Is Hemp-derived Delta 9 THC Legal?

Illustration for Legality of Hemp Derived Delta 9 THC.
Written by Nina Julia | Last updated: October 31, 2023

This is a complete guide to the legal status of hemp-derived delta 9 THC. We explain the legality of hemp delta 9 products according to the 2018 Farm Bill, provide the list of states where hemp-derived delta 9 is accepted and banned, and analyze the forecasts regarding the future of this cannabinoid at the federal level.

The legal status of hemp-derived delta 9 THC is a bit murky due to the provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill. The updated Agricultural Act created a robust hemp industry, but it also caused a lot of confusion when it comes to the legality of hemp-derived products.

The greatest loophole of the 2018 Farm Bill was delta 8 THC. Since the law specified a maximum threshold for delta 9 levels, you could sell hemp-derived delta 8 THC as long as you keep the delta 9 under the federal limit.

States have started to react to that loophole, but then another concern has arisen: if you can sell delta 9 provided it’s less than 0.3% by dry weight, what’s the problem making a product large enough to allow a significant dose of THC despite the limits?

Unless state laws further regulate this matter, the answer is there’s no problem at all. However, as we could see with delta 8 THC, states are eager to straighten the law when needed.

So, what’s the current state of hemp-derived delta 9 THC? Where is it legal?

For now, in most places. But it’s not everywhere, and you need to keep in mind that marijuana laws are dynamic across the states, so the number of legal places to buy hemp delta 9 may plummet over the next year.

Is Hemp-Derived Delta 9 THC Legal? (Summary)

  • Hemp-derived delta 9 THC is legal in 42 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C.
  • In California, hemp-derived delta 9 products are heavily restricted with AB 45.
  • Colorado, North Dakota, and Washington prohibit the conversions of cannabinoids that companies use to extract substantial amounts of delta 9 from hemp.
  • Idaho has banned the production and sale of any hemp-derived delta 9 products.
  • In Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Vermont, the legal status of hemp delta 9 is unclear.

Live Map: Where Is Delta 9 THC Legal?

In this section, we present a state-by-state map where hemp-derived delta 9 THC is legal. We’ll update it regularly, so save this page in your favorite tabs to keep an eye on the changes.

Legality of Hemp Delta 9 By State

Although the 2018 Farm Bill specifies the federal regulations surrounding hemp and its derivatives, states can impose their own limitations on the availability of hemp-delta 9 THC.

Most states keep it 100% legal, some restrict it through regulation, while others completely ban it.

Some laws that are generally called “restrictions” actually ban a large share of products, but we’ll cover it in a separate section.

Finally, there are also some states where the legal status of hemp delta 9 is unclear or in the process of making changes.

States Where You Can Legally Buy Hemp Delta 9

Hemp leaf with the US flag on the background

Hemp-derived delta 9 THC products are legal in 42 states. You can also buy them in Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.

These states follow the Farm Bill to the letter when it comes to hemp delta 9 products and don’t plan on introducing any changes.

This means that as long as the levels of delta 9 don’t exceed 0.3% by dry weight, such products are legal to produce, sell, buy, possess, and consume.

However, some states have introduced certain modifications regarding specific cannabinoid-based products, such as delta 8 THC, and other states may follow soon, including the legality of delta 9.

As of this writing, you can legally buy hemp-derived delta 9 THC products in:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
  • Washington D.C.

States That Restricted the Use of Hemp Delta 9 THC

California is the only state that placed specific restrictions on hemp delta 9, with several others using the 0.3% threshold for other forms of THC. The restrictions require hemp companies to test all THCs to make sure none of them exceeds the said limit. Companies are also obliged to list restrictions on the packaging.

States That Banned Converted Cannabinoids (Most Hemp Delta 9 Is Illegal There)

While only a few states have explicitly addressed hemp delta 9 THC in their cannabis regulations (besides regurgitating the limits created by the Farm Bill), the push to regulate delta 8 in many states caused some collateral damage.

The most common way to make delta 8 THC from hemp is to convert CBD into delta 8 chemically, and some states have decided to prohibit this process instead of delta 8 specifically.

However, as it turns out, hemp delta 9 products use strikingly similar conversions that are also banned by laws like this.

