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    The Legal Status of Delta-9 THC

    February 8, 2024

    In 2014, the turbulent history of marijuana in the US was shaken up by a landmark ruling called the Rohrbacher-Farr Amendment. This brought about reforms that prohibited the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state medicinal cannabis laws and paved the way for broader reform. 

    Next came the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act, which we have come to know as the Farm Bill. It officially legalized hemp and hemp-derived products with a low THC content, specifically those containing less than 0.3% THC, on a federal level. Additionally, the bill eliminated low-THC cannabis products from the Controlled Substances Act, where they had been classified as Schedule I drugs since its inception in 1970.

    But fast forward to 2024, and THC consumers are still confused about the precise legalities of marijuana and THC products.

    This article delves into the distinctions between hemp and marijuana, compliance with the Schedule I Narcotics Act, and the impact of the 2018 Farm Bill on the legality of Delta-9 THC products.

    Defining Hemp vs. Marijuana

    At the heart of the legal complexities lies the distinction between hemp and marijuana. While these are both fundamentally the same plant, the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 removed hemp and hemp-derived products from the definition of marijuana. 

    What makes this slightly confusing is that hemp and marijuana are both effectively the same plant, with one significant difference:

    • Hemp = cannabis with a delta-9 THC concentration of no more than 0.3% by dry weight. 
    • Marijuana = cannabis with a delta-9 THC concentration of more than 0.3% by dry weight.

    Got it? Let’s move on to the really fun stuff!

    Legal Status of Delta-9 THC Across States

    For the 25 states where marijuana has been legalized at a state level (not federal), it is possible to purchase marijuana products containing more than 0.3% THC over the counter. In alphabetical order, these states (and territories) are:

    • Alaska
    • Arizona
    • California
    • Colorado
    • Connecticut
    • Delaware
    • Guam
    • Illinois
    • Maine
    • Maryland
    • Massachusetts
    • Michigan
    • Minnesota
    • Missouri
    • Montana
    • Nevada
    • New Jersey
    • New Mexico
    • New York
    • Ohio
    • Oregon
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    • Virginia
    • Washington
    • Washington, D.C.

    In the other 24 states, the Farm Bill enables the legal sale of hemp-based cannabis products with a delta-9 THC content of below 0.3%. But to make things more confusing, individual states reserve the right to impose specific limits on delta-9 THC content in products. 

    Examples include Connecticut’s 5mg per can restriction and Minnesota’s 10mg maximum. 

    We highly recommend checking the specific legislation in the state where you reside and any that you plan on visiting with Drink Delta products in your knapsack. Our team is well-versed in where you can and cannot consume our products, so get in touch if you can’t find the answers online. 

    Delta Cannabis Water and THC Content 

    The distinctions between hemp and marijuana are arguably less important than you might think for the average consumer who’s looking to get high. Most delta-9 THC products are always labeled with the term cannabis—such as our Cannabis Water—and fans of the product tend to be less concerned with the source which is often hemp. 

    Part of the reason why individual states have imposed limits on THC content is because manufacturers have found a loophole in the legislature that enables them to create products with higher doses of THC by using extraction.

    Products rich in delta-9 THC, such as delta-9 Live Resin, undergo extraction through solvents after flash freezing. The concentrate is purged of residual solvents, resulting in a sticky product with a high THC content. 

    This is why you are likely to find higher concentrations of THC in hemp-based products compared to marijuana-based ones.

    So technically speaking, a product like our Delta Cannabis Water can contain 20mg of hemp-derived THC and be legal. Meanwhile, in states like California where marijuana is legalized, you will struggle to find edibles with more than 10mg of THC per serving.

    Stay Informed About Cannabis Law

    While the 2018 Farm Bill opened doors for the legality of hemp-derived products, state-specific regulations and DEA guidelines hammer home the need to be vigilant and educated about compliance in this constantly evolving legal landscape.

    And, before you ask, yes our products will cause you to test positive for THC. We recommend not drinking them if you are required to pass a drug test for marijuana.

    Here’s to hoping that these new regulations and a surge in the use of marijuana for medical applications continue toward the end goal of full legalization – if for nothing more than removing the confusion and allowing consumers to use cannabis recreationally without fear of legal retribution.

    It is time for the suppression of cannabis to end.

    Long live cannabis water!

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