A 16-member task force in Virginia has recommended stricter rules on hemp-derived delta-8 THC products, suggesting that businesses selling the products should be required to apply for a license to do so.

With convenience stores and smoke shops selling delta-8 in the absence of regulated adult-use cannabis sales, the General Assembly created a task force earlier this year to study the issue, according to a Virginia Mercury report.

The task force has now issued a report to lawmakers to recommend policy changes to better regulate delta-8 THC products in the state.

In addition to requiring businesses selling the products to have a state-issued license, the report recommends harsher penalties for businesses that violate the rules, Virginia Mercury reported.

The task force also recommends a new approach for how Virginia regulates all types of cannabis, according to the news outlet, rather than the current situation with numerous agencies overseeing the industry.

The report ultimately recommends determining a product’s legality through its total THC concentration, Virginia Mercury reported. Since many of Virginia’s cannabis laws are based on delta-9 THC, many of the delta-8 products on the market exist in a legal gray area, according to the news outlet, which complicates enforcement.

Looking at total THC concentrations—rather than delta-9 versus delta-8 THC—would help state officials more clearly distinguish how to regulate intoxicating and non-intoxicating products, no matter which plant they are derived from or how they are made, Virginia Mercury reported.

Former Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed an adult-use cannabis legalization bill into law last year. Home grow and cannabis possession provisions took effect July 1, 2021, and commercial sales were slated to start Jan. 1, 2024, but a reenactment clause included in the legislation required all the details about legalizing and regulating adult-use sales to be reapproved—or revised—by the General Assembly.

RELATED: New Governor, Reenactment Clause Could Mean Changes to Virginia’s Adult-Use Cannabis Law

A bill aimed at launching Virginia’s commercial adult-use cannabis market stalled in the House earlier this year.