To the uninitiated, delta-8 THC or D8 may sound like a cool code word for some military outfit when you come across it for the first time. But if you're familiar with the world of cannabis and the cannabis industry, then you're likely to have come across the term once or twice. Today, it is an industry sensation that has been buzzing around for a while, piquing customers’ interests everywhere. But, wait… is delta 8 legal?

At the federal level, we can answer YES…

…but at the state level, there is no straightforward yes or no answer to that question. What we can consider an appropriate response varies from state to state.

This post explores each state to surface the legality of THC delta 8. But before jumping into delta 8 THC legal status by state, you need to understand the substance a bit more.

What is delta 8 THC? Why is its legality and acceptance under contest? Will delta 8 THC get you high?

is delta 8 legal

What is THC Delta-8?

Delta-8 THC (Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol) is one of the over 100 cannabinoids in cannabis plants. If you wonder why ‘THC’ is part of the name, it's because D8 is a tetrahydrocannabinol variant. However, most times, when you come across someone, an article, or a product making reference to THC, the reference often points to delta-9 THC.

Delta-9 THC, commonly known as THC, is a cannabis compound famous for getting users high. On the other hand, delta-8 THC is a cannabis compound with the psychoactive effects of delta-9 but at a less potent level. Both substances have similar chemical structures, only D9's double-bond occurs on the ninth atom, while D8's is on the eighth; hence, their names.

To put things into perspective, you can refer to delta-8 THC as THC’s older sibling that's better at providing therapeutic value than intoxication. However, both share similarities in the effects they provide.

Will Delta 8 THC Get You High?

Delta 8 has a similar composition as delta-9 THC. Consequently, it has subtle intoxicating or psychoactive effects. So, will delta 8 THC get you high? Technically, yes.

How high you get after using a delta 8 THC cart is subject to how your body reacts to the substance. Generally, the effects cannabis has on users differ across individuals. However, common side effects of THC, such as anxiety, confusion, hysteria, brain fog, etc., are either non-existent or very light in delta-8 THC.

Users report THC delta-8 as inducing mild sensations and light-headedness. They say it is less potent in causing ‘highness’ when compared with THC. Will delta 8 THC get you high? Yes; however, more than anything, you'll stay focused on the strong soothing effects the cannabinoid brings.

Mild high or not, the point remains that a certain amount of it will get you high. Consume with caution when you are using Delta 8 THC carts, edibles, or similar products.

It is imperative to note that despite its mild effects on adults, delta 8 THC carts and all other THC delta 8 products, such as brownies and gummies, should be kept away from children and pets. The effects on persons under 18 can be potentially dangerous due to psychoactivity.

is delta 8 legal

LEARN MORE: What is Delta-8 THC? | What is CBG?

Why’s There So Much Controversy About Delta 8 THC?

Let’s start from the beginning. If you are familiar with cannabis laws, you know that cannabis and cannabis derivatives are illegal under federal law. FDA classifies cannabis under Schedule 1 drugs, alongside LSD, heroin, meth, etc. Irrespective of that, some states made exemptions to allow their residents to use cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes.

Now, this is where things get a little tricky. If cannabis and cannabis derivatives, including THC (THC, here and onwards refers to delta 9 THC), are illegal under federal law, why is delta 8 legal?

There are two things to bear in mind: hemp and marijuana. The differences between the two are what determines legality here. While both come from the cannabis family, ‘hemp’ is used as a reference to cannabis with 0.3% or less than 0.3% THC content by dry weight. Marijuana refers to cannabis with more than 0.3% THC content by dry weight.

In 2018, the 115th Congress made hemp federally legal across the United States through the 2018 Farm Bill. The bill defines hemp extensively as “Cannabis sativa L., and any part of the plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

Hemp, also known as industrial hemp, is often grown for medical or industrial purposes and does not contain enough D9 to get consumers high. Although delta-8 THC occurs naturally in cannabis, the amount is usually insignificant. However, farmers can easily produce concentrated amounts of delta-8 THC from cannabidiol (CBD) derived from hemp. And this led to the proliferation of THC delta 8.

While the Farm Bill makes hemp federally legal, not all states accept this position due to its slight psychoactive effects. Let’s take a look at what your state has to say about it.

Delta-8 THC Legality: A State-by-State Overview

is delta 8 legal

It is crucial to note that in states where delta 8 is legal, the status only applies to D8 derived from lawful hemp grown by a licensed grower. Delta-8 THC derived from any cannabis plant with more than 0.3% THC will only be legal in adult-use states.