The states that ban the conversion of CBD into THC isomers are:

  • Colorado
  • North Dakota
  • Washington

States Where Hemp Delta 9 Is Illegal

So far, only Idaho has banned hemp-derived delta 9 THC. The state authorities refer to the Uniform Controlled Substances Act to clarify the legal status of hemp-derived products.

According to this law, hemp extracts can’t contain any levels of THC or its analogs, including delta 8, delta 9, delta-10, HHC, THC-O, and others. The bill kills much of the CBD market in Idaho, too.

States Where Hemp-Derived Delta 9 Is in a Gray Area

Some states haven’t yet looked into the legal status of hemp delta 9 THC. Others are in the process of making changes to limit the availability of such products, similarly to how delta 8 was restricted. For example, in Vermont, hemp delta 9 products can be legal and illegal depending on how legal bodies interpret the definition of “synthetic cannabinoids.”

In these states, hemp-derived delta 9 is in a gray area:

  • Kentucky
  • Pennsylvania
  • Vermont

State-by-State Guide to the Legal Status of Hemp-Derived Delta 9

Looking through the map of USA using a magnifying glass

Now that we clarified the different types of hemp delta 9 regulations in general let’s take a look at its legal status by state.

We’ll elaborate on each state below.

AlabamaLegalAlabama adopted the Farm Bill definition of hemp; SB 225 makes hemp-derived delta-9 THC legal.
AlaskaLegalAlaska's SB 6 legalized industrial hemp and as long as delta-9 THC doesn't exceed 0.3% in the product, it's legal.
ArizonaLegalHemp-derived delta-9 THC is legal, but isomers of THC, such as delta-8, delta-10, and HHC are banned.
ArkansasLegalYou can buy hemp-derived delta-9 THC in Arkansas as long as the product contains 0.3% or less.
CaliforniaRestrictedHemp-derived delta-9 THC products are legal but must have certificates of analysis that prove the product contains no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight.
ColoradoRestrictedDelta-9 THC products must be extracted naturally, not by chemical conversion, in order to be legal in Colorado.
ConnecticutLegalDelta-9 from hemp is legal in Connecticut, but isomers of THC are prohibited.
DelawareLegalDelaware's Title 3, Chapter 28 includes the same definition of hemp as the Farm Bill, therefore legalizing hemp delta-9 products.
FloridaLegalDelta-9 THC is legal in Florida as long as it comes from industrial hemp.
GeorgiaLegalGeorgia legalized hemp-derived delta-9 THC after passinfg HB 213 in 2019.
HawaiiLegalHemp delta-9 THC has been legal in Hawaii since the passing of HB 2689 in 2020.
IdahoProhibitedIdaho holds a definite ban on THC and its isomers; even hemp-derived delta-9 THC is illegal ubder the Idaho Uniform Controlled Substances Act.
IllinoisLegalIllinois legalized all forms of THC and there's no upper limit for the concentration of delta-9 THC.
IndianaLegalIndiana allows hemp delta-9 THC as long as it doesn't exceed 0.3% by dry weight.
IowaLegalIowa defines hemp in the same way as the Farm Bill does, although delta-8 THC remains illegal.
KansasLegalHemp delta-9 THC is legal under SB 263, but it must be kept at or below 0.3%.
KentuckyUnclearKentucky technically allows hemp-derived products, but conversions and intoxicating cannabinoids are banned, so hemp delta-9 remains in a legal gray area.
LouisianaLegalHemp delta-9 THC products must contain no more than 0.3% delta-9 by dry weight limit.
MaineLegalState law in Maine aligns with the Farm Bill, so hemp-derived delta-9 THC is legal in Maine.
MarylandLegalMaryland allows delta-9 THC products from hemp under HB 698.
MassachusettsLegalMassachusetts has legalized industrial hemp and its derivatives by introducing H4001.
MichiganLegalIndustrial hemp was legalized in Michigan under HB 4744, but another bill changed definitions by defining THC as all THCs, so it's worth keeping an eye on the local laws.
MinnesotaLegalThe Industrial Hemp Development Act in Minnesota defines industrial hemp in the same way as the Farm Bill, so you can legally buy delta-9 products in the state.
MississippiLegalMississippi allows hemp-derived delta-9 THC as long as hemp products don't contain more than 0.3% of this cannabinoid on a dry weight basis.
