US Alternative Cannabinoid Laws; Where Can You Sell Alternative Cannabinoid Products?
Updated January, 2022
Alternative cannabinoids are increasingly popular among both recreational and medical cannabis consumers, especially in states that disallow marijuana-type cannabis products. However, the alternative cannabinoid market is relatively young and therefore exists in a legal grey area in many US states. To be clear, the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and all of its derivatives, which includes CBD and other cannabinoids created from the element. However, individual US jurisdictions hold ultimate precedence regarding hemp laws in their areas, and some places have opted out of intoxicating cannabinoid sales.
Today, we’ll outline where you can sell alternative cannabinoids in the USA along with ways to choose the best alternative cannabinoid products for your retail store. But first, let’s discuss what the USDA has to say about commercial hemp cannabinoids.
Hemp and the 2018 Farm Bill
The Farm Bill is an ever-evolving document that outlines farming standards across the United States. The USDA updates the Farm Bill roughly every five years to accommodate evolving farming standards, support farmers and their families, and continue to serve the public’s best interest.
In 2018, the Farm Bill legalized hemp and removed hemp-based cannabinoids from the Controlled Substance List, thus making hemp – and all derivatives – federally legal and commercially viable. According to the bill, hemp refers to “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.” That means that all hemp-derived elements, even those produced from cannabinoids, are federally legal and eligible for commercial sale — including psychoactive alternative cannabinoids like Delta 8, D10, and HHC. However, where you can sell alternative cannabinoid products varies by state.
Understanding the Different Legal Statuses of Alt Cannabinoids
Of course, the legal status of alt cannabinoids by state isn’t quite so cut-and-dry. Essentially, some places ban certain cannabinoids, while other places regulate alternative cannabinoid sales according to their own unique playbooks. As such, when determining the legal status of alternative cannabinoids by state, one must consider all facets of the hemp retail landscape. Though each jurisdiction regulates alternative cannabinoids differently, the legal status of alt hemp cannabinoids usually falls into one of the four following categories.
- Legal: Legal states are places where you can sell alternative cannabinoid products. Retailers can sell alt cannabinoids in places where hemp delta cannabinoids are legal. In these areas, legislators acknowledge the Farm Bill verbiage outlining the definition of hemp and its direct impact on cannabinoid sales in their states and territories.
- Illegal: Though federally legal, some states have opted to ban one or more alternative cannabinoids, likely due to the relatively young nature of the substances, a lack of regulatory oversight, or simply because they are intoxicating.
- Regulated: Some areas permit alt cannabinoid sales if sellers follow strict protocol for their production and distribution. Like state-wide marijuana laws, alt cannabinoid regulations usually require that sellers only distribute the products through approved vendors and only to buyers 21+ years old.
- Grey Area: Finally, some places manage delta hemp cannabinoid sales in a legal grey area, acknowledging their legal status while contemplating banning or restricting the substance. These areas can go either way, so those who want to sell alternative hemp cannabinoids in these areas should pay close attention to developing hemp news and legislation in these jurisdictions.
Commercially Sourcing Alt Cannabinoids
Hemp retailers everywhere are starting to add alternative hemp cannabinoids to their product line. However, before anyone buys delta cannabinoids wholesale, they must thoroughly research their hemp product supplier, including the methods by which they acquire alt hemp cannabinoids.
Importantly, most alternative cannabinoids develop naturally in minuscule amounts. However, manufacturers can also develop alt cannabinoids in a laboratory, often using CBD as the base element. Though the final product is generally very safe for consumption, improperly purging the substances that convert CBD into psychoactive cannabinoids can be dangerous. As such, retailers should thoroughly vet their alt cannabinoid suppliers, paying close attention to their manufacturing processes and final product COAs.
Popular Alternative Cannabinoid Products
Alternative cannabinoid products are infused with semi-synthetic, slightly psychoactive cannabinoids. Notably, there are many types of alt cannabinoid products, each with its own unique advantages and drawbacks. The following are the most popular alternative cannabinoid product types.
