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Delta 8 is illegal in New York. It’s one of the few states that explicitly banned delta 8 THC products. But it may be regulated in the same way as adult-use cannabis in the future.
Here’s what you need to know about delta-8 laws in the Empire State.
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New York Delta-8 THC Laws
The New York State Department of Health released new regulations for hemp cannabinoid products in May 2021. Among them, the key change was banning hemp-derived cannabinoids made through isomerization:
All cannabinoid hemp processors shall…(11) not use synthetic cannabinoids, or Δ8-tetrahydrocannabinol or Δ10-tetrahydrocannabinol created through isomerization, in the extraction or manufacturing of any cannabinoid hemp products;Part 1005 of Title 10 (Health) of the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York
This means that hemp-derived delta-8 and delta-10 are effectively illegal in New York.
To give you a quick explanation, an isomer is a compound that has the same molecular formula as another compound but a different arrangement of atoms.
For example, non-intoxicating cannabidiol (CBD), the most abundant cannabinoid in hemp, is actually an isomer of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
That’s why a chemical isomerization process can turn CBD into different forms of THC, like delta-8, delta-9, and delta-10. This is precisely the process used to make delta-8 THC products sold on the market.
These regulations were not 100% official until the New York Cannabis Control Board (CCB) confirmed in November 2021 that delta-8 THC products are banned in the state.
What is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 is a form of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabis compound that gets you high. Most of the THC in cannabis is present in the delta-9 form, with only trace amounts of delta 8.
That’s why delta 8 is usually made through a chemical process from hemp-derived CBD. Delta-8 has the same intoxicating effects as delta-9 but is noticeably weaker (1).
Why Delta-8 THC is Federally Legal
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp products nationwide, defining hemp as cannabis with no greater than 0.3% of delta-9 THC. By this definition, hemp-derived delta-8 THC is perfectly legal.
As it happens, delta-8 THC is made through a straightforward chemical isomerization process from pure cannabidiol (CBD). Since that CBD comes from hemp, the finished delta-8 THC counts as a legal hemp product.
Other States Where Delta-8 THC is Illegal
Every state can regulate delta-8 THC in its own way.
Delta-8 THC is currently illegal in 14 states: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, New York, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, Utah, and Washington.
The Future of Delta 8 in New York
Delta-8 THC is illegal in New York but that’s likely to change in the future.
New York legalized recreational cannabis in 2021. And according to a November 3, 2021 meeting of the state’s Cannabis Control Board, delta-8 THC products “are better left to be regulated in the future Adult-Use program.”
That means the board is likely to regulate delta-8 THC in the same way as recreational cannabis once the adult-use cannabis system is fully operational in the coming years.
We’ll have to wait and see if that happens in 2022 or later.
Gleb is a freelance writer from Vancouver, Canada specializing in CBD and cannabis. He’s read thousands of studies on CBD and other supplements, helping him translate complex science into plain language. Gleb has tried and reviewed dozens of CBD brands and products, written third-party testing reports, and knows the CBD industry inside and out. When not writing, he likes to kickbox, travel, and tell everyone how awesome intermittent fasting is.