MissouriLegalMissouri legalized hemp-derived delta-9 in 2018 after passing HB 2034.
MontanaLegalDelta-9 THC from hemp has been legal since 2001, but other variants of THC are included in the Controlled Substances Act and thus illegal.
NebraskaLegalThe law in Nebraska alignes with the 2018 Farm Bill; because of this, hemp delta-9 is legal there.
NevadaLegalAlthough Nevada bans all isomers of THC, delta-9 THC is available as long as it doesn't exceed the 0.3% limit.
New HampshireLegalNew Hampshire legalized hemp delta-9 THC with HB 459 alongside other variants, such as delta-7, delta-8, and delta-10.
New JerseyLegalHemp delta-9 THC is legal in New Jersey following the Hemp Farming Act; however, it must be kept at or below 0.3%.
New MexicoLegalNew Mexico allows hemp-derived delta-9 THC within the usual limit set by the Farm Bill.
New YorkLegalDelta-9 THC from hemp is legal in New York, unlike delta-8 HC, which was banned in November 2021.
North CarolinaLegalAll hemp-derived cannabinoids, including delta-9 THC were legalized with the passage of SB 352, which took them off the list of controlled substances.
North DakotaRestrictedHemp delta-9 THC is legal but it can't be converted from CBD, which limits the availability of such products.
OhioLegalAll hemp-derived products with delta-9 THC are legal in Ohio under SB 57.
OklahomaLegalHB 2913 legalized hemp in Oklahoma, following the lingo of the farm Bill; you can legally buy hemp delta-9 and delta-8 THC.
OregonLegalHemp-derived delta-9 THC is allowed but regulated by the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) as "adult use cannabis items."
PennsylvaniaUnclearHemp is legal under SB 335 in Pennsylvania, but that may soon change if the law tackles conversions from CBD.
Puerto RicoLegalThe law in Puerto Rico uses the Farm Bill's deifinitions and limits on hemp-derived delta-9 THC, making it legal there.
Rhode IslandLegalLegal definitions of hemp and delta-9 THC are the same as the ones outlined by the Farm Bill.
South CarolinaLegalHemp delta-9 THC is completely legal in South Carolina, even though Attorney General Alan Wilson is against hemp-derived psychoactive cannabinoids.
South DakotaLegalSouth Dakota legalized hemp delta-9 THC in 2019 when HB 1191 was passed.
TennesseeLegalYou can legally purchase hemp delta-9 THC in Tennessee, as well as other hemp-derived isomers in THC.
TexasLegalDelta-9 THC from hemp is legal in Texas as long as it follows the THC limits outlined by the Farm Bill (0.3% or less).
UtahLegalHB 58 legalized hemp delta-9 THC, but such products must contain at least 5% CBD by dry weight (and no other psychoactive compounds).
VermontUnclearConversions from CBD to psychoactive cannabinoids are banned, although this applies only to delta-8 THC; there have been no explicit mentions of delta 9 THC.
VirginiaLegalVirginia allows hemp-derived delta-9 THC under HB 532, which aligns with the federal law.
WashingtonRestrictedAlthough SB 5276 legalized hemp using the definitions of the Farm Bill, the law in Washington explicitly bans conversions to delta-9 THC and delta-8 THC.
West VirginiaLegalThe hemp law in West Virginia is based on the language of the Farm Bill, meaning you can legally buy hemp-derived delta-9, delta-8 and other isomers of THC.
WisconsinLegalThe Uniform Controlled Substances Act was updated to remove the THCs in hemp, making delta-9 and delta-8 THC legal in the state.
WyomingLegalWyoming permits delta-9 THC products from hemp as long as they meet the 0.3% delta-9 limit.
Washington D.C.LegalWashington D.C. follows federal rules, so delta-9, delta-8 and other hemp-derived cannabinoids are theoretically legal.


Alabama allows the sale of delta 9 hemp products. The state didn’t impose any restrictions other than the ones outlined in the Farm Bill. SB 225 makes hemp-derived delta 9 THC legal in the state.


Alaska legalized industrial hemp with SB 6, using the Farm Bill’s provisions and also making it clear that infusing industrial hemp into food doesn’t make them “adulterated” products. However, other isomers of THC, such as delta 8, delta 10, HHC, and THC-O, are still banned under the state’s Controlled Substances Act.