Is Delta 8 legal in your state? Let’s find out.

1.     Alabama

Delta 8 THC is legal in Alabama. The state came close to banning it earlier in the year, but an amendment to House Bill 2 stopped the ban. However, the state may be looking towards regulating the product.

2.     California

THC delta 8 is legal in California. But, Gov. Gavin Newsom might sign bill AB45 soon, putting things in motion to regulate hemp extracts (delta-8) and the channels producing and offering them for sale.

Once the governor signs the bill, users will only be able to get THC isomers, including delta-8 THC, from approved dispensaries.

3.     Connecticut

According to Senate Bill 1201, Delta-8 is a controlled substance in Connecticut, and users can only purchase from licensed cannabis establishments.

4.     Florida

Is Delta 8 legal in Florida? Yes. The Florida state Senate Bill 1020, which supports creating a state hemp program within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, makes delta-8-THC legal in Florida. There is no possession limit for delta 8, and so far, there seems to be no move to regulate the substance.

5.     Georgia

In Georgia, the state adopts and regards hemp in the same manner the federal law does. Hence, delta-8 is legal in Georgia. However, the state’s hemp law bans hemp-derived cannabinoids, including THC delta 8, in edible preparations unless the FDA approves. More regulations may surface in the coming months.

6.     Hawaii

Delta 8 is legal in Hawaii, but it is only available to adults 21 years and above. Hawaii House Bill 2689 defines hemp the way the federal law does. Aside from the age limit, there is no other limitation to using hemp products in Hawaii, but there may be changes in the coming months.

7.     Illinois

Hemp and all-natural hemp materials, including delta 8, are legal in Illinois. The state’s industrial hemp act makes THC delta-8 legal. And so far, there are no strict regulations on the substance.

8.     Indiana

Delta 8 is legal in Indiana. Indiana SB 516 does not indicate any possession limits on legal hemp materials, including delta-8-THC, in the state.

9.     Kansas

Delta 8 THC is legal in Kansas. The state’s SB 263 exempts legal hemp-derived delta-8 THC from its list of controlled substances.

10.  Maine

Maine has one of the freest opinions on hemp, making delta 8 THC legal via Maine State Constitution Title 7: Part 5: Chapter 406-A.

11.  Maryland                                       

Delta 8 THC is legal in Maryland. The state’s definition of hemp according to HB 1123 is similar to that of federal law.

12.  Massachusetts

Massachusetts Agricultural Improvement Act legalizes and protects the usage of legal hemp and hemp materials in the state. Therefore, delta-8 is legal.

13.  Michigan

Industrial hemp is a regulated substance in Michigan. Consequently, only licensed cannabis stores can sell delta-8 products.

14.  Minnesota

Delta-8 THC is legal in Minnesota. With the 2018 Farm Bill in place, Minnesota also updated the Industrial Hemp Development Act, making delta 8 THC legal in Minnesota.

15.  Missouri

THC delta-8 derived from legal hemp is legal in Missouri. The state’s definition exempts legal hemp and, consequently, delta-8 THC from the list of controlled substances.

16.  Nevada

Nevada law ranks THC and delta-8 THC similarly. Consequently, the state regulates delta-8, and users can only acquire it in licensed cannabis stores. All marijuana laws and possession limits apply to delta-8.

17.  New Hampshire

Delta-8 is legal in New Hampshire. It is not a controlled substance in the state.

18.  New Jersey

New Jersey has legalized D8 and D8 products. The state adheres to the provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill. Additionally, recreational and medicinal marijuana is legal in the state.

19.  New Mexico

Delta 8 THC is permitted in New Mexico. The state’s law exempts legal hemp and hemp material from Schedule I Controlled Substances.

20.  North Carolina

Delta 8 is legal in North Carolina. Although the state exempts hemp from controlled substances, usage and possession must be in accordance with the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission laws. Delta 8 could become more regulated in North Carolina soon.

21.  Ohio

In Ohio, delta-8 THC is permitted. But despite not being a controlled substance in the state, Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) attempts to regulate Delta 8 THC in medical marijuana products. Still, there is no indication that this would apply to regular products.

22.  Oklahoma

Delta 8 THC is legal in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Program provides the sale and use of Delta 8, as long as the product is from legal hemp.

23.  Oregon

THC delta-8 is legal in Oregon. Although it is not a controlled substance, the state’s HB 3000 classifies delta-8 as an artificially derived cannabinoid and regulates its sales and usage.

