Medically Reviewed By:Nidra Sidhu, M.D. Integrative Medicine
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Table Of Contents
Is Delta 8 Legal In Illinois? Where To Buy Delta 8 In Illinois
According to the Illinois laws surrounding hemp and hemp-derived products, delta 8 is legal in the state. However, the Department of Agriculture sees the production of delta 8 as not legal.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture recently issued a policy statement declaring that cannabis processors or manufacturers cannot synthesize delta 8 THC from hemp or other hemp derivatives.
However, most cannabis manufacturers insist that the policy statement is not legally binding because state law does not prohibit delta 8 sales, possession, or the way it is manufactured.
Given the current controversies, is delta 8 presently legal in Illinois? Yes, it is still legal and can be purchased from physical stores and online stores throughout Illinois.
Here's what you need to know about delta 8 laws and what to consider before buying delta 8 THC.
Where Does Delta 8 THC Come From?
Let’s first take a quick detour to talk about how we source delta 8 THC.
Delta 8 can naturally be found in hemp and cannabis plants, but it occurs in minuscule levels, so extracting a significant amount would require a massive number of plants.
However, there is another way to get delta 8 THC in larger quantities for sale. This is done by converting Cannabidiol, popularly known as CBD or delta 9 THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. These compounds are the most abundant cannabinoids in hemp and cannabis so they can easily be obtained in larger quantities.
Hemp-derived CBD or delta 9 isolate is introduced to chemicals at a precise temperature to create an environment for the conversion to happen, making it possible to get delta 8 THC in larger quantities.
Delta 8 Vs Delta 9
Delta 8 and delta 9 are similar in many ways, from sharing the same chemical formula to interacting with the human body. The major difference between these two is that they have different chemical structures.
Both of these compounds have a double carbon bond, but delta 8’s double carbon bond happens on the eighth carbon while delta 9’s is on the ninth carbon. This difference might seem small, but it plays a major role in how delta 8 and delta 9 interact with the body.
Delta 8 is also psychoactive, meaning it can cause a high just like delta 9, however, delta 8 is less potent so its high is milder than that of delta 9. Many people often refer to delta 8 as diet weed.
2018 Farm Bill - Why Delta 8 Is Federally Legal
Delta 8 became federally legal after the federal government passed the Agriculture Improvement Act, also 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 get to decide how they regulate it; hence, state and federal laws don’t always align. If a particular state chooses to prohibit its production or regulate it in a certain way then it can regardless of what federal law says.
Illinois Delta 8 Laws
Illinois state hemp laws deem delta 8 legal. You can produce, sell, buy, or possess this hemp-derived mildly psychoactive cannabinoid in the state.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture released a policy statement to growers, cultivators, and infusers on the 3rd of March 2022 restricting delta 8 THC from being chemically synthesized from a hemp derivative.
However, it is being argued that this statement is not binding or enforceable since Illinois law allows delta 8 to be synthesized from hemp-derived CBD or delta 9.
Why Illinois Is Looking To Prohibit The Chemical Synthesis Of Delta 8
Most delta 8 restrictions across the United States arise from public health and safety concerns. As we stated earlier, the hemp plant doesn’t produce enough delta 8 naturally for commercial purposes so cannabis producers have to synthesize delta 8 from abundant hemp-extracted CBD or delta 9 THC.
Cannabis producers chemically convert CBD or delta 9 into delta 8 by changing the molecular structure of these compounds. This process, called isomerization, involves using solvents and acids which creates harmful toxins as by-products in the process. So if the final product is not 100% purified, the product becomes unsafe for human consumption.
Hence the purification concerns surrounding the isomerization process coupled with the fact that delta 8 exists in a highly unregulated market may be the reasons why Illinois wants to take action and restrict the chemical synthesis of delta 8 THC.
Illinois Industrial Hemp Legislation
Like their neighboring states, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Missouri, Illinois aligned their hemp laws to federal hemp laws in 2018 when they passed Senate Bill 2298 signed by Governor Bruce Rauner. This legalized hemp production and all hemp-derived products such as delta 8 in the state as long as they contain no more than 0.3% delta 9 THC.
The Bill established a comprehensive regulatory framework for the cultivation, production, and processing of industrial hemp in Illinois. It also made amendments to the state's Noxious Weed Act and the Cannabis Control Act to remove hemp and hemp-derived compounds from the definition of marijuana and subsequently remove them as controlled substances.
Industrial Hemp Act Amendments
The following amendments were made to the Industrial Hemp Act.
(505 ILCS 89/5)
"Hemp" or "industrial hemp" means the plant Cannabis Sativa L. and any part of that plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis and includes any intermediate or finished product made or derived from industrial hemp.