When the 2018 Farm Bill was introduced, Arizona followed through with SB 1098, making hemp-derived products legal to people aged 21 or over. However, the state doesn’t accept delta 8 and other THCS — save for hemp-derived delta 9 — because it considers them Schedule I controlled substances.


Arkansas legalized industrial hemp in 2017, right before the new Farm Bill, but the most relevant law in the state is HB 1640. According to that bill, hemp is a cannabis plant with less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. This doesn’t refer directly to delta 9, so the actual legal status of hemp-derived delta 9 THC and its isomers is foggy.


State of California sign on the wall

California has the most relaxed cannabis laws in the USA. It allows all forms of delta 9 THC, but AB 45 specific state laws regarding hemp products.

The law in California makes it clear that adding industrial hemp to foods, drinks, health supplements, and other consumables doesn’t make them “adulterated,” requiring companies to provide certificates of analysis (CoA) for any hemp-derived product.

The state has also banned inhalable forms of hemp delta 9 until a tax framework can be implemented. The 0.3% limit applies to all forms of THC, effectively banning the majority of delta 8 extracts on the local scene.


Colorado fully accepted the 2018 Farm Bill, specifying its laws regarding hemp in SB 19-220 in 2019.

Until 2021, all hemp-derived cannabinoids were legal as long as the levels of delta 9 THC were kept at or below 0.3%. However, in May 2021, the Department of Public Health and Environment, in collaboration with the Marijuana Enforcement Division, provided new regulations, according to which “chemically modifying or converting a naturally-occurring cannabinoid from industrial hemp is against the statutory definition of ‘industrial hemp product.’”

In plain English, this means hemp delta 8 products, and most isomers of THC are technically illegal under this law.


Connecticut legalized industrial hemp with SB 893, with the same major definitions and requirements as the Farm Bill. However, the state authorities signed SB 1201 into law in 2021, updating the definition of THC.

According to the update, all forms of THC, including delta 7, delta 8, and delta 10 should be kept below 0.3%, which eradicates such products from the market until Connecticuts legalizes marijuana for recreational use.


Delaware defined hemp in line with the Farm Bill by introducing Title 3, Chapter 28. Hemp delta 9 products are legal in the state, but you can’t say the same about all other THCs included in the state's Uniform Controlled Substances Act.


Florida took a simple approach to hemp laws, passing HB 333 into law, which aligns with the rules provided by the Farm Bill. Hemp delta 9 products are legal in the state.


Georgia legalized industrial hemp in line with the Farm Bill, passing HB 213 in 2019. With no further elaboration, hemp delta 9 and delta 8 THC products are fully legal in the state.


Hawaii passed HB 2689 in 2020, legalizing hemp and all its derivatives as outlined by the Farm Bill.


Idaho is known for its backward hemp laws. The Idaho Uniform Controlled Substances Act makes it illegal for any hemp product to carry any amount of THC or its isomers. This makes it almost impossible to sell hemp-derived products, including CBD extracts. Companies are allowed to sell only pure CBD (isolate).


Illinois legalized hemp delta 9 THC shortly after the introduction of the new Farm Bill. The Industrial Hemp Act of 2018 doesn’t specify the upper limit for other cannabinoids, so delta 8, delta-10, and THC-O are also legal in the state.


The State House of Indiana

Indiana follows the rules of the Farm Bill, so as long as your products contain less than 0.3% delta 9 THC by dry weight, they’re legal.


Iowa has an identical definition of hemp to the Farm Bill, so hemp-derived delta 9 is legal in the state. However, Iowa has recently banned delta 8 products, as they fall into the definition of tetrahydrocannabinol under the state Controlled Substances Act.


SB 263 repeats the rules of the 2018 Farm Bill, meaning that hemp delta 9 is legal — and so are other THCs, provided they come from hemp plants.


You can legally buy hemp-derived delta 9 THC in Kentucky because the state uses the same definition of hemp as the Farm Bill. However, law enforcement attempted to ban delta 8 THC, other THCs, and any intoxicating product extracted from hemp. Kentucky also tried to outlaw the conversion of CBD into delta 8 and delta 9. The bill was blocked, but it can be filed again next year. For now, delta 8 remains legal as long as it’s in a hemp-derived product.


