The US cannabis industry is booming, with federal and state governments benefiting from cannabis taxes. However, the legality of cannabis in the US remains dicey, with stark contrasts between Federal and state laws. Moreover, volatile cannabis laws within individual states make it challenging for well-intentioned cannabis brands, vendors, and consumers to know where to toe the line regarding psychoactive cannabis compounds.
Texas is among the US states grappling with streamlining its cannabis laws, and the bone of contention in the state is delta-9 THC. So, is delta-9 THC legal in Texas? Read more on delta 9 legality in Texas here
What Is Delta-9 THC?
According to one literature review, cannabis is a complex plant containing approximately 400 phytochemicals, including 60 identified cannabinoids like delta-9 THC. Cannabinoids are the compounds that induce cannabis’ psychoactive effects and purported therapeutic.
However, while some naturally-occurring cannabinoids are psychoactive, others lack psychoactive properties. Second, the cannabis plant occurs in two primary subspecies, hemp and marijuana; specific cannabinoids occur in different concentrations in each cannabis subspecies.
Delta-9 THC is the primary psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant and causes the “high” effect synonymous with cannabis consumption. Although delta-9 occurs naturally in hemp and marijuana subspecies, it is dominant in marijuana, with some weed strains having THC concentrations above 30%.
Marijuana’s high THC concentration increases its potential for abuse, and as such, it is a controlled substance federally illegal under the Controlled Substances Act. In contrast, the hemp subspecies has significantly low delta-9 concentrations, averaging below 0.3% THC.
While the Controlled Substances Act criminalizes marijuana consumption and possession at a federal level, the 2018 Farm Bill legalizes hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill makes it federally legal to cultivate, manufacture, and consume hemp products with a THC content not exceeding 0.3%. Therefore, delta-9 THC’s legality on a federal level comes down to the THC source and concentration.
Is Delta-9 THC Federally Legal In Texas
The Controlled Substances Act and the 2018 Farm Bill govern cannabis consumption on a federal scale. However, state governments have the last say on the legality of medical and recreational marijuana within their jurisdictions. Therefore, delta-9 possession and consumption are legal in some US states but illegal in others.
So, where do the Lone Star State laws stand regarding delta-9 THC legality? The answer isn’t as straightforward and depends on some ground rules.
Texas is among the more conservative US states, and recreational marijuana use is illegal in the state. However, the Lone Star State is not immune to progressive cannabis consumption laws.
For starters, Texas passed the Compassionate-Use Act in 2015, allowing intractable epilepsy patients within its jurisdiction legal access to low-THC cannabis products. The Act defines low-dose THC products as products with a THC content not exceeding 0.5% THC.
Moreover, the Texas House of Representatives passed a bill in 2019 and subsequently, in 2021, expanding the health condition covered under the Compassionate Act Program. Therefore, a board-certified health specialist in Texas can prescribe low-dose THC cannabis to patients diagnosed with terminal cancer, multiple sclerosis, ALS, spasticity, and neurodegenerative diseases. However, the low-THC products approved for prescription under the Compassionate-use program are only available as oils and aerosols, meaning popular consumable forms like edibles and smokables are unavailable under the program.
Besides the Compassionate-use Act, the Texas House of Representatives passed House Bill 1325 to streamline cannabis laws within the state with the 2018 Farm Bill federal law. House Bill 1325, promulgated in 2019, distinguishes between hemp and marijuana and legalizes hemp cultivation, harvesting, and transportation within Texas.
Moreover, the bill permits hemp marketing and use in producing natural, CBD-based health products, including products with a delta-9 content not exceeding 0.3%. Therefore, Texas House of Representatives members inadvertently legalized compliant delta-9 THC products by passing House Bill 1325, making hemp-derived delta-9 products with a THC content below 0.3% legal.
While the bill makes more consumable hemp-derived THC products like edibles and vapes available, the legality of smokable hemp products remains unclear. Only adults above 18 years old can legally consume compliant delta-9 THC products.
Legal Consequences For Possessing Non-Compliant Delta-9 THC (Marijuana) In Texas
A recent University of Texas opinion poll concluded that sentiments on both sides of the political divide are shifting in favor of cannabis legalization. Moreover, the poll showed that most adult Texans strongly support milder sentences like a citation and a fine for marijuana possession.
Although hemp-derived, compliant delta-9 THC is legal in Texas, recreational marijuana use remains illegal in the Lone Star State, and the pro-THC sentiments above, although popular, are not law. Therefore, below are the legal ramifications of possessing, distributing, and consuming non-compliant delta-9 In Texas.
- Possession of no more than 2ounces of marijuana (non-compliant delta-9) is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not exceeding $2000 and a 180-day prison sentence.
- Possessing 2-4 ounces of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine not exceeding $4000 and a one-year sentence.
Can You Buy Delta-9 Online In Texas
CBD health products with a delta-9 THC content below 0.3% are available online in Texas. The products are available in various consumable forms, including edibles, vapes, tinctures, oils, and transdermal products.
However, the hemp industry in the state remains highly unregulated; therefore, ensure you exclusively purchase lab-tested delta-9 products. On the other hand, delta-9 products under the Compassionate-use program are available via the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Recreational consumption of marijuana and hemp-derived delta-9 THC with a THC content exceeding 0.3% is punishable under Texas laws. However, delta-9 laws in the state are constantly evolving, so stay up to date with the state’s delta-9 laws to reap potential benefits and avoid legal ramifications.