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Delta-8 THC: Is It Legal in Vermont?

Heady Vermont Staff
Heady Vermont Staff 17 Nov 2020

Most people think of delta-9 when talking about THC. Delta-9 THC is responsible for the strong psychoactive high you get after consuming cannabis. However, delta-9 THC isn’t the only cannabinoid with psychoactive effects.

Delta-8 THC is a double bond isomer of the more common delta-9 THC. While it may not be as strong as delta-9, delta-8 THC is still more than capable of giving an individual a mild high – along with a host of potential therapeutic benefits. Learn more about therapeutic effects and previous studies on delta-8 THC.

Though many may find the legality of delta-8 THC confusing, it is indeed federally legal in most states. The rub lies in whether it is hemp-derived or cannabis-derived. The legality of hemp changed because of the 2018 Farm Bill, which is also known as The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. With the new law, it specifically states that all derivatives, isomers, and cannabinoids in hemp are legal provided that the final products contain less than 0.3% delta-9 THC.

What’s the Buzz Around Delta-8? 

In August, the Drug Enforcement Administration published a rule regarding the scheduling of hemp and cannabis, effective immediately. The cannabis community swiftly reacted with an interpretation that this Rule outlawed delta-8 THC, the hemp industry’s new favorite cannabinoid.  The impact is that if delta-8 THC is, in fact, a Schedule I controlled substance, the threat of felonious criminal prosecution would thwart its commercial viability.

They argued that so long as the delta-8 is derived from cannabis that meets the definition of hemp, it does not appear to be illegal under the federal CSA – and they don’t believe the DEA Rule alters this.

Southern law firm Coats Rose dug into the Rule and other materials shortly thereafter, and disagreed with the “now illegal” conclusion. They argued that so long as the delta-8 is derived from cannabis that meets the definition of hemp, it does not appear to be illegal under the federal CSA – and they don’t believe the DEA Rule alters this.

The general consensus seems to be that as long as it is derived from the hemp plant, which follows the bill’s conditions of delta-9 THC content, it is federally legal.

In short, technically, hemp-derived delta-8 THC is legal in Vermont. Products aren’t as abundant here as in neighboring adult-use legal states, but it’s around. The commercial extraction of delta-8 kicked off on the West Coast within the last few years, and is now relatively widespread in New England adult-use cannabis markets.

As with any other new compound that hasn’t been extensively studied, regard delta-8 THC products with caution. And as with any other cannabinoid product, ask careful questions about sourcing, certifications and other quality measures. Finally, keep in mind legal status is always subject to change as policy adapts to the tides of societal change.

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