Louisiana legalized industrial hemp by signing HB 491 into law. The bill falls in line with the regulations created by the Farm Bill, meaning that hemp-derived delta 9 THC is legal unless its concentrations don’t exceed 0.3% by dry weight.


Maine has the same definition of hemp as the Farm Bill, so hemp-derived delta 9 is legal in the state under LD 630.


According to HB 698, hemp and its derivatives are legal, as outlined by the 2018 Farm Bill


Massachusetts legalized industrial hemp under H4001, so hemp delta 9 is legal, provided it meets the Farm Bill's requirements.


Industrial hemp was officially legalized in Michigan with HB 4744, using the same definitions as the Farm Bill. However, another law essentially banned delta 8 by throwing it into the same bracket as all THCs, limiting the availability of such products in the state.


The Industrial Hemp Development Act in Minnesota defined hemp in the same way as the Farm Bill, making hemp delta 9 legal across the state.


SB 2725 is based on the Farm Bill, so hemp delta 9 products are legal there, at least for now. However, since other THCs remain on the controlled substances list, you can’t legally buy delta 8 and other isomers there.


Missouri uses the same terminology as the Farm Bill, so you shouldn’t have problems buying hemp delta 9 in the state unless its levels are higher than 0.3%.


Montana was one of the pioneer states regarding the legalization of hemp. It legalized industrial hemp back in 2001 with SB 261, long before the Farm Bill. However, the law in Montana uses the same definitions and limits, additionally banning THC isomers, such as delta 8, delta-10, HHC, and THC-O.


Nebraska legalized industrial hemp under LB 657, which came in 2019. The law uses the same terms and limits as the 2018 Farm Bill. This makes hemp delta 9 legal in Nebraska.


Reno, Nevada at dawn

Nevada defines hemp as all cannabis plants containing 0.3% THC or less. This definition comes from SB 305, which follows the farm bill's provisions. However, the limit also includes THC’s isomers, such as delta 7, delta 8, and delta-10. These compounds are also listed in the state’s Uniform Controlled Substances Act. The bottom line? Hemp-derived delta 9 is limited, but alternatives remain illegal.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire signed HB 459 into law in 2019, creating similar definitions of hemp to the Farm Bill. Hemp-derived delta 9 THC is legal alongside its isomers.

New Jersey

Hemp and its derivatives are legal in New Jersey under the Hemp Farming Act. The state law defines hemp plants in the same way as the Farm Bill, making hemp delta 9 legal. Any alternatives, providing they contain 0.3% delta 9 or less by dry weight, are legal, too.

New Mexico

New Mexico legalized hemp all across the board in the same year as the 2018 Farm Bill. The Hemp Manufacturing Act makes hemp-derived delta 9 THC legal within the federal limit.

New York

New York’s industrial hemp laws were created in March 2020, following the same regulations as the Farm Bill. However, in November 2021, new regulations were introduced, effectively banning delta 8 THC in the state.

North Carolina

North Carolina legalized hemp-derived cannabinoids with the passage of SB 352, which took them off the state’s controlled Substances Act, following the definition of hemp from the Farm Bill.

North Dakota

While hemp delta 9 THC is legal in North Dakota, the authorities have recently amended the original law, covering all THCs under the definition of THC. Conversion processes used to make delta 8 and most delta 9 products from CBD were banned as well.


Hemp delta 9 THC and its isomers are legal in Ohio under SB 57, which uses the Farm Bill’s definition of hemp.


You can legally buy hemp delta 9 products in Oklahoma. The state’s HB 2913 bill implemented the provisions of the Farm Bill, making hemp-derived delta 9, delta 8, and other THCs legal in Oklahoma.


Oregon’s HB 3000 complicated the rules surrounding hemp derivatives. The law was intended to clarify the difference between intoxicating and non-intoxicating hemp products. The first type falls under the definition of “adult-use cannabis item,” including all hemp-derived THCs if they breach the 0.3% threshold. Emergency rules make it possible to use more than 0.5 mg of THCs. Long story short, delta 9 is legal in Oregon, but it’s heavily regulated by the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Commission.


Pennsylvania allows hemp delta 9 THC as long as it follows the limits imposed by the Farm Bill. For now, all isomers of THC are legal in the state, although lawmakers are working on additional rules regarding delta 8 and conversion processes — which could impact delta 9 THC as a result.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has a hemp program that copies the Farm Bill’s definitions of hemp along with the limits for delta 9 THC and its isomers.

