Is Delta-9 THC Legal? Learn the Rules for Your State

Dec 7, 2022

Is Delta-9 THC Legal? Learn the Rules for Your State

If you are shopping for THC gummies, you have probably come across the terms Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC, and maybe even Delta-10 THC. What is the difference between these forms of THC? And which of them (if any?) are legal in your state?

All of these forms of THC contain the same elements in the same quantities: There are 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms in every THC molecule.

Delta-8 THC is hemp-derived THC. Though Delta-8 is a natural compound, it exists within raw cannabis at very low levels. For this reason, it is extracted from CBD and amplified in a laboratory setting to a concentration that is experiential. Fun fact? It’s called Delta-8 because its double bond is on its 8th carbon chain. Go, impress friends at your next dinner party. But what is Delta-9 THC? Does the logic follow the same formula?

Delta-9 THC is what is typically known as simply THC! This naturally-occurring form of THC does have a double bond on its 9th carbon chain. It is the most common cannabinoid in cannabis, and is known for its mind-altering effects. But is Delta 9 THC legal?

Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol Legal Limit

Understanding Delta-9 THC legality can be a bit complicated. Put very simply, some forms of Delta 9 THC are federally legal, and some are not. Confused yet? When the cannabis plant grows naturally, it contains a federally illegal amount of Delta 9 THC. States that have medical or recreational cannabis laws have legalized higher concentrations of this compound, but a large portion of the country still has no option for cannabis legalization and therefore defer to the Federal cannabis classification as a Schedule 1 substance.

However, hemp plants (cannabis that has been specifically grown for low levels of Delta9 THC) that contain less than 0.3% THC were legalized nationwide in the 2018 Farm Bill. So you could say that Delta-9 THC is legal nationwide, as long as it composes 0.3% or less of the product sold. The federal legal limit of THC in hemp is 0.3%. Now, if you take raw hemp flower and ingest it, it doesn’t produce a psychoactive state. But, much like Delta 8, the small amount of Delta 9 can be extracted from CBD and amplified into a chemically identical version of the Delta 9 found in raw cannabis. In short, if it’s derived from hemp and still falls under the legal limit for the non-hemp derived Delta 9 THC included, it’s 100% federally legal. 

So, let’s start by taking a look at what the current status is for non-hemp derived Delta 9 THC in America. 

In what States is Delta-9 Legal?

Where is Delta-9 THC legal? If you live in a state that has legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana, then raw Delta-9 THC is legal in your state, as long as you qualify for its use.

Medical Delta-9 Legal States

The majority of the U.S. States have passed laws that allow for medical use of marijuana. Some states allow for self-referral while most require a doctor’s recommendation or prescription. Some states require particular diagnosed conditions in order to qualify, while others are more flexible. 

States that have implemented medical cannabis programs include:

Alaska Maine North Dakota
Arizona Maryland Ohio
Arkansas Massachusetts Oklahoma
California Michigan Oregon
Colorado Minnesota Pennsylvania
Connecticut Mississippi Rhode Island
Delaware Missouri South Carolina
District of Columbia Montana Texas
Florida Nevada Utah
Hawaii New Hampshire Vermont
Illinois New Jersey Virginia
Kansas New Mexico Washington
Louisiana New York West Virginia

Is your state on the list? Make sure to look into the requirements and restrictions of your medical program and see if you qualify!

Recreational Raw Delta-9 Legal States

Some of the above states, in addition to allowing for the use of non hemp-derived Delta-9 THC for qualifying medical conditions, have also allowed for the legal recreational use of raw cannabis as of this writing

States that have fully legalized cannabis (Delta-9 THC) for adult use are:

Alaska Massachusetts Oregon
Arizona Michigan Rhode Island
California Montana Vermont
Colorado Nevada Virginia
Connecticut New Jersey Washington
Illinois New Mexico  
Maine New York  


In these states you can use non-hemp derived Delta-9 cartridges legally, non hemp-derived Delta-9 edibles legally, smoke raw flower, or partake in any other administration method you choose, as long as you are above legal age (typically 21). 