- Smokables: Smokable hemp delta products refer to vaporizers and alt cannabinoid-infused hemp pre-rolls. These products are a great way to consume intoxicating cannabinoids in a more traditional manner and produce effects within just a few minutes. Smokable hemp products are also great for communal consumption, especially in areas with more restrictive marijuana laws.
- Edibles: Edibles are alternative cannabinoid-infused food products like candies and tinctures. Notably, consumers can swallow and metabolize edible hemp products for delayed albeit longer-lasting effects or allow the cannabinoids to absorb sublingually for faster, more potent results.
- Topicals: A few topical products, particularly hemp patches, slowly release cannabinoids into the bloodstream through the skin. Notably, cannabinoid patches include special carrier agents that usher fat-loving cannabinoids into water-based blood to produce a controlled, consistent whole-body “high.”
Where Can You Sell Alternative Products?
There is no doubt that alternative hemp cannabinoids are increasingly popular, and retailers stand to sell countless hemp delta products to their audience. However, retailers must be aware of the alternative cannabinoid laws in their distribution areas to maintain compliance and avoid fees. Use this list to determine which alternative cannabinoids you can sell and where, bearing in mind that state-by-state hemp laws constantly evolve. Use this chart as a guide but refer to local hemp laws for confirmation.
As it stands, all alternative hemp cannabinoids are legal in Alabama. However, state legislators have passed motions to ban Delta 8 and Delta 10 in the past. Though the bills failed to pass, it is possible that they will reappear later.
Semi-synthetic cannabinoids are illegal in Alaska, including Delta 8, D10, HCC, and THC-O, each of which is listed as Schedule III Controlled Substances in the state. Possession, sale, and distribution could result in a Class C misdemeanor, a felony, or anything in between.
Delta 8 products are legal in Arizona if the seller follows protocol established by the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board due to their intoxicating nature. As of this date, all other semi-synthetic cannabinoids are illegal in Arizona (not including D9 THC), while the newly introduced Senate Bill 1715 (March 2022) seeks to ban D8 production and sale.
Alternative cannabinoids are generally illegal in Arkansas, though the state has yet to officially ban Delta 8. However, the substance is considered a Schedule IV controlled substance in the area, which basically puts all legal consequences at the discretion of law enforcement.
Most of California’s alternative cannabinoid laws fall under the state’s marijuana law jurisdiction. As such, alt cannabinoid sales are tightly regulated and require proper state-issued licensing. The state also prohibits CBD-infused foods and imposes excess taxes on cannabinoid sales within the area. As such, many distributors avoid selling alternative cannabinoid products in California.
Currently, laboratory-produced cannabinoids are illegal in Colorado despite the state’s overwhelmingly progressive cannabis laws. Essentially, the state considers chemically modified cannabinoids non-compliant with hemp law. Consequently, the state prohibits its distribution, sale, possession, and use. Though Delta 9 is legal in Colorado, retailers must follow local marijuana laws to maintain compliance.
Alternative cannabinoids are legal in Connecticut, but only through retailers that are licensed through the state’s marijuana licensing board. Though unlicensed vendors are technically prohibited from selling alt cannabinoids to the public, reports suggest that plenty of unlicensed vendors still sell the products within state lines.
Deleware is not a place where you can sell alternative cannabinoid products. Importantly, alternative cannabinoids are illegal in Delaware, particularly those developed in a lab. Though marijuana possession was recently decriminalized in the area, the state has reaffirmed that all intoxicating cannabinoids are Schedule I substances under its Uniform Controlled Substances Act.
All hemp cannabinoids are legal in Florida, including alternative cannabinoids like Delta 8, hemp D9, D10, and more. What’s more, there are no possession restrictions in the area, provided that the cannabinoid products are hemp-derived and not marijuana-derived. Notably, marijuana-derived cannabinoids are still illegal in Florida.
Like Florida, hemp-derived cannabinoids are legal in Georgia while marijuana-derived cannabinoids are not. However, the state has decriminalized small amounts of marijuana-based cannabinoids in some areas. As such, those who wish to possess more than one ounce of cannabinoid products should always carry proof of the product’s origin.
