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North Dakota made delta-8 illegal in April 2021. The state legislature amended North Dakota’s hemp and cannabis laws to close the loophole that allows for hemp-derived delta 8. Here’s how it works.
Delta-8 THC is illegal in North Dakota because it’s one of few states to amend its hemp laws to close the delta 8 loophole.
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North Dakota Delta-8 Laws
North Dakota’s legislature amended the state’s hemp bill (HB 1045) in April 2021. The amendments:
- Added delta-8 THC to the definition of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Previously, only delta-9 THC was included.
- Redefined hemp by its total THC content, rather than delta-9 THC specifically. This means any hemp products with over 0.3% of ANY type of THC is illegal.
As a result, delta-8 THC products are now illegal in the state. This makes it different from South Dakota, where delta-8 THC is legal.
What Is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC or delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol is a form of THC. THC is the compound that gets you high when you use cannabis. Many people know delta-9-THC, which is what we mean when we say “THC.”
Delta-8 has similar effects to delta-9 THC. For example, you may have increased appetite, sedation, euphoria, red eyes, and pain relief.
However, early research suggests that delta-8 THC is only around 66% as potent as delta-9 THC (1). Therefore, delta-8 is less likely to cause side effects.
Why the Federal Government Considers Delta-8 THC Legal
The federal government considers delta-9 THC and marijuana controlled Schedule 1 substances. However, it doesn’t include delta-8 THC in this list, making it legal under federal law.
Cannabis plants naturally produce some amounts of delta-8 THC. The amounts are in traces that aren’t sufficient to make products. That’s why most vendors get delta-8 THC from hemp-derived CBD via a chemical conversion process.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp across the United States. Therefore, federal law legalizes hemp-derived delta-8 THC.
Additionally, delta-8 THC isn’t considered a synthetic cannabinoid because it’s made from a natural source. Synthetic cannabinoids are banned under the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012.
Other States Where Delta-8 THC Is Illegal
Delta-8 THC is currently illegal in 18 states: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.
Some other states are also considering regulating or banning delta-8 THC.
The Future of Delta-8 THC in North Dakota
For now, delta-8 is illegal in North Dakota. But that could change. One positive development is that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) confirmed that hemp-derived delta-8-THC is legal.
This sends a positive message to state governments and state lawmakers could take it into consideration when making future changes to their delta-8 THC laws.
It’s also possible that North Dakota could follow the steps of its southern neighbor and pass its own recreational marijuana amendment. But until that happens, delta-8 is likely to stay illegal in the state.
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.