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Is Delta-8 THC legal in Ohio?

January 2022

Under the new provisions of the law, one cannabinoid is emerging and rising in popularity. 

This drug is making cannabis consumers relearn the rules on hemp and marijuana.

Of course, we are talking about Delta 8 and the new drug craze. It is a close cousin of Delta 9 in marijuana, but it can be bought in local stores. 

Why Delta-8 THC is Federally Legal?

Delta 8 fell under a loophole in the recent Farm Bill. 

This law paved the way for the legalization of CBD and hemp-based products. 

It redefined hemp as any cannabis plant, plant parts, and products with tetrahydrocannabinol not greater than 0.3%. 

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or TCH, is the main content of cannabis Sativa plants causes psychoactive effects on users. 

There is no limit to the amount of hemp placed in a product as long as the concentration of THC does not go above 0.3%.

How was Delta 8 legalized in Ohio?

Ohio aligned its state law with the existing federal provisions in 2019. 

Senate Bill 57 was signed by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. 

This bill officially legalized hemp plants and hemp-based products in Ohio. 

Its unlisted hemp and its derivatives from the list of controlled substances. It means that consumers with unrestricted and complete access to these products. 

Salient provisions of Senate Bill 57:

  • People can travel with hemp and Delta 8 products within the Ohio jurisdiction
  • Delta 8 derived from marijuana is legal as long as the THC abides by the limit of not more than 0.3%.
  • Marijuana used for legal purposes is legally subject to restrictions and regulation.
  • Use, possession, distribution, selling, and production of hemp is legal across the state.
  • Delta 8 products can be bought online and in local stores.

Specific revisions under Senate Bill Number 57:

Hemp is Cannabis Sativa L. plant and plant parts. 

It includes the seeds, derivatives, cannabinoids, isomers, salts, and all other substances extracted from it. It also has to have a THC percentage level of not more than three-tenths on a dry weight basis.

Tetrahydrocannabinol is defined as extracts from cannabis Sativa l. plants.

There is no standard, so the definition covers all THC irrespective of the atomic positioning and numerical designation. 

It includes synthetic products with the same chemical structure as an organic extract. It also covers those that cause the same pharmacological effects. 

The definition does not include those that fall under the meaning of hemp and hemp products.

DEA’s interpretation of the law

While consumers and vendors rejoiced in the legalization of Delta 8, the Drug Enforcement Agency has a different interpretation of the law. 

The federal provision appears to be definitive. But it is not. There is confusion in the interpretation of the law. 

Unlike the provisions on marijuana, restrictions and other rules on hemp are not specific. But in the case of hemp and hemp products, the law can be ambiguous. 

In 2020, in response to the passage of the bill, the DEA issued their Interim Final Rule. It outlined the agency’s stand on the definition of hemp, hemp products, and hemp-derived substances. 

According to the rules, naturally occurring hemp-derived THC is considered legal if the concentration is is 0.3% and below. 

But synthetic THC is illegal. 

Synthetic TCH is those that have altered chemical composition or converted. This provision is vital because of the process that Delta 8 products undergo. 

Only a small amount of Delta 8 can be extracted from one hemp plant. It means that the supply of natural Delta 8 is low. 

Because of this, hemp product manufacturers convert other CBD compounds to Delta 8. 

The process of making Delta 8 involves:

  • Creating cannabidiol isolate
  • Distilling the substance by adding solvents to melt it
  • Putting in chemical reagents to cause a chemical reaction
  • Adding alkaline agents for neutralization
  • Final washing and distillation

According to the DEA, products made from converted Delta 8 are considered synthetic and are thus illegal. 

This rule has no anchor in the Farm Bill. 

The law does not, specifically, provide that synthetic Delta 8 is illegal. 

It only provides that it should be within the limit of concentration which is under the definition.

PACT Act and Delta 8

PACT Act stands for Preventing All Cigarette Trafficking Act. 

There were recent amendments to this law. Some of its provisions relate to the regulation of Delta 8 products. 