Hawaii has not officially approved or denied alternative cannabinoid sales within the state. However, officials did release a statement in 2019 claiming that hemp cannabinoids are not FDA-approved and therefore illegal. However, Hawaiian legislators do not explicitly mention alternative cannabinoids like Delta 8. Notably, many people report that alt cannabinoid products are readily available throughout the area.
Idaho has some of the strictest hemp laws in the country, having banned THC in all forms, whether natural or synthetically produced. Notably, this includes all hemp products containing any form of THC, even if the item itself is within the federally established THC limit of 0.3 percent or less.
The legality of alt cannabinoids in Illinois is murky at best. Though alternative cannabinoids are technically permitted under Illinois law, legislators continually try to ban or further restrict the intoxicating substances. For example, the Illinois Department of Agriculture released a statement in March 2022 banning chemically produced cannabinoids, though the statement is not currently backed by legislation. As such, though alt cannabinoids are technically legal in the state, evolving hemp laws may soon change that.
All hemp cannabinoids are legal in Indiana despite many efforts to restrict intoxicating hemp cannabinoids due to safety concerns. However, only hemp cannabinoids are legal in the state as marijuana-based products remain illegal. As such, those who sell alternative cannabinoids in Indiana should always provide proof of the product’s origin through detailed COAs and regulatory documents.
Synthetic alt cannabinoids are illegal in Iowa, though law enforcement largely turns a blind eye to vendors within the state. Importantly, inhalable hemp products are also illegal in the state, including vapes and smokable hemp pre-rolls.
As of now, all hemp cannabinoids are legal in Kansas, though the state’s Attorney General doesn’t quite approve. Basically, he believes that hemp products are only FDA-compliant if they contain less than 0.3 percent of all tetrahydocannabinols, including Delta 8, 9, and 10. Nevertheless, opinion is not law, which means alternative cannabinoids are legal in Kansas and readily available online and in stores.
Delta hemp products have been of major controversy in Kentucky, with lawmakers bouncing back and forth regarding alternative cannabinoid laws in the state. For example, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture issued a statement in April 2021 claiming that Delta 8 and other THC isomers are controlled substances and therefore prohibited in the state. However, after several vendors were raided in the state, a judge granted an injunction stating that hemp cannabinoids are legal. Importantly, all bills to ban the elements have been unsuccessful ever since.
Louisiana allows vendors to sell alternative cannabinoids within the state if they acquire proper licensing and follow strict protocol regarding product testing and safety. Additionally, no hemp products can contain more than 0.5 percent THC or THC isomer and retailers cannot distribute the products to anyone under 21 years old.
Alternative cannabinoids like Delta 8 and D10 are legal in Maine as the state does not consider them controlled substances.
Alternative cannabinoids are legal in Maryland as of May 2022 and the passing of Senate Bill 778. Notably, vendors must comply with local regulations to sell alt cannabinoids within the state, like not selling the products to people under the age of 21. Interestingly, the bill also established a task force to study alternative cannabinoids and discuss how best to regulate them. As of December 2022, Maryland’s Medical Cannabis Commission released an official report outlining these regulations.
Technically, alternative cannabinoids are legal in Massachusetts. However, the state’s website claims that THC and its isomers are controlled substances and therefore banned non-eligible for commercial sale. Though there is no legislation backing this ban, it is unclear if sellers or consumers will face repercussions for distributing and possessing it.
Michigan is another place where you can sell alternative cannabinoid products in the USA. Essentially, alt cannabinoids are legal in Michigan, with Delta 8 regulated much like marijuana in the area. Notably, vendors must secure proper licensing to sell Delta 8 in Michigan and no one under 21 years old may buy D8 in the state. Having said that, most other alternative cannabinoids are available both in and outside of licensed facilities throughout Michigan.
Delta products are tightly regulated in Minnesota where edibles can contain no more than 5 percent THC per serving (50mg per package) and no more than 0.3 percent total tetrahydrocannabinol. These limitations make it very difficult to sell intoxicating cannabinoid products in Minnesota.