Rhode Island

Downtonw Providence, Rhode Island

Similar to Puerto Rico, Rhode Island’s terminology and rules surrounding hemp and its derivatives fall in line with the regulations created by the Farm Bill. However, other THCs are considered controlled substances.

South Carolina

South Carolinian regulations use the same federally-outlined limits for delta 9 THC in hemp as the Farm Bill, so hemp-derived products are legal as long as the delta 9 content is kept below 0.3%. However, the Farm Bill’s language raises concerns of Attorney General Alan Wilson, who is opposed to delta 8 THC, so the availability of hemp-derived THC isomers can be limited in the future.

South Dakota

In 2019, South Dakota lawmakers signed HB 1191 into law, following the wording of the Farm Bill. Hemp delta 9 products, as well as delta 8 and other isomers, are legal despite the state’s draconian marijuana laws.


Tennessee legalized hemp shortly after the Farm Bill by signing SB 357 into law. Tennessee also accepts other THCs, including delta 7, delta 8, and delta-10 THC, as long as the delta 9 content remains at or below 0.3%.


Texas fully accepted the Farm Bill’s provisions in its HB 1325, making hemp delta 9 legal in the state unless the products exceed the 0.3% delta 9 limit. There was a major attempt to outlaw delta 8 in Texas, so make sure to stay on top of the state law.


Hemp-derived delta 9 THC is legal in Utah. At first, the local law used the same definitions as the Farm Bill. However, the state now requires hemp extracts to contain at least 5% by dry weight CBD and no other intoxicating ingredients. The state’s Controlled Substances Act also bans delta 8.


Vermont follows Farm Bill restriction on delta 9 THC levels. However, delta 8 THC is illegal there because the conversion process required to produce high yields of delta 8 is considered “synthetic.” This law doesn’t apply to hemp delta 9 but creates unnecessary confusion among consumers.


HB 532 specifies the rule regarding industrial hemp in Virginia. The state follows the federal law on delta 9 limits. Other forms of THC are allowed too.


Washington adopted the rules provided by the Farm Bill under SB 5276, making hemp completely legal. However, the state doesn’t allow conversions from CBD, applying the same rules for delta 9, meaning that most such products are illegal in Washington.

West Virginia

HB 2694 made industrial hemp legal in West Virginia based on the terminology of the Farm Bill. You can also legally buy delta 8 and other THCs.


Hemp is defined in line with the Farm Bill, according to Wisconsin Stat. 94.55. The state’s Uniform Controlled Substances Act was amended to remove all forms of THC in hemp, making them fully legal in the state.


Wyoming’s HB 171 made industrial hemp legal using the lingo of the Farm Bill. No restrictions were placed on THC isomers.

Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C. doesn’t have state laws regarding the legality of hemp delta 9 THC, so it follows the federal rules. You can easily find hemp delta 9, delta 8, and other THCs in the district.

What Is Hemp-Derived Delta 9 THC?

A hemp leaf in white background

Using the simplest definition, hemp-derived delta 9 THC is the same as its marijuana-derived counterpart. The source plant is the only difference here. Hemp delta 9 products are federally legal as long as their delta 9 content is less than 0.3% by dry weight.

Hemp-Derived Delta 9 vs. Marijuana-Derived Delta 9: What’s the Difference?

From a molecular standpoint, hemp-derived and marijuana-derived delta 9 THC is the same. If you get the necessary amount of it, you can get high even from hemp products.

It’s a different story if we’re talking about the chemical composition of the end product. Hemp-derived formulas contain higher levels of CBD than marijuana-derived delta 9 products.

The CBD can be further removed from the extract to unlock the psychoactive potential of hemp delta 9 THC.

How Does Hemp Delta 9 THC Fit Into the Farm Bill?

The Farm Bill removed hemp and its derivatives from the list of controlled substances.

Here’s how the federal law defines hemp:

“The term ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that 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.”

While this definition stirred many discussions surrounding the purpose of this law, the general conclusion is that legalizing intoxicating compounds from hemp wasn’t intended. Even the lawmakers told the new Farm Bill was about “rope, not dope.”

