Marijuana News

Is Delta 8 THC legal? Impact on cannabis legalization

is Delta 8 THC legal?

Delta 8 THC seems to be causing a stir in the U.S. at the moment. People and establishments are wondering whether the police can make arrests and product can be sold without ramifications. A quick example would be the recent standoff between a vape shop owner and upstate police officers who seized products from the shop.

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We’ve already covered key details about the nature of Delta 8 THC in our cannabis science category so we won’t dwell on that. This post focuses on details surrounding the legality of Delta 8, what it means for the marijuana industry, and how it will affect federal legalization.

What is Delta 8 THC?

Delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 8 THC) is widely considered a minor cannabinoid. It is naturally occurring and available in small amounts in cannabis plants. Most Delta 8 THC is generally derived from hemp plants.

However, it’s important to point out that this is different from the THC that’s usually mentioned in everyday cannabis conversations. People mostly refer to Delta 9 THC when the acronym (THC) is used. 

Is Delta 8 THC federally legal?

It’s easy to assume that since Delta 8 THC is related to cannabis, it’s expressly illegal. This is however not true and outrightly misleading. Although it has a potent high, Delta-8 is very different from its Delta 9 counterpart. The legality of this THC can be traced back to 2018 when the Farm Bil was passed. The Farm Bill made special provisions for hemp-derived products with less than 0.3% THC to be exempted from the list of controlled substances. This provision means that it is legal to use or distribute Delta-8 since it is well within the stipulated limits.

How is this possible?

This is possible because Delta 8 THC is derived from the cannabis plant, which has negligible THC traces. Consequently, it is legal to use and distribute at the federal level. However, states still have the powers to control or regulate the use of Delta 8 within their jurisdictions. Just like it is with tobacco, gambling, and even marijuana, states have the powers to allow or ban Delta 8.

So, despite the federal legalization for Delta-8, it’s still not legal in all 50 U.S. states. A total of 11 states have already banned it since then. These states are Utah, Rhode Island, Montana, Mississippi, Iowa, Idaho, Delaware, Colorado, Arkansas, Arizona, and Alaska.  

What does Delta 8 THC mean for the marijuana industry?

The cannabis industry is blooming and Delta-8-THC provides an additional opportunity for businesses in this sector to innovate and perhaps improve their product lineup. However, things are not at the point where we may start seeing dispensaries dedicated to Delta-8 products. Still, if it becomes fully accepted nationwide, it’ll be a positive sign for the rapidly evolving marijuana sector.

How will Delta 8 THC impact federal cannabis legalization?

So far, the legality of Delta 8 THC has had little effect on federal cannabis legalization across the United States. Despite its legality in most states, nearly two-thirds of the states still have recreational cannabis banned state-wide. Also, there is no direct link between state cannabis legalization and legal Delta 8. This means that your state might have legalized cannabis but still maintains a ban on Delta 8. For instance, states like Colorado and Arizona have legalized cannabis for recreational use but still prohibit this THC.

Also, despite being legal at the federal level, the laws governing the use and distribution of Delta 8 varies from state to state. Oregon, for instance, allows for its intrastate distribution, provided it was derived from hemp and it has less than 0.3% THC and complies with the state’s Department of Agriculture’s rules and laws. Becoming a seller within the state also requires authorization from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

Closing thoughts

Despite being legal at the federal level, there’s no direct answer as to whether Delta 8 is legal. The answer to this question will largely depend on where you live and a few other factors highlighted in this post. The most important factor here, however, is that if you choose to buy Delta 8, you should strive to do so from a reputable and authorized seller. The variations in regulations across different states also call for extra care as you move across these jurisdictions.


About Olivia

Olivia, our Oakland-based cannabis guides writer, graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a Bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. She's an independent writer, cannabis enthusiast and Sales Lead at her local dispensary. She's also a recent grad, history buff, and has a passion for animals. You can reach her at [email protected].