Semi-synthetic delta products are not legal in Mississippi because the state considers them controlled substances. Though Mississippi’s House Bill 1547 legalized hemp and hemp byproducts, it did not remove any THC compounds from the Controlled Substance list, thus making it illegal to sell alt hemp cannabinoids in the area.
Missouri’s House Bill 2034 legalized hemp and all of its derivatives thus ensuring that all alternative hemp cannabinoids are also legal. That means that retailers can freely sell alt cannabinoids in Missouri.
Alternative hemp cannabinoids are illegal in Montana as per the state’s 2019 Controlled Substances Act update. As such, it is illegal to sell, use, distribute, and possess alt cannabinoids, including Delta 8, D10, HHC, and THC-O. Notably, recreational marijuana is legal in Montana, which includes D9 THC, but it is unclear if marijuana-derived alternative cannabinoids are permissible in the area.
Nebraska’s Hemp Farming Act legalized alternative hemp cannabinoids, making intoxicating hemp cannabinoids legal in the state. The Bill mirrors the USDA’s 2018 Farm Bill, which permits hemp and hemp derivatives for commercial sale.
Synthetic hemp cannabinoids are illegal in Nevada according to Senate Bill No. 49, which classifies all THC isomers as THC. That means that alt cannabinoids like Delta 8, D10, HCC, and THC-O are illegal in the state. Importantly, non-synthetic Delta 9 THC remains legal under their marijuana program.
Alternative hemp cannabinoids are legal in New Hampshire, according to House Bill 459, which clearly permits all hemp derivatives.
New Jersey’s Hemp Program legalizes hemp and hemp cannabinoids, which makes it legal to sell, distribute, possess, and consume alternative delta cannabinoids throughout the state.
The New Mexico Hemp Manufacturing Act legalized semi-synthetic hemp cannabinoids like D8, D10, HCC, and THC-O. Notably, recreational marijuana is also legal in the state, as is marijuana-based Delta 8, 9, and 10.
New York does not permit alternative cannabinoid sales within the state. Though CBD and other hemp products are legal in New York, no one can sell or distribute hemp products containing more than 0.3 percent THC or THC isomer.
Delta 8, D10, and other intoxicating hemp cannabinoids are legal in North Carolina if the product contains less than 0.3 percent Delta 9 THC. However, alternative cannabinoids sourced from marijuana-type cannabis remain illegal in the state. That means, that only hemp-based products are eligible for commercial sale in the area.
All intoxicating cannabinoids are illegal in North Dakota. This includes all hemp-derived cannabinoids with more than 0.3 percent THC or THC isomer. The reason is because the state considers them controlled substances. However, CBD and other minor cannabinoids remain legal throughout North Dakota.
Alternative hemp cannabinoids are legal in Ohio, including Delta 8, D10, HHC, and THC-O. As such, Ohio is another place where you can sell alternative cannabinoid products within the states. What’s more, the products are relatively easy to find in head shops, tobacco shops, and convenience stores. However, consumers should be wary of sub-par alt cannabinoids, which may not be as safe or pure.
Delta 8 and other THC isomers are legal in Oklahoma and do not appear on the state’s Controlled Substance List. That means that it’s legal to buy and sell alternative cannabinoids in Oklahoma. Notably, retailers can sell alt cannabinoids in Oklahoma both online and in brick-and-mortar stores.
Oregon legalized alternative hemp cannabinoids and regulates them as “Adult Use Cannabinoids” within the state. Essentially, anyone who wants to sell alternative cannabinoids in Oregon may do so. However, they must follow established protocols like not selling cannabinoid products to anyone under 21 unless that person is a medical marijuana cardholder over 18 years old.
All hemp cannabinoids are legal in Pennsylvania, despite some safety concerns from a few of the state’s senators. Despite their memoranda, there is no official legislation banning alternative cannabinoids in Pennsylvania. Consequently, delta products are legal and unrestricted for commercial sale in the state.
Rhode Island’s Uniform Controlled Substances Act prohibits alternative hemp cannabinoid sales within the state. As such, it is illegal to buy, sell, consume, or possess delta hemp cannabinoids within the area.