In essence, the law removes hemp delta 9 THC from the list of controlled substances, provided it comes within the established concentration limits. The DEA has explicitly confirmed this interpretation.

The legal loophole is expressed by the term “on a dry weight basis.” This indicates that the water weight must be subtracted before assessing the potency. So, the water from the oils and the ingredients in hemp gummies don’t account for the total weight — they need to be removed from the equation.

The FD&C Act Can Cause Further Problems for the Legality of Hemp Delta 9

Although hemp-derived delta 9 THC is federally legal under the Farm Bill, the Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act complicates the laws for hemp delta 9 and other hemp-derived cannabinoids like CBD.

The FDA has clearly stated that adding either THC or CBD is against the FD&C act because both compounds are active ingredients in registered drugs, such as Marinol, Epidiolex, Dronabinol, Nabilone, and Sativex.

The agency has also sent out warning letters to CBD companies that make hemp-derived edibles.

The FDA hasn’t yet addressed hemp delta 9 companies, but they will soon start sending these letters.

On the other hand, the “no approved drugs in food” policy refers to delta 9, not delta 8 THC. That’s because no approved drugs contain this cannabinoid. The FD&C argues that delta 8 is an unsafe food additive because it hasn’t been reviewed by the FDA for such use.

So, even if delta 9 can bypass the drug argument, it would likely be banned in food.

What’s the Legal Age for Buying Hemp-Derived Delta 9 Products?

Hemp leaf and a number 21

The Farm Bill doesn’t specify the bottom age limit for buying and using hemp products but states generally provide their own instructions.

The specific regulations vary between states. Most states require people to be 18 or older to buy hemp-derived products, but others call for a minimum of 21.

As states continue to catch up with intoxicating hemp cannabinoids, delta 9 will soon be available only to those aged 21 or older.

Could You Get Arrested and Sent to Court for Hemp Delta 9 THC?

You won’t be arrested for delta 9 THC possession unless two requirements are met:

  • The state law explicitly bans hemp-derived delta 9 THC
  • Your product contains more than 0.3% THC by dry weight

However, if you stumble upon an uninformed police officer, especially those unaware of the cannabis laws, they might take it as the possession of a controlled substance. It’s important to know your rights in this case because they would be long, and you can win in court.

The bottom line is this: you won’t get arrested unless you breach a state-specific law or you’re dealing with an ignorant cop.

The Future of Hemp Delta 9

Hemp-derived delta 9 THC can become illegal sooner than most people assume. The current chaos created by the lingo from the Farm Bill leads to too many new regulations that tackle the symptoms rather than the cause of the problem.

All it takes to fix the current system is to add a small change to the Farm Bill; for example, “with any final product containing less than 2 mg of total THC per serving.” Just a small addition would cut off the electricity for the entire gray area.

This is already taking place in several states. For example, Colorado signed SB22-205 into law, establishing a maximum THC limit on intoxicating hemp products, most likely at 2 mg per serving. As of now, most states and lawmakers are focused on delta 8 and removing that loophole. California has recently solved the issue with AB-45, which puts the 0.3% limit on all tetrahydrocannabinols.

It’s quite odd that states with the most relaxed cannabis laws in the USA, such as Colorado and California, cracked down almost immediately on hemp delta 9. In legal states, companies can sell marijuana-derived products whose THC content can sometimes reach 90%, which only magnifies the current legal absurdity.

Federal legalization would eradicate the whole problem because THC limits would be abolished. But then again, hemp-derived products are associated with non-intoxicating effects, so there would have to be a distinction between what’s legal for hemp extracts and what’s reserved exclusively for marijuana.

Final Thoughts: Hemp-Derived Delta 9 THC Is Legal, but This May Soon Change

In a normal world, the growing acceptance of full-blown cannabis legalization would cause the federal government and individual states to accept the inevitable and stay away from messing with hemp-derived cannabinoids.

It’s just a sign that prohibition is one breath away from dying for good. But prohibitionists seem to stubbornly defend the falling tower, banning intoxicating cannabinoids — only to create another legal-but-not-intended product or two, and then new laws will be applied.

And so on.

Fortunately, politicians will soon legalize cannabis and remove it from the cost-prohibitive and totally failed war on drugs, but this day is yet to come.

So enjoy swimming in the pool of chaos for the time being.

Nina created following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.