick the specific isolate that is helping you. Delta 8 has more of a body and internalized reaction, as opposed to Delta 9 which has much more mind-altering psychoactive impact,” said Lasher.

The dispensary sells Delta 8 flower, smokeables, disposable vapes, edibles, tinctures and capsules. Which can be used for many different purposes, from medical to supplemental.

“For example, if you take a Delta 8 sleep gummy within an hour of bedtime, you will reach REM sleep within two hours,” claims Lasher. “The flower however is by far the best seller.”

Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown is hopeful in working with the owners of 3BUDS, implementing his 9-point plan where grant funding is identified for people who move their business into the City of Wilkes-Barre and may help them pay their rent for up to 12 months.

“I promote entrepreneurs coming in, investing in the city. Another new entrepreneurship here. Brand new business, downtown Wilkes-Barre, you’re gonna see a lot of new growth in this city,” said Brown.

Along with owning a dispensary comes certain rules and regulations owners must follow in order to keep the business open, and according to co-owner Hunter Smetana, right now they’re regulating themselves.

“Everything in the store is regulated through the PA Hemp Industry and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (DPA). Hemp is considered a noxious gas so to sell it you do need a permit. The PDA will also come out and do compliance checks and things like that, so in terms of making sure everything is compliant, we lab test all product that comes in and then we test it again. Its a lot of self-regulation at this point, there really isn’t set rules. So, a bunch of owners got together and said if you’re not doing certain tests, we don’t want it, because we don’t know what’s in it. So, to compete in the online commerce world we constantly had to adapt to become what we are today.”

Hunter Smetana, 3BUDS, Co-Owner

According to co-owner, Colby Kluk, until the specific regulation is in place they will continue to self-regulate and test the products themselves.

The 3BUDS dispensary will be open 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Tuesday – Thursday, and 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday,

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Delta-8 THC products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use and may be marketed in ways that put the public health at risk. You can learn more by going to the FDA’s website.