Alternative cannabinoids like Delta 8, D10, THC-O, and HHC are legal in South Carolina if they come from hemp. In fact, Delta 9 THC is the only cannabinoid currently restricted in the state, which legislators define as a Schedule I substance regardless of source. Be that as it may, doctors can prescribe low-THC, high-CBD oils to patients if the product contains no more than 0.9 percent THC.
All hemp cannabinoids are legal in South Dakota if the products contain no more than 0.3 percent D9 THC dry weight. Essentially, lawmakers in the state determined that THC isomers are legal if they come from compliant hemp plants. As such, manufacturers are free to extract and convert CBD into THC isomers and sell them in South Dakota.
Delta 8 and other hemp cannabinoids are legal in Tennessee and available for purchase throughout the state. This was despite the introduction of House Bill 1927 which aimed to ban intoxicating hemp cannabinoids but failed to pass. As it stands, hemp cannabinoids are legal in Tennessee, whereas marijuana cannabinoids are not.
Alt hemp cannabinoids are legal in Texas at the time of this writing. However, lawmakers have been actively opposing the legality of D8 and other cannabinoids in Texas for more than a year. Additionally, the Texas Department of State Health Service website claims they are Controlled Substances. Nevertheless, a recent court ruling declared that Delta 8 hemp is, in fact, legal – at least for now.
Only card-holding medical marijuana patients can access delta cannabinoid products in Utah regardless of source. What’s more, all entities selling alternative cannabinoids in Utah must have proper licensing within the state. Unlicensed alternative cannabinoid vendors in Utah risk fines and other punishments for violating state marijuana laws.
Synthetic hemp cannabinoids like Delta 8, D10, and HHC are illegal in Vermont. According to the state’s Hemp Rules, “A processor shall not use synthetic cannabinoids in the production of any hemp product or hemp-infused product.” Bearing this in mind, natural D9 THC is legal in the state in accordance with Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board.
Virginia clearly legalized hemp and hemp-based cannabinoids and does not consider them Controlled Substances. Moreover, the state also operates a legal marijuana program, meaning that cannabinoids from both hemp and marijuana are legal throughout the state. As such, it is legal to sell alternative cannabinoids in Virginia, whether from hemp or marijuana. Having said that, Virginia’s 16-member task force recommends stricter alternative cannabinoid laws throughout the state, like requiring vendors to attain state-issued licensing to distribute intoxicating hemp products. Notably, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin recently proposed a budgeting plan to enforce D8 regulations in the state.
Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board recently ruled that synthetically-derived THC is illegal in the state. Lawmakers hope that the move will slow the illegal sale of unapproved delta 8 products throughout the state. Notably, natural THC is legal in Washington and available for purchase to those 21 and older.
Hemp cannabinoids are legal in West Virginia as per the state’s Department of Agriculture which mirrors federal hemp law. As such, it is legal to produce, sell, distribute, possess, and consume alternative hemp cannabinoids in West Virginia.
Alt cannabinoids are not Controlled Substances in Wisconsin, which makes it legal to sell them within the state. However, this is only true for hemp-based cannabinoids. Wisconsin law still heavily restricts marijuana within the state. As such, those who sell alternative cannabinoids in Wisconsin must be able to prove their source is compliant with state law.
Hemp and its derivatives are legal in Wyoming, including alternative cannabinoids like Delta 8, Delta 10, and so on. As such, it is legal to sell alt cannabinoids in Wyoming as per House Bill 0171 which permits all hemp products for commercial sale.
Final Thoughts About Where You Can Sell Alternative Cannabinoid Products
Despite hemp being legal in America, you can not sell alternative cannabinoid products everywhere. As such, brands that wish to sell delta 8, D9, Delta 10, HCC, and THC-O products must adhere to the protocol set by each jurisdiction.
Importantly, hemp laws are always changing and retailers must stay abreast of evolving laws to remain compliant. We’ve put together this guide to help (and update it frequently), though it is up to you to stay on top of it. Do so by following news publications, government websites, and, of course, the VCM website.
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