Is Delta-8 THC Legal in Iowa?

By | Updated on April 11, 2023

Evidence Based 4

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Hemp-derived products are legal in Iowa as long as they’re not inhalable (vapes or flower). But at the same time, THC is on the state’s list of controlled substances, which should mean delta 8 is illegal. Here’s a closer look at delta-8 THC laws in Hawkeye State.


Delta-8 THC seems to be illegal in Iowa because all forms of THC are a controlled substance.

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Iowa Delta-8 THC Laws

The legality of delta-8 in Iowa is confusing. On one hand, Iowa considers all forms of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) illegal, schedule 1 controlled substances:

Tetrahydrocannabinols, meaning tetrahydrocannabinols naturally contained in a plant of the genus Cannabis (Cannabis plant) as well as synthetic equivalents of the substances contained in the Cannabis plant, or in the resinous extractives of such plant, and synthetic substances, derivatives, and their isomers with similar chemical structure and pharmacological activity to those substances contained in the plant…

Iowa Controlled Substances, Chapter 124

That should mean delta-8 THC is illegal as well. But on the other hand, hemp and hemp products are legal in Iowa. The state passed House File 2581 in June 2020, which amended the state’s Hemp Act and created new regulations for hemp products.

The law allows for “consumable hemp products:”

(1) A noncombustible form of hemp that may be digested, such as food; internally absorbed, such as chew or snuff; or absorbed through the skin, such as a topical application.

 (2) Hemp processed or otherwise manufactured, marketed, sold, or distributed as food, a food additive, a dietary supplement, or a drug

 “Consumable hemp product” does not include a hemp product if the intended use of the hemp product is introduction into the human body by any method of inhalation, as prohibited under3 section 204.14A.

House File 2581

That means consumable hemp products are legal as long as they meet some requirements:

  • The products have to be made in Iowa or imported from a state with similar hemp laws
  • The products must be registered with the state and meet new labeling and packaging requirements
  • Inhalable hemp products, including hemp flower and vapes, are banned

Since delta-8 THC is technically a consumable hemp product, it sounds like non-inhalable delta-8 products could be legal under this law.

But it’s not clear if this conflicts with the controlled substances laws. For now, our best guess is that delta-8 THC is fully illegal in Iowa.

What is Delta-8 THC?

Delta 8 is a form of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the intoxicating ingredient in marijuana. It’s similar to delta-9, the most common form of THC in cannabis.

Although delta-8 can get you high, cause relaxation, euphoria, and other effects, it’s weaker than delta-9 THC (1). Natural delta-8 levels in cannabis are low, so it’s usually made through a chemical process from CBD, the popular non-intoxicating cannabinoid. 

Why Delta-8 THC is Federally Legal

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp products on the federal level but also created a loophole that allows for hemp-derived delta-8 THC.

Since the bill defines hemp as cannabis with a maximum of 0.3% delta-9 THC and makes no mention of delta 8, hemp-derived delta-8 products are legal.

Delta-8 THC is typically made from CBD, the most abundant hemp cannabinoid. 

Other States Where Delta-8 THC is Illegal

Some states have chosen to ban or regulate delta-8 THC.

Delta-8 THC is currently illegal in 17 states: Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

The Future of Delta 8 in Iowa

Delta-8 THC appears to be illegal in Iowa. Although the laws are confusing, most online vendors will not ship to Iowa and there are few places selling it locally.

This is unlikely to change any time soon because Iowa has restrictive cannabis laws and doesn’t even have a full-fledged medical cannabis program. 

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