24.  Pennsylvania

D8 is definitely legal in Pennsylvania. Senate Bill 936 was recently modified to mark a clear difference between marijuana and industrial hemp. Thus, making the substance legal in the state.

25.  South Carolina

Delta 8 THC is legal in South Carolina. Although there is no specific mention of delta 8 in the state’s House Bill 3449, it exempts tetrahydrocannabinol in legal hemp from the definition of marijuana, a controlled substance.

26.  South Dakota

South Dakota has also legalized delta-8. Like most D-8 legal states, South Dakota adopted the federal law’s definition of hemp and made it legal. Thus, making delta-8 legal within the state.

27.  Tennessee

Delta-8 THC is legal in Tennessee. Amendments in Senate Bill No.357 made the definition of hemp similar to that of the federal law. Therefore, it is not a controlled substance in the state – there are no possession limits, either.

28.  Texas

Is Delta 8 legal in Texas? Yes, THC delta 8 is legal in Texas. There have been recent attempts to ban Delta 8 THC in Texas, but both attempts failed. However, the legality of Delta 8 is not so clear in some counties, such as Brazos County, where law enforcement officers arrested a woman for possessing delta 8.

29.  Virginia

In Virginia, residents are allowed access to delta-8 THC. The state adopts the federal legislation definition of hemp in its Virginia Acts of Assembly, Chapter 653. Hence, legal hemp and hemp materials and products, including THC delta 8, are permitted in the state.

30.  Washington

By definition, Delta is legal in Washington state. However, a press statement made by Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) questions the legality of delta 8 because producers artificially derive it from hemp. You may be unable to find delta 8 in local dispensaries until things are clear enough on the status of D8 in the state.

31.  West Virginia

Following the definitions provided by HB 2694, Delta 8 THC is legal in West Virginia.

32.  Wisconsin

Delta 8 is legal in Wisconsin, and you can easily get it in local dispensaries.

33.  Wyoming

Wyoming House Bill No.0171 exempts hemp and hemp products, including delta 8 THC, from its list of controlled substances. Therefore, THC delta 8 is legal in Wyoming.

34.  Washington D.C

Finally, delta-8 THC is permitted in Washington D.C.

States Where D8 is Illegal

Unfortunately, that leaves the remaining to states to prohibit D8 sales, consumption, and possession.

Reasons for delta 8 illegality in these states are mostly very similar, and they border on non-adoption of federal legislation’s definition of hemp and THC derived from hemp. Delta 8 THC is illegal in the following states:

  1. Arizona
  2. Alaska
  3. Arkansas
  4. Colorado
  5. Delaware
  6. Idaho
  7. Iowa – partially illegal. You cannot consume delta 8 via inhalation (smoking or vaping). By extension, you cannot use delta 8 THC carts.
  8. Louisiana
  9. Mississippi
  10. Montana
  11. New York
  12. North Dakota
  13. Rhode Island
  14. Vermont
  15. Utah

How (and Where) Can I Buy Delta 8 THC?

Although hemp and hemp-based products are legal according to federal legislation, the legality details are still somewhat unclear even in legal states. More so, law enforcement officers may be unable to tell the difference between delta 8 THC and THC at a glance.

This means that users in one legal state may find delta 8 THC carts and similar products in local stores, while users in some other legal state may only find it in licensed cannabis stores. Yet, others may find it hard to get in their area despite being legal.

Another tricky thing with delta 8 legality is that the federal legislation only approves THC delta 8 derived from hemp. However, producers can also derive delta 8 from cannabis plants with over 0.3% THC, which is not legal – and you could be on the wrong side of the law. Hence, you need to ensure that you are buying Delta 8 products derived from legal hemp.

How:

  • Ensure that the product packaging is clearly labeled
  • Confirm it is from legal hemp
  • Do not buy products that indicate a mix of THC and delta 8 THC
  • Double-check a brand's third-party lab-test results before purchasing

Where:

  • With the 2018 Farm Bill in place, you can buy delta 8 THC products from any reputable online store and ship them to your legal state using USPS
  • Licensed cannabis stores in any legal state

P.S: Delta 8 THC is still a topic for hot debates in legal and illegal states, and state laws can change at any moment. Do due diligence to keep up with your local news on the latest legal status of D-8 in your state before making a purchase.

Still not sure how to navigate the world of cannabis in your state? Feel free to contact Elevate Holistics for more tailored guidance.