Understanding Delta-9 THC’s Legality in the US

delta 9 thc legality in us

Delta-9-THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is a psychoactive compound found in cannabis and hemp plants. Many know this as “THC,” which is responsible for making people feel euphoric after consuming cannabis.

Although cannabis and cannabis-extracted delta-9 THC remain federally illegal in the US, hemp-derived delta-9 THC became legal nationwide following the passing of the 2018 farm bill. 

This raises the question of whether delta-9 THC from hemp is truly legal in all 50 states of the US or if there are any restrictions.

Law on hemp-derived delta-9 THC

Federal law:

In 2018, the U.S. government made a significant move in regulating hemp with the passage of the Farm Bill. This law states that hemp and hemp-derived cannabinoids, including delta-9 THC, are federally legal as long as they contain less than 0.3% delta-9 THC by dry weight and come from industrial hemp.

Since its legalization, the hemp-based cannabinoid industry has multiplied, becoming a billion-dollar market. This growth has made it easier for consumers like you to access hemp-derived delta-9 THC products, whether in physical stores or through online retailers that deliver directly to your door.

Speaking of the restriction, the bill did not permit hemp-derived products with concentrations of delta-9 THC higher than 0.3%.  

State law:

Although every state has decided to legalize Farm Bill-compliant delta-9 THC products, a few of the states have imposed certain restrictions on the quantity of THC. 

States where delta-9 THC is legal

In these states, hemp-derived delta 9 THC is legal as long as it complies with the farm bill of containing no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight.

  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arizona
  4. Arkansas
  5. California
  6. Connecticut
  7. Delaware
  8. Florida
  9. Georgia
  10. Hawaii
  11. Idaho
  12. Illinois
  13. Indiana
  14. Kansas
  15. Kentucky
  16. Louisiana
  17. Maine
  18. Maryland
  19. Massachusetts
  20. Michigan
  21. Minnesota
  22. Missouri
  23. Mississippi
  24. Montana
  25. Nebraska
  26. Nevada
  27. New Hampshire
  28. New Jersey
  29. New Mexico
  30. New York
  31. North Carolina
  32. North Dakota
  33. Ohio
  34. Oklahoma
  35. Oregon
  36. Pennsylvania
  37. Rhode Island
  38. South Carolina
  39. South Dakota
  40. Tennessee
  41. Texas
  42. Utah
  43. Vermont
  44. Virginia 
  45. Washington
  46. West Virginia
  47. Wisconsin
  48. Wyoming

States where delta-9 THC is restricted

In these states, the sale, possession, or use of hemp-derived delta 9 THC is restricted. This includes products, such as edibles, tinctures, and vapes.

  1. Iowa: According to Iowa Capital Dispatch, the state does not allow hemp-derived products that exceed the delta-9 THC limit of 10 mg per container or 4 mg per serving.
  2. Colorado: The state of Colorado has restricted delta-9 THC products that contain more than 1.75 mg of total THC concentration.

Again there is no ban in any state on hemp-derived delta-9 THC products, only restrictions. So you can easily order these products online as long as they comply with the Farm Bill, as some brands provide their services in all 50 states of the US. 

Law on cannabis-derived delta-9 THC

Federal law:

A delta-9 THC product containing more than 0.3% THC by dry weight is classified as cannabis, which is federally illegal in the US. This illegality makes it difficult to purchase cannabis or cannabis-derived THC with a credit or debit card across state lines, even if the state has legalized it. Additionally, buying cannabis online presents further challenges.

However, in October 2022, President Biden announced a significant change in federal cannabis policy and issued pardons for individuals incarcerated for simple marijuana possession under federal law (source 1). 

Furthermore, in 2024, the government took a historic step toward easing cannabis restrictions by reclassifying it from the strictest Schedule I substance to the less stringent Schedule III substance (source 2).

State law:

Despite the federal restriction on cannabis, many states have legalized cannabis and cannabis-derived delta-9 THC for medical and recreational use.

Talking about medicinal legalization, as of 2024, 37 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes under strict regulations. In these states, a person must have a qualifying medical condition and obtain a recommendation from a licensed physician to use cannabis, which can only be purchased from a licensed dispensary. (source 3)

For recreational use: As of 2024, 22 states have legalized cannabis and cannabis-derived THC, including Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Washington DC, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Michigan, Vermont, Guam, Illinois, Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Missouri. 

Final thoughts

To sum it up, the Farm Bill has made it possible to purchase hemp-derived delta-9 THC products that comply with federal law anywhere in the US.

With the availability of these products, you can find a range of options, and many Delta 9 THC brands online offer a wide range of products for delivery across all 50 states of the US, legally.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is delta-9 THC the same as THC?

Delta-9 THC is one of the most abundant and potent forms of THC. While there are different types of THCs in cannabis and hemp plants, delta-9 is the only cannabinoid that is referred to as “THC” when discussing the psychoactive effects of weed and hemp-derived products. 

 To put it simply, there are many other types of THC available, like delta-8 THC, delta-10 THC, THCO, THCV, and delta-9 THC. However, when people commonly talk about THC, they generally mean delta-9 THC. 

Is delta-9 THC FDA approved?

Delta-9 THC products are currently not evaluated or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the FDA has approved one drug that contains a synthetic version of delta-9 THC, called dronabinol, for the treatment of nausea and vomiting (source 4).

Because of this, it’s important to buy delta-9 THC only from reliable brands that conduct independent lab testing and provide the COA (certificate of analysis) to varify their product’s safety and puity. 

Can you travel with hemp-derived delta-9 THC?

Hemp-derived delta-9 THC is legal in the US; however, safely traveling with it may depend on several factors, including the legal status of delta-9 THC in your destination, the laws of the transportation provider, and the laws of the jurisdiction you are passing through.

Moreover, the legality surrounding hemp-derived delta-9 THC is still new, so there is a chance that a law enforcement officer may not be aware of this, which may cause certain complications. 

What is the legal age for shopping for hemp-derived delta-9 products?

The legal age for purchasing hemp-derived delta-9 THC products varies by state, but in most cases, the minimum age is 21 years old.