Medically Reviewed By:Nidra Sidhu, M.D. Integrative Medicine
Table Of Contents
Table Of Contents
Is Delta 8 Legal In California? Where To Buy In 2022
Following the 2018 Farm Bill, delta 8, a type of THC, became federally legal. However, state law isn’t always the same as federal law and California is one of the states with different delta 8 laws.
Despite having some of the most liberal cannabis laws in the United States, California restricts hemp-derived delta 8 THC and regulates the compound in the same manner as high-THC marijuana.
California lawmakers redefined THC to include delta 8, delta 9, delta 10, and other THC isomers and cannabinoids from hemp plants that state governing bodies deem to have intoxicating effects.
This change seems to have closed the loophole that made delta 8 THC products previously legal in California, restricting the sale, possession, and distribution of hemp-derived products containing more than 0.3% delta 8 or any type of THC.
In this article, we cover the new changes in the state law surrounding delta 8 THC in California.
What Is Delta 8 THC?
Before we delve into the laws surrounding delta 8 THC in California, let's take a quick look at what delta 8 is and how it's different from delta 9 THC.
Delta 8 is a variant of tetrahydrocannabinol or what people usually refer to as delta 9 THC. It is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in a hemp or cannabis plant.
However, it is found in trace amounts, and getting a significant amount naturally from the plant becomes almost impossible.
Luckily, CBD or delta 9 THC isolate can be refined into delta 8 in the lab through a chemical process. This makes it possible to get hemp-derived compound, delta 8 THC, in larger quantities for commercial purposes.
Since delta 8 is a variant or analog of delta 9 THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, it also has psychoactive properties similar to delta 9. However, delta 8’s psychoactive effects on a user are less intense than delta 9 THC.
Delta 8 Vs. Delta 9 THC
Scientifically, delta 8 and delta 9 THC are closely related. They share the same chemical formula and the compounds interact with the human body in similar ways.
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 is less potent than delta 9, the high it produces is milder.
Although these two compounds have almost the same properties, the federal government distinctly classifies them separately. Delta 8 THC is federally a legal hemp cannabinoid as long as it is sourced from a hemp plant and contains no more than 0.3% THC but delta 9 is not federally legal.
Let's delve into what state laws say about the legality of these compounds.
California Industrial Hemp Laws
Delta 8 THC became federally legal after Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, also known as the Agriculture Improvement Act.
This bill classified industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity and delisted hemp and its derived products from the controlled substances list.
Under this Bill, hemp-derived products such as delta 8 THC were considered legal as long as they didn’t contain more than three-tenths of 1 percent of delta 9 THC.
Subsequent to the Farm Bill, California passed Senate Bill 153 to align state industrial hemp laws to federal law. This Bill legalized hemp and hemp-derived products like delta 8, delta 10, or HHC provided they didn’t contain more than 0.3% delta 9 THC.
California’s Previous Legislature On Industrial Hemp
California Senate Bill 153 signed by the Governor in 2019, gave the following definitions to industrial hemp and THC, which gave delta 8 users legal access to the compound.
Under this previous law, delta 8 THC, delta 10 THC, and HHC, which are hemp-derived compounds, were removed from the Uniform Controlled Substances Act and classified as legal as long as they contained no more than 0.3% delta 9 THC.
California’s Current Legislature On Industrial Hemp
On October 16, 2021, Assembly Bill 45 was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. The Bill made changes to industrial hemp and the legality of delta 8 THC in California. The Bill primarily makes these two changes:
Adding delta 8 THC to the definition of THC poses a problem for delta 8 manufacturers since this seems to close the loophole that gives users legal access to the compound.
California Industrial Hemp Legislation Amendments
Below are the changes made to Assembly Bill 45, which affected the legal status of delta 8 THC.
Definition of Industrial hemp or Hemp
An agricultural product, whether growing or not that is limited to types of the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, the resin extracted from any part of the plant, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, with a tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of no more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.
Definition of THC or Comparable Cannabinoid
(1) tetrahydrocannabinolic acid.
(2) Any tetrahydrocannabinol, including, but not limited to, Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, and Delta-10-tetrahydrocannabinol, however, derived, except that the department may exclude one or more isomers of tetrahydrocannabinol from this definition.
(3) Any other hemp-derived cannabinoids, except cannabidiol, that the department determines to cause intoxication.
Taking these new definitions into consideration, California is now regulating delta 8 THC as regular high THC marijuana or delta 9 and classifies it as controlled substances which makes delta 8 THC products containing more than 0.3% of delta 8 THC concentration illegal.
Is Delta 9 THC Legal In California?