The act covers not just those that are nicotine-based cigarettes and vapes but also liquids, including smokeable delta 8.

The law prohibited the shipment and delivery of vape and vape accessories through the United States Postal Mail Service. 

The prohibition covers products that are delivered to residential addresses, like:

It is in an attempt to limit the access of minors to Delta 8 products. 

Because the drugs I highly unregulated, minors can easily buy them online. Also, there is no Ohio law limiting the exposure of minors to Delta 8 advertisements. 

Many Delta 8 products come in an ingestible form that is appealing to kids and teenagers. 

Delta 8 is made into gummies, soda drinks, candies, and chewing gums.

Another related law is the law that prevents online sales of e-cigarettes to children. 

This statute provides that online stores need to confirm the age of their customers. 

It is also specific that stores use a private courier service that requires an adult signature before releasing the product. 

The Department of Commerce also released guidance to marijuana processors. 

There should be a briefing to let regulators know how marijuana is used in the final product. 

Also, the product label should show the amount of Delta 8 in the product. It will enable consumers to see how much delta 8 TCH they ingest. 

It is a step toward increasing product safety. It is the best rule we have when it comes to product regulation. 

But some are hoping that soon Delta 8 products will have FDA approval. 

Consequences of Contradicting Legal Interpretations

The different statements and rules issued by government departments on Delta 8 create legal confusion. 

Some claim that the ambiguity in the law is intentional. It is an attempt to gradually ease the public into the complete legalization of cannabis products. The strategy is decriminalizing one cannabinoid at a time.

It is further supported by the fact that four years after the bill came to effect, there is still no standard federal guidance from the government. 

And although marijuana has only been made legal on a federal level recently, before the Farm Bill, there have been states who already legalized cannabis. 

California led the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes in 2996. In 2012 Colorado and Washington legalized it for recreational use. 

Over the years, the cannabis industry in those areas thrived and created lucrative businesses. The stigma toward cannabis products has been pushed back little by little.

How to buy Delta 8 in Ohio?

Delta 8 is available in different stores across the state. 

  • Pharmacies
  • Local grocery stores
  • Gas stations
  • Herbal boutiques
  • Online stores

Online stores are the best place to order Delta 8 products, especially considering the travel restrictions during this pandemic.

Aside from convenience, online stores provide consumers with a selection of products. 

Also, product and brand verification are important when buying Delta 8. 

There are health risks that come from using Delta 8. But the risks do not just come from the cannabinoid. It also comes from the various chemicals added to the final product. 

Delta 8 is unregulated, and products do not have the approval of the FDA. It means that most of them have not undergone safety lab tests. 

When buying, check if the brand or store has third-party certificates. 

Private laboratories issue certificates after testing to show the chemical composition. 

It will show you if there are dangerous compounds added to the product like pesticides and other unhealthy chemicals. 

Parting Words

Delta 8 is legalized by the Farm Bill 2018. In Ohio, Senate Bill 57 upheld this provision. 

Although the law is lacking in specificity and is creating a lot of legal confusion. 

According to the DEA rules, natural Delta 8 is legal but synthetic Delta 8 is legal. This rule is not supported in the federal definition of hemp. 

Despite, the confusing interpretations there is no legal clarification from the federal government. Even so, there is still no reported raid and arrest made by the DEA relating to synthetic Delta 8. 

To be safe, consumers and vendors should stick with naturally occurring Delta 8. 

Also, the legal status of hemp and Delta 8 in the state of Ohio does not seem to change shortly. There is pending no legislation that overturns the current law.

Aside from legal repercussions, another consumer consideration should be health safety. Delta 8 manufacturers have yet to secure FDA approval for their merchandise.

It means that there are a lot of potential risks. When buying Delta 8, users should verify product labels and see product certificates for the complete chemical components.

If you are using Delta 8 for medical purposes, it is best to consult your doctor as it can cause adverse reactions to certain medications.