The cannabis industry has been buzzing with the rise of delta-8 THC, a compound similar to the well-known delta-9 THC found in marijuana. Despite its growing popularity, the legal status of delta-8 THC remains a complex and often misunderstood issue. Many believe that the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act (Farm Bill) legalized delta-8 THC at the federal level, leading to its widespread availability in products ranging from gummies to vape cartridges. However, a recent opinion issued by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office challenges this assumption and sheds light on the intricate legal landscape surrounding delta-8 THC.

Arizona AG on Delta-8 THC

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, in an opinion dated March 11, 2024, clarified that delta-8 THC is considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance in Arizona. This classification means that the sale of products containing delta-8 and other hemp-synthesized intoxicants by entities not licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services (Health Services) is illegal. The opinion emphasizes that, despite delta-8’s arguable federal legality under the 2018 Farm Bill, Arizona’s definition and regulation of “industrial hemp” preclude the sale of hemp-synthesized intoxicants like delta-8 THC in unlicensed locations such as convenience stores and smoke shops.

The opinion further explains that Arizona’s industrial hemp program does not exempt hemp-synthesized intoxicants from regulation by Health Services. The state’s definition of “industrial hemp” does not include derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, unlike the federal definition. This distinction is crucial because it means that products containing intoxicating derivatives of hemp, such as delta-8 THC, are not considered legal industrial hemp products in Arizona.

The document also addresses arguments suggesting that Arizona has legalized hemp-synthesized intoxicants to the same extent as federal law. It refutes these arguments by stating that the state’s incorporation of federal law is constrained by its own definition of “industrial hemp,” which is based on the federal definition in the 2014 law, not the broader 2018 Farm Bill definition.

This opinion serves as a reminder that the legality of delta-8 THC is not as clear-cut as many believe. While the Farm Bill may have opened the door for the production and sale of hemp-derived products, states have the authority to regulate these products more strictly. As the legal landscape continues to evolve, it is essential for consumers and businesses to stay informed about the laws in their state to avoid potential legal issues.

The confusion surrounding delta-8 THC’s legal status highlights the complexities of cannabis regulation in the United States. It underscores the importance of staying informed about state-specific laws, even as federal legislation continues to evolve. As more states issue their own opinions and regulations, the legal status of delta-8 THC may become clearer, but for now, caution and due diligence are advised for those involved in the sale or consumption of delta-8 products.

For more information, the full opinion can be accessed at the Arizona Attorney General’s website: https://www.azag.gov/sites/default/files/2024-03/I24-005.pdf.

This development underscores the need for clear and consistent regulations to ensure public safety and legal compliance in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. As states continue to navigate the complexities of cannabis laws, it is likely that we will see further clarifications and changes in the legal status of compounds like delta-8 THC.

Whether or not you may face backlash in your state aside, it still seems the jury is out on the legality of this synthetics and the future of the cannabis industry may have a long way to go. Stay in the loop on the changes and updates coming to the cannabis industry by visiting our news section for daily updates on anything and everything cannabis news.

As always, purchase and consume cannabis responsibly and know the laws of the jurisdiction you’re in.