Delta-8 is a relatively new type of cannabinoid available in the Illinois marketplace. And although cannabis is legal in the state in certain forms, there exists some doubt as to Delta-8’s legality.
So is Delta-8 legal in Illinois? Yes and no. The true answer depends on the specific circumstances. In any case, consumers who take or are interested in taking Delta-8 should be aware of the current legal state of affairs of this cannabinoid to avoid potential criminal liability.
What Is Delta-8?
Delta-8 is a type of cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. Although it occurs naturally in many forms of cannabis, it does so only at very low levels — so low that it is currently not economically viable for producers to harvest directly from plants.
For that reason, they must “manufacture” the cannabinoid, typically through a process of isomerization. During that process, cannabis obtained from hemp crops is transformed into Delta-8 at the molecular level.
Delta-8 is popular in the cannabis marketplace because of its subtle effects. It produces a high that is similar to but less intense than the high produced by standard marijuana products.
Is Delta-8 Marijuana?
Delta-8 is not marijuana. However, the cannabinoid occurs naturally in marijuana flowers, which primarily contain Delta-9. When consumers use marijuana, it is Delta-9 that gives them the effects they seek.
Is Delta-8 Legal in Illinois?
It depends. According to the state of Illinois, adults over the age of 21 can legally possess and consume Delta-8 in properly designated areas, as they can with marijuana.
However, there is some debate as to the manufacture of Delta-8. Federally speaking, hemp is legal, as are its derivatives. As a result, some argue that Delta-8 is legal, given that it is a derivative of hemp. However, some at the federal level have stated that Delta-8 is illegal under most circumstances.
For example, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) unequivocally states that Delta-8 is not legal at the federal level unless it is obtained naturally and not through chemical processes.
However, it must be noted that federal bans and laws against cannabis products have taken a back seat to state authorization or have been overturned altogether. For instance, the 2018 Farm Bill explicitly legalized hemp cannabis.
And as far as marijuana is concerned, it is still federally illegal. However, the feds are allowing states to develop recreational and medicinal marijuana markets when states pass laws legalizing the psychoactive plant. Thus, although the DEA and others at the federal level consider Delta-8 to be illegal, they are not currently taking action against consumers, producers, or sellers.
At the state level, there are those who believe that Delta-8 is illegal within Illinois’ boundaries, most notably the Illinois Department of Agriculture. The agency has stated that neither hemp nor hemp derivatives may be concentrated to produce Delta-8. However, there is debate as to the validity of the agency’s position on the cannabinoid.
Despite any debates over its legality, Delta-8 is present and accounted for in the large and growing cannabis market in Illinois. You can legally obtain it in multiple forms at dispensaries throughout the state. Some of the forms in which it is available include:
Because it is not considered medicinal, consumers can obtain Delta-8 products without a medical marijuana card.
You can consume Delta-8 wherever you can consume marijuana. Under Illinois law, marijuana (and Delta-8) can be consumed at your home as long as it is out of public view. You are also permitted to consume Delta-8 on someone else’s property when out of public view if the property owner has given you permission.
However, you cannot consume Delta-8 in public places, such as at the beach, in parks, or while walking down the street. Additionally, it is against the law to consume Delta-8 in proximity to individuals under the age of 21 and while you are inside a motor vehicle.
Previously, you could purchase Delta-8 in several ways, including online, at retail shops, and in dispensaries. However, as of now, Delta-8 can only be purchased legally at registered and qualified dispensaries. Although you may see it available at non-dispensary brick-and-mortar stores and online, it is only legal when bought at dispensaries.
As cannabis laws continue to evolve, consumers must stay abreast of the current state of legalization of the products they consume, such as Delta-8. If you find yourself in trouble because you’ve been accused of breaking Delta-8 or other cannabis regulations, reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Contact the Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC for a free consultation today.