Most of these states do require you to purchase your cannabis from a licensed dispensary.

Decriminalized Raw Cannabis States

There are also some states in which non hemp-derived Delta-9 THC is not technically legal, but the consequences for possessing or using it have been greatly reduced or eliminated. This is called decriminalization. 

The following states have decriminalized non hemp-derived Delta-9 THC:

Delaware Nebraska
Maryland New Hampshire
Minnesota North Dakota
Mississippi North Carolina
Missouri Ohio

All of these states, except for Nebraska and North Carolina, also allow medical cannabis.

Is Delta-9 Legal in Texas?

It depends. Recreational cannabis use is still illegal in Texas, and the possession and use of edibles in particular is more severely punished than having a cart, buds, or any other form of the plant. 

Low-dose non hemp-derived Delta-9 THC is only legal for very specific medical uses. The Texas medical marijuana program allows patients with particular conditions to access cannabis through their Compassionate Use Program (CUP).

Despite this, hemp-derived Delta 9 products like ours are 100% legal in Texas and are available for purchase in traditional smoke shops.

A bowl of green gummy bears is shown with cannabis flower. Are Delta-9 THC gummies legal?

Is Delta-9 Legal in North Carolina?

It depends. Non hemp-derived Delta-9 THC is illegal in North Carolina, but its use and possession have been decriminalized. 

The maximum fine for possessing less than half an ounce of cannabis in North Carolina is $200. However, quantities of cannabis over 1.5 ounces still carry a felony charge.

Despite this, hemp-derived Delta 9 products like ours are 100% legal in North Carolina and are available for purchase in traditional smoke shops.

Is Delta-9 Legal in Tennessee?

It depends. Despite strict laws prohibiting the use of raw cannabis, hemp products, CBD oil, and other hemp-derived forms of THC are 100%legal in Tennessee.

Is Delta-9 Legal in Florida?

It depends. Recreational use of raw THC is illegal in Florida. But Florida offers a medical marijuana program that is similar to the one in Texas, although registered physicians may prescribe one of three types of cannabis: smokable flower, low-THC cannabis, or high-THC cannabis. 

Despite this, hemp-derived Delta 9 products like ours are 100% legal in Florida and are available for purchase in traditional smoke shops.

How is Delta-9 THC Legal in Different States Even Though Hemp-Derived Delta-9 THC is Federally Legal?

In states where the recreational use of cannabis has been legalized, Delta-9 THC in most forms is fully legal for adult use. Oddly enough, a number of states that have legalized full recreational cannabis use have outlawed the sale and consumption of hemp-derived Delta-9 THC.

In states where the law allows for the medical use of cannabis, non hemp-derived Delta-9 THC is legal with a prescription as long as you adhere to the limits of the program. 

It is important to remember that state laws supersede the federal regulation, so when in doubt, follow your state’s guidelines.

Final Thoughts on Delta-9 THC Legality

We get it. This whole THC legality thing can be extremely confusing. The raw vs hemp derived debate is one that will unfortunately continue until raw cannabis is legalized in every state. We know that this can prove to be a real head scratcher, but it’s important to remember why the debate exists.

Why is Delta-9 THC legal? Studies have suggested that it offers many medical benefits and relief from chronic conditions, and its recreational use has shown to be virtually harm-free when used responsibly by adults.

If you are interested in the benefits of THC, but legal limits of Delta-9 THC do not allow you to buy raw cannabis in your state, Delta-8 THC or hemp derived Delta-9 THC may be an option for you!

And make sure to purchase your THC products from a safe and trusted source like PharmaCBD. We offer a wide variety of Delta-8 THC gummy, cartridge, flower, and extract options for your benefit and enjoyment. Shop now!