Delta 9 THC, the main compound in marijuana or cannabis that causes psychoactive effects, is considered legal in the state of California.
California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in the United state back in 1996. Recreational marijuana was legalized later in 2016.
Medical Cannabis Laws In California
The Compassionate Use Act of 1996 popularly known as Proposition 215 was approved with 56% of votes legalizing the use, possession, and cultivation of cannabis by patients with a recommendation from a physician.
The Compassionate Use Act allowed patients and caregivers to cultivate cannabis plants at home and also urged lawmakers to facilitate the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana through a licensed dispensary.
In 2003, California approved the Medical Marijuana Program Act SB 420 which establishes a regulatory framework for medical cannabis patients.
Currently, there are no possession limits to cannabis for medical marijuana patients and their caregivers.
Recreational Marijuana Laws In California
After several failed attempts to legalize recreational cannabis, California finally passed Proposition 64 also known as The Adult Use of Marijuana Act with a 57% to 43% vote in 2016.
The Adult Use Act provides adults who are 21 years and above legal access to use, sell, and cultivate recreational cannabis in California.
Adults are allowed to:
The agencies that were responsible for regulating cannabis in California were the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the Department of Food and Agriculture, and the California Department of Public Health. These agencies then combined responsibilities in 2021 to create the Department of Cannabis Control which foresees all things cannabis in California.
Is CBD Legal In California?
Yes, hemp-derived CBD is legal in California. California state law legalizes the sale, purchase, possession, and distribution of CBD.
California SB 153 legalized CBD back in 2019, however, they did not permit legal hemp extracts to be added to ingestibles like food, dietary supplements, pet food and products such ase cosmetics.
However, this changed with the passing of AB 45, and manufacturers of CBD products can now freely add it to ingestible food products.
AB 45 also permits the use, possession, sale, distribution, and manufacture of smokable hemp products (CBD flower).
Unlike marijuana which has possession limits in California, hemp-derived CBD doesn’t have such regulations and it is widely accessible.
Is Delta 8 Legal For Dogs In CA?
It is not clear whether Delta 8 THC, a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, is legal for use in dogs in California. Delta 8 THC is a psychoactive compound that can produce effects similar to those of Delta 9 THC, the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis.
In California, the use of cannabis and its derivatives, including Delta 8 THC, is legal for adults for recreational purposes, and it is also legal for medical purposes with a doctor's recommendation. However, the legal status of Delta 8 THC for use in animals, including dogs, is less clear.
The use of cannabis and its derivatives in veterinary medicine is a controversial and largely unregulated area, and there is currently limited research on the safety and effectiveness of these compounds for use in animals. As such, it is important to exercise caution and consult with a veterinarian before giving Delta 8 THC or any other cannabis-derived product to a pet.
Purchasing Delta 8 THC In California
Purchasing delta 8 THC products that carry more than 0.3% of any form of THC is illegal in California.
In February 2022, there was a report of an incident at Ocean Beach, California where police busted a delta-8 vendor, confiscated his hemp-derived products, and cited him for the possession of unlicensed cannabis and hemp products.
The California Department of Public health strictly regulates such products, so it is not advisable to buy such products from either brick-and-mortar shops or online vendors.
Can You Fly To California With Delta 8 THC?
Since delta 8 products are highly restricted and illegal, it would be unwise for you to travel to California with delta 8 products.
State lines might permit you to take it onboard a plane but 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 in California.
Likewise, you cannot cross state borders with marijuana products because state boards are controlled by the federal government and since marijuana is illegal on a federal level you might be charged with drug trafficking.
Can You Buy Delta 10, HHC, THC-O, or Other THC Isomers In California?
No, just like the state restricts delta 8 THC and specifically adds all THC isomers and intoxicating cannabinoids from hemp to the definition of THC. You cannot buy industrial hemp products that contain more than 0.3% of any type of THC.
Is delta 8 legal in California? According to a newly enacted Bill delta 8 THC is currently highly restricted and considered illegal in the state of California.It is illegal to sell, buy, possess, or use hemp-derived cannabinoids such as delta 8 products that contain more than 0.3 % of any form of THC on a dry weight basis.
Is delta 9 legal in California? Delta 9 THC is legal in California for medical uses and recreational use for adults. Medical marijuana card holders or their caregivers don’t have a possession limit but adults 21 years or above who use cannabis for recreational purposes can possess up to an ounce of cannabis.
Is CBD legal in California? Yes, hemp CBD is legal in the state and it is allowed to be infused in food products for humans and animals, dietary supplements, and cosmetics.
For a clearer understanding of the differences between delta 8 THC and CBD, find more information in our article here.
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.