Judge temporarily halts Gwinnett DA’s crackdown on Delta-8

A judge has temporarily halted a crackdown on delta-8 THC products in Gwinnett County by District Attorney Patsy Austin-Gatson’s office.

Law enforcement in the county has raided multiple businesses that produce and sell the products in recent weeks.

A lawsuit filed by business owners seeks a court order declaring that a chemical is legal under state law.

Angi Chahal, who owns Bloom Smoke and Vape, said it’s hurting small businesses like his.

"We have four locations in Gwinnett County and it took about a 30% hit on average between all the stores, which is quite a significant hit," said Chahal, who is a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

On Friday, a judge granted a 30-day temporary restraining order against D.A. Austin-Gatson, stopping her office from busting any more businesses and seizing their products.

Delta-8 and delta-10, which can give a buzz similar to marijuana, have been widely available in stores in Georgia since 2018. The chemicals have been widely considered legal, so long as the products have less than .3% of THC.

In Gwinnett County, that appeared to change sometime in January, when the district attorney’s office put out a press release announcing a crackdown on the products.

The raids soon followed.

"You can’t prosecute by press release," said Tom Church, an attorney for the smoke shops who are suing the D.A. and the state. "These are all cannabinoids that are explicitly legal under the hemp law."

Church says the shops he represents, including Chahal’s, were not raided, but they pulled the products as soon as they found out about the district attorney's move, but they still contend what they were doing was lawful.

Even though the officers in the video say they’re with the police department when announcing their entry, Gwinnett County Police Department emphasized that they have nothing to do with it.

"The County is aware of a pending lawsuit regarding delta-8 products and the G.C.P.D. is evaluating the law as it relates to delta-8 to determine what potential future enforcement measures may or may not be required," a department spokesperson said in an email.


Another spokesperson for G.C.P.D. said it was possibly the multi-jurisdictional metro drug task force.

District Attorney Austin-Gatson declined to talk to FOX 5 on camera, as did a spokesperson for the Gwinnett County Police Department.

"At this time, we have no further comment aside from the press release that you are in possession of," D.A. Austin-Gatson said in an email.

"We want to sell delta 8, but we want to sell delta-8 legally," Chahal said.

The full restraining order can be read below: