Medically Reviewed By:Nidra Sidhu, M.D. Integrative Medicine
Table Of Contents
Table Of Contents
Is Delta 8 Legal In Arizona? What You Need To Know
Despite the lenient cannabis laws in Arizona, delta 8 THC is considered a controlled substance and illegal in the state of Arizona. Hence the cannabis market is closed for delta 8 THC in Arizona, you cannot produce, buy or sell delta 8 products in the state.
Delta 8’s illegal status in Arizona is quite surprising since the state recently legalized cannabis for recreational purposes with medical marijuana also being legal for qualifying patients.
Arizona legalized hemp shortly after the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and its derivatives on a federal level, however, the state failed to legalize all hemp compounds. The Arizona Controlled Substance Act classifies all THC derivatives as controlled substances, hence they are illegal.
This article covers all you need to know about Arizona hemp and delta 8 THC laws in the state.
What Is Delta 8 THC?
Before we discuss the laws surrounding delta 8 THC in Arizona, let's take a quick look at what delta 8 is and how it's different from its close sibling - delta 9 THC.
Delta 8 is a variant of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or what people mostly refer to as delta 9 THC that occurs naturally in the hemp and cannabis plants. However, extracting it naturally in larger quantities would be almost impossible and the compound would be extremely expensive since it only occurs in tiny quantities in the industrial hemp plant.
Fortunately, modern research discovered a way to transform CBD or delta 9 THC isolate into delta 8 in the lab through a chemical process called isomerization. This makes it possible to get delta 8 THC in larger quantities for commercial purposes.
Since delta 8 THC is a variant of delta 9 THC, the main psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant, it also has psychoactive properties very similar to delta 9. However, delta 8’s psychoactive effects on consumers are less intense than delta 9 THC. Consumers describe delta 8’s psychoactive effects as mild and smooth without the extreme side effects of delta 9 THC, such as couchlock, paranoia, or anxiety.
Delta 8 Vs. Delta 9 THC
Scientifically, delta 8 THC and delta 9 THC are closely related in their chemical composition. They share the same chemical formula and the compounds interact with the human body in similar ways. The major difference between the two compounds is their chemical structure and potency, leading to these cannabinoids having different effects on the body.
Delta 8 and delta 9 can both bind to the same cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system to produce a high but since delta 8 THC is less potent than delta 9, the high it produces is milder. Nevertheless, delta 8 THC still has all the benefits of delta 9 THC.
Despite the similarities between these two cannabinoids, they have different legal statuses federally. Delta 8 THC is a federally legal hemp cannabinoid, provided it is sourced from a hemp plant and contains no more than 0.3% THC. Delta 9 THC, however, is not federally legal, although some states legalize it for recreational and medicinal purposes.
Delta 8 Vs. CBD
Delta 8 THC and CBD are both compounds found in the cannabis plant, but they have some significant differences.
Delta 8 THC is a psychoactive compound, meaning it can produce a high or sense of euphoria when consumed. It is less psychoactive than delta 9 THC, which is the most common form of THC found in marijuana, but it is still capable of producing a high. Delta 8 THC is believed to have a number of potential therapeutic benefits, including reducing anxiety and improving appetite. However, it is not as widely studied as delta 9 THC and CBD, so more research is needed to fully understand its effects and potential uses.
CBD, on the other hand, is a non-psychoactive compound. It does not produce a high or any other psychoactive effects when consumed. Instead, it is believed to have a number of potential therapeutic benefits, including reducing anxiety, improving sleep, and reducing inflammation. It is widely available in a variety of products, including oils, tinctures, edibles, and topicals, and is generally considered safe for use.
In conclusion, while delta 8 THC and CBD both come from the cannabis plant, they have different effects and potential uses. Delta 8 THC is psychoactive and may have therapeutic benefits, while CBD is non-psychoactive and is widely known for its potential therapeutic effects.
The 2018 Farm Bill - Why Delta 8 THC Is Federally Legal
In 2018, congress passed the Agricultural Improvement Act, popularly known as the 2018 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill separated the definition of hemp from marijuana and subsequently removed it from the list of controlled substances, making it legal. According to federal laws, hemp and hemp derivatives like delta 8 THC are legal as long as they contain no more than 0.3% THC.
Although hemp is federally legal, each state’s lawmakers still have the power to regulate it. So despite hemp being federally legal, if a particular state chooses to regulate hemp and its derivatives, it can do so irrespective of what federal law says about hemp.
Arizona State’s Current Legislation On Hemp
Shortly after the Farm Bill legalized hemp, Arizona passed Senate Bill 1098. Governor Doug Ducey signed this Bill which aligned the state’s hemp laws to federal laws and legalized industrial hemp in the state. SB 1098 was to create an industrial hemp program for hemp growers and a regulatory framework to oversee the program.
However, the state failed to legalize most hemp cannabinoids as federal law does and the Arizona Controlled Substance Act classifies all THC variants, isomers, and preparation as controlled substances. Hence delta 8 THC, which is a THC variant, is considered a controlled substance in the state of Arizona, therefore it is illegal to produce, sell or purchase any form of delta 8 THC product in the state just like their neighboring states, California and Nevada.
Arizona’s Revised Statutes
Below are the changes to the Arizona Statutes on Industrial hemp and its compounds.
Title 3. Agriculture.
In this article, unless the context otherwise requires:
"Industrial hemp" means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such a plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than three-tenths percent on a dry weight basis.
"Hemp products" means all products made from industrial hemp, including cloth, cordage, fiber, fuel, grain, paint, paper, construction materials, plastics, and by-products derived from sterile hemp seed or hemp seed oil. Hemp products exclude any product made to be ingested except food made from sterile hemp seed or hemp seed oil.