"THC" means delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol.
(505 ILCS 89/20)
Hemp products. Nothing in this Act shall alter the legality of hemp or hemp products that are presently legal to possess or own.
According to these new definitions, delta 8 THC is a hemp product and is legal in Illinois as long as it does not contain more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis.
Is Marijuana Legal In Illinois?
Marijuana, sometimes referred to as delta 9 THC, is legal under Illinois state law. Illinois legalized medical marijuana five years before legalizing recreational marijuana for adult use.
Medical Marijuana In Illinois
Illinois became the eleventh state in the US to legalize medical cannabis in 2013 after Governor Patrick Quinn signed into law the state medical marijuana program.
The Illinois General Assembly passed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (MCPP) which establishes regulations for the safe distribution of cannabis to registered medical marijuana patients.
The program allows registered patients or caregivers to possess more than 30 grams of cannabis if it is grown and secured in their residences.
Recreational Cannabis In Illinois
Illinois lawmakers proposed legalizing recreational marijuana in the state in 2017 and on May 31, 2019, Illinois General Assembly passed the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act to legalize it.
Governor, J.B. Pritzker signed the Bill to make the state the first in the US to legalize cannabis for recreational sale through state legislation rather than a ballot initiative.
The Bill used in taking this action is known as House Bill 1438 and it creates a framework for the regulations of the use, possession, cultivation, production, and sale of legal cannabis products.
Possession Limit Under Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act
- Adults 21 years and above can purchase and possess up to 30 grams of cannabis flower or 5 grams of concentrate or 500mg of THC in cannabis-infused products.
- Home cultivation of recreational cannabis is not allowed under this Act.
Buying Delta 8 In Illinois
Delta 8 THC is legal so it can be easily accessed from physical stores such as dispensaries, convenience stores, CBD shops, gas stations, and online vendors.
Since the delta 8 market is unregulated, we recommend you buy from safe and trusted sources to avoid buying fake or mislabeled products. The best way to ensure you buy high-quality delta 8 products at better prices is to buy online directly from the producers.
Here are a few safety boxes to tick before buying delta 8 products such as edibles online.
One of the advantages of buying online is that you can read some of the reviews others have left about the product. Although the delta 8 experience differs for everyone, positive reviews could mean the product will work for you too.
Certificate of Analysis
Trusted and transparent brands always provide a copy of their third-party lab results on their website for buyers to check the product's chemical compound and verify that it is safe for consumption.
The Type Of Hemp
Legal delta 8 must be sourced from hemp but the best type of hemp is US organic-grown hemp. The type of hemp used to manufacture the delta 8 product will impact the quality of the product so be sure to go for US-grown hemp.
At What Age Can You Buy Delta 8 In Illinois?
Illinois hemp laws don't have age restrictions as to who can buy the compound so it's mostly up to retailers to set age limits for their products.
Many retailers in Illinois and other states require consumers to be 21 years or above to purchase delta 8 products.
Can You Fly To Illinois With Delta 8?
Yes, you can. The Farm Bill allows for hemp and hemp products to be transported across state lines so you can take your delta 8 products to Illinois without getting in trouble with the law.
Caution: ensure your delta 8 products contain the legal limit of THC allowed in hemp products and carry proper documentation like a copy of the certificate of analysis and a purchase receipt. This is because delta 8 can easily be mistaken for delta 9 without proper testing. Since delta 9 is federally illegal, it would help to avoid the confusion that you are carrying delta 9 instead of delta 8 THC.
Can You Buy Other Hemp-Derived Cannabinoids In Illinois?
Yes, all other hemp-derived intoxicating compounds like delta 7, delta 10, HHC, and THC-O can legally be purchased in Illinois. The same laws that make delta 8 legal also make these compounds legal as long as they contain no more than 0.3 % THC.
Is Delta 8 Legal In Illinois? Key Takeaways
Delta 8, a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid, is legal in Illinois under state laws. The compound can still be purchased and used despite the policy statement by the Department of Agriculture.
Medical and adult recreational use of marijuana is legal in the state of Illinois.
Generally, you need to be 21 years and above to buy delta 8 products or other hemp-derived products from both online and physical retail shops.
Currently, there is no upcoming legislation that threatens the legality of delta 8 but laws can change at any time. So it is wise to keep up to date with the laws surrounding the purchase and use of hemp-derived products.
Are you in Illinois and want to try some delta 8 THC.? We recommend you start with our 500mg delta 8 gummies if you are a new user. They are made from US-grown hemp and come in different flavors.
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. Please seek a doctor’s advice before taking legal cannabis products with any medical condition, prescription medications, or as a supplemental dietary product to your current regime.
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.