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Delta-8 THC is legal in Texas… for now


The legal status of Delta-8 THC, the popular cannabis derivative sold in smoke shops and CBD stores all over Texas, has been on a rollercoaster over the last few months. As of now, though, it's legal. Delta-8 is the milder cousin of definitely-illegal-in-Texas weed. It's consumed mostly in the form of edibles and vape cartridges.

Why it matters

If Delta-8 THC is criminalized, countless Texans could face felony charges, jail time and fines up to $10,000 for selling or possessing a product that consumers believe is legal.

Driving the news

The Texas Department of State Health Services "Consumable Hemp Program" webpage was updated this month. It specifically mentions that legal products must contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC, but makes no mention of Delta-8.

Manufacturers, retailers and consumers — not to mention law enforcement agencies and prosecutors — are anxiously waiting for more clarity from the Texas government.

Context: Delta-8 is naturally occurring and extracted from hemp, which was legalized as part of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Legal hemp and products derived from hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive compound that gives people the euphoric high. Legislation that aimed to ban Delta-8 in Texas failed during the state's most recent legislative session. More than a dozen states have restricted its sale or use.

What's happening

Last fall, DSHS abruptly specified that Delta-8 is a Schedule I controlled substance, therefore, illegal in Texas.

In December, the Texas Supreme Court denied an emergency motion, essentially allowing Delta-8 to remain legal.

What they're saying

"It's a huge gray area," Rick Trojan III, a board member of the Hemp Industries Association, told the Texas Tribune last year.

"The whole thing is confusing for everyone involved. It sounds like DSHS doesn't even understand."

Our thought bubble: If the state legislature just legalized all THC, this legal quagmire would disappear, and Texas would have cannabis laws as progressive as — *checks notes* — Oklahoma.

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