Title 36. Public Health and Safety.
A. In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
1. "Board" means the Arizona state board of pharmacy.
2. "Cannabis" means the following substances under whatever names they may be designated:
(b) All parts of any plant of the genus cannabis, whether growing or not, its seeds, the resin extracted from any part of such plant, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin, but shall not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake or the sterilized seed of a such plant which is incapable of germination.
(c) Every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such resin, tetrahydrocannabinol (T.H.C.), or of such plants from which the resin has not been extracted.
36-2512. Substances in schedule I
A. The following controlled substances, unless specifically excepted, are included in schedule I:
3. Any material, compound, mixture, or preparation that contains any quantity of the following hallucinogenic substances and their salts, isomers, and salts of isomers, unless specifically excepted or unless listed in another schedule, whenever the existence of these salts, isomers, and salts of isomers is possible within the specific chemical designation (for the purposes of this paragraph, “isomer” includes the optical, position and geometric isomers):
(w) Cannabis, except the synthetic isomer of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.
Considering these revised statutes of the state of Arizona, delta 8 THC is considered as an illegal substance even if it contains no more than 0.3% delta 9 THC.
Is Marijuana Legal In Arizona?
Marijuana or what most people refer to as delta 9 THC is legal in Arizona for both medicinal and recreational purposes. Recreational marijuana was legalized a decade after the medical use of cannabis was approved in the state.
In November 2010, proposition 203 was approved with 50.1% of the vote to legalize the medical use of cannabis. The initiative allowed patients with a doctor’s recommendation to possess up to 2.5 ounces (7 grams) of cannabis to treat certain qualifying conditions.
According to Arizona state law, you can purchase medical marijuana in state-licensed dispensaries, provided you have a medical marijuana card and a doctor’s recommendation. Only patients who live more than 25 miles from a dispensary can cultivate their own marijuana plants.
The Arizona Dispensaries Association and Arizona Cannabis Chamber organized an initiative to legalize the adult use of cannabis. This initiative gained support and qualified for the ballot as proposition 207 in August 2020.
The proposition passed in November 2020 and The Smart and Safe Act was enacted. This Act legalized adult recreational use of marijuana, allowing adults to possess up to one ounce (28 grams) with up to five grams being concentrates.
The Act also allows each adult to cultivate up to 6 cannabis plants at home. It also provides that employers may adopt “drug-free workplace” policies.
The sale of cannabis products in the shape of a human, animal, insect, fruit, toy, or cartoon is prohibited and possession of marijuana by minors is an offense that is penalized by $100 fine and drug counseling.
Is CBD legal in Arizona?
Yes, unlike delta 8, cannabidiol (CBD) is legal in Arizona, provided it’s sourced from hemp plants carrying no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight. This means the use, possession, sale, distribution, and production of hemp-derived CBD products are permitted within the state since CBD is not on the list of controlled substances. You can also travel to Arizona with hemp-derived CBD products.
Purchasing Delta 8 THC Products In Arizona
Purchasing any form of delta 8 products is illegal in Arizona. Vendors and online stores who may be selling delta 8 products in Arizona are doing so illegally. And buying online or in-store from places like gas stations or convenience stores will likely get you in trouble with local law enforcement if you are caught.
Delta 8 THC is strictly illegal so it is not advisable to purchase such products from either brick-and-mortar shops or online vendors. Moreover, most manufacturers and reputable brands stopped shipping hemp-derived delta 8 THC to Arizona.
Can You Fly To Arizona With Delta 8 THC Products?
Delta 8 products are highly restricted and illegal and it would be unwise for you to travel to Arizona with delta 8 products.
You may likely be permitted to board a plane with your delta 8 products if you are flying from a state that considers delta 8 THC legal. However, you might get in trouble with airport security and local law enforcement if you are caught with hemp-derived products such as delta 8 edibles in your possession upon arriving in Arizona.
Can You Buy Delta 10, HHC, THC-O, or Other THC Isomers In Arizona?
No, just like the state restricts delta 8 THC and specifically adds all THC isomers of the plant of genus cannabis to their list of controlled substances, all these other cannabinoids are illegal in the state. You cannot purchase any of the different forms of THC industrial hemp products.
The Future Of Delta 8 THC In Arizona
Currently, there is no upcoming legislation that might change the legal status of delta 8 THC in Arizona. However, keep in mind that state laws are subject to change so the legal status of delta 8 THC can change at any time both on the federal and state level. Therefore, it is advisable to always research your current state’s delta 8 laws before buying delta 8 THC products.
On the other hand, since Arizona has legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, we can be hopeful that the state will eventually regulate delta 8 THC products as regular marijuana and give residents legal access to delta THC 8.
Delta 8 THC In Arizona - Final Thoughts
Delta 8 THC, a naturally occurring compound found in both hemp and cannabis, is classified as a controlled substance in Arizona and it is illegal to possess, produce, sell, or buy delta 8 THC products.
Marijuana is legal for both medical and recreational use. Patients with qualifying conditions need to have a doctor’s recommendation and hold a medical card to be able to purchase marijuana or cannabis products in state-licensed dispensaries across the state.
The future of delta 8 THC in Arizona is uncertain but since the state has legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, we may still see marijuana-derived delta 8 THC being sold in state-licensed dispensaries in the future.
If you would like to know more about an alternative to delta 8 THC, read our article on the difference between delta 8 THC and CBD.
Legal Disclaimer: Always consult an attorney for the best legal advice regarding THC and your state law, as the material shared here is for informational purposes only.
Clayton is a Senior Content Specialist, researcher, and holistic healthcare practitioner. Having been in the supplement industry for more than 15 years, Clayton brings a wealth of experience to the delta 8 space. His publications include alternative therapy, stress and coping, and alternative health.