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What is Delta 8 and is it Legal in Houston?

Delta 8

As the cannabis industry becomes more mainstream and longtime marijuana users can enjoy legally partaking in marijuana consumption in various parts of the country, the available products have become more varied. One such cannabis product is called Delta-8, a popular cannabis derivative sold in vape cartridges, tinctures, and candy. Delta 8 THC is one of the most talked-about cannabinoids currently on the market, with some calling it “the new THC.” Some say it constitutes the middle ground between federally legal hemp and federally illegal marijuana. It is the fastest-growing product in the hemp industry.

What is Delta 8?

Cannabis plants are classified as either marijuana or hemp, depending on their level of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Hemp contains less than 0.3% THC and marijuana contains more than 0.3% THC. In 2018, hemp production was legalized under the federal Farm Bill, but marijuana remains a federally illegal controlled substance. In 2019, Texas passed House Bill 1325, which legalized growing hemp here at the concentration mentioned above.

Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol or Delta 8 is a substance found naturally occurring in hemp and cannabis in low quantities. Delta 8 is not naturally produced in abundant quantities in hemp plants, though, requiring manufacturers to convert CBD into Delta-8 (which some consider synthetic and thus illegal). Since it is a hemp byproduct, those in the industry and consumers assumed it would fall under the federal Farm Bill which legalized hemp. It does, importantly, have less than 0.3% THC, which would seem to make it legal also under Texas’s 2019 House Bill 1325.

Delta 8 products have not been evaluated or approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safe use. The FDA claims it has received adverse event reports and that the nation’s poison control center has also received relevant contacts regarding its safety as well.

Is Delta 8 Legal in Texas?

Unlike the still heavily regulated THC, Delta 8 is legal to use in most states because it’s extracted from hemp-derived CBD, which is legal to farm across the United States. Despite this, the product remains in legal flux because the Agriculture and Nutrition Improvement Act of 2018 (the federal “Farm Bill”) does not explicitly mention Delta 8.

Delta 8 was stealth banned last January by the Texas government without informing consumers or those involved in the cannabis industry. It was quietly declared to be a Schedule I Controlled Substance without a public hearing or information provided in advance about the potential change in its status. A Travis County judge subsequently blocked the State of Texas from classifying Delta-8 as a controlled substance. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) requested that the Texas Supreme Court hear the case and that request was denied. A final trial on the matter is set for this month in Hometown Hero vs DSHS. So far, the Texas Department of Public Safety, our state’s law enforcement agency, has yet to make one arrest. So, for now, Delta-8 is legal in Texas, but be sure to watch court proceedings this month to see how the appellate decision plays out.

Texas Marijuana Laws

The possession, sale, and manufacture of marijuana are all regulated by both state and federal law. Texas has a variety of laws on the books to regulate marijuana and those laws are categorized by offenses relating to possession, sale, cultivation, paraphernalia, hash and concentrates, and a few other types. The laws assess penalties based on the amount of the drug involved. Some offenses are misdemeanors that come with no jail time or short incarceration terms and small fines and some offenses are felonies that can leave someone spending their entire life in prison and paying very large fines. Advocacy group NORML has a great explanation page on its website explaining all of the various levels and what potential incarceration and fines may be imposed.

The bottom line is that it is a crime to possess or cultivate any amount of marijuana in Texas and it is illegal to sell marijuana or possess marijuana with the intent to sell it. Penalties vary according to the amount involved and increase for offenses committed in drug-free zones (which include schools, playgrounds, and youth centers). It is also illegal to manufacture, sell, or use drug paraphernalia, or possess it with the intent to sell it. In addition, it is a crime to drive under the influence of marijuana in Texas under the Texas Health and Safety Code, Title 6, Subtitle C, Chapter 481.

Pearland, Texas Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you have been charged with a marijuana-related criminal offense, contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys. While the penalties and consequences of a marijuana charge are detailed specifically in the applicable statutes, the law can change at any time – especially as mentioned above related to Delta-8. Only a local Pearland, Texas criminal defense attorney will know how cases like yours tend to be handled by prosecutors and judges in your area. Call us today at 281-971-3200.

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