February 15, 2021 5 min read

Delta-8-THC, which is being made from hemp-derived compounds, is sweeping the nation thanks to a variety of potential benefits. The legality of the mildly psychoactive cannabinoid isn't so simple. Is Delta-8-THC legal in California? And if it is, where can you buy it?

Thanks to updates to the state's list of controlled substances, Delta-8 appears to be legal. You can get it online, but you need to ensure that it meets the legal requirements laid out by the state.

Here's what you need to know:

Table of Contents
Delta-8-THC and Federal Laws
California Delta-8-THC Laws
Is Delta-8 a Controlled Substance in California?
Delta-8-THC Possession Limits in California
Is Delta-9-THC Legal in California?
Where to Buy Delta-8 in California
Is Delta-8 Legal in All 50 States?

Key Takeaways

  • Delta-8 is a cannabinoid derived from legal hemp, and is therefore legal according to federal legislation.
  • California has legalized hemp and CBD in the state, and also removed hemp-derived products from it's list of Controlled Substances.
  • To ensure that the Delta-8 you purchase is legal, you have to ensure that it is made from legal hemp by a licensed grower.
  • You generally need to be at least 21 years old to purchase Delta-8-THC products made from hemp. You can find it at a limited number of stores in California, but you can also buy legal Delta-8 online and have it shipped directly to your door.

California Delta 8 THC Laws

California is well known for being one of the first states to legalize cannabis both for recreational and medicinal use. However, the state's CBD laws are some of the stricter state laws in the nation, and figuring out where Delta-8-THC comes into play can be confusing.

Many people expected California to follow in the footsteps of neighboring states Nevada and Arizona to tighten regulations surrounding Delta-8. Luckily, California specifically updated their legislation to clarify hemp products as an exception to the Controlled Substances list. Because of this, Delta-8 is presumed to be openly legal in California, given that it is created from legal CBD.

Here are some highlights from the relevant text:


  1. Definitions.

(a) For purposes of this division, the following terms have the following meanings:

(6) “Industrial hemp” or “Hemp” means an agricultural product, whether growing or not, that is limited to types of the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds of the plant and all derivatives, extracts, the resin extracted from any part of the plant, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of no more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.

(9) “THC” means delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol.


CHAPTER 1. General Provisions and Definitions [11000 – 11033]

  1. “Cannabis” means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin. It does not include either of the following:

(a) Industrial hemp, as defined in Section 11018.5.

(b) The weight of any other ingredient combined with cannabis to prepare topical or oral administrations, food, drink, or other product.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 27, Sec. 115. (SB 94) Effective June 27, 2017. Note: This section was amended on Nov. 8, 2016, by initiative Prop. 64.)

11018.5. (a) “Industrial hemp” means a crop that is limited to types of the plant Cannabis sativa L. having no more than three-tenths of 1 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contained in the dried flowering tops, whether growing or not; the seeds of the plant; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin produced therefrom.

(b) Industrial hemp shall not be subject to the provisions of this division or of Division 10 (commencing with Section 26000) of the Business and Professions Code, but instead shall be regulated by the Department of Food and Agriculture in accordance with the provisions of Division 24 (commencing with Section 81000) of the Food and Agricultural Code, inclusive.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 986, Sec. 8. (SB 1409) Effective January 1, 2019. Note: This section was amended on Nov. 8, 2016, by initiative Prop. 64.)

Two federally legal hemp plants, a rich source of cannabinoid materials used to make Delta-8. Is Delta-8 a Controlled Substance in California?

Delta-8 is not listed as a controlled substance in California. In fact, the state’s legislation specifically removes hemp-derived products from it’s list of Controlled Substances, meaning that there are no repercussions for possession of legal Delta-8THC products.

Delta 8 THC Possession Limits in California

There are no Delta-8-THC limits defined by California legislation. Similarly, there are no possession limits placed on hemp products in general. Possession limits only apply to Delta-9-THC cannabis products, specifically those purchased at state licensed dispensaries.

Is Cannabis (Delta 9 THC) Legal in California?

California was the very first U.S. state to legalize cannabis for medical use via Proposition 215, which passed in 1996. In 2016 the state finally passed Proposition 64 to officially legalize cannabis for recreational use for consumers over the age of 21. Therefore, Delta-9-THC is completely legal in California for adult use.

Where to Buy Delta 8 in California?

Delta-8 vaporizers like these are among the most popular formulas found in areas where Delta-8 is legal

California state laws are hazy when it comes to where and how hemp products can be sold. Still, you likely will find hemp-derived Delta-8 products in stores across the state.

It’s advisable to proceed with caution when choosing a Delta-8 distributor. While you can likely find various hemp products in local stores, there may be benefits to buying Delta-8 online. One reason is that you can buy directly from a brand or manufacturer, instead of purchasing through a third-party vendor that may not fully understand Delta-8 effects and uses or the laws surrounding Delta-8 products.

At Vida Optima, our Delta-8-THC products comply with all parameters of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. We can also help answer questions about Delta-8 before you buy, or you can read our “What is Delta-8-THC?” guide to learn everything you need to know.

Is Delta 8 Legal in All 50 States?

Delta-8-THC is currently federally legal under the context of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, but each state has the right to determine their own stance on tetrahydrocannabinols derived from hemp. Delta-8-THC seems to be legal in California according to state law, but you should read more about Delta-8 laws by state to determine the legality in other areas.


  1. “H.R.5485 - Hemp Farming Act of 2018” https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/5485
  2. “Drug Fact Sheet: K2/Spice” https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/K2-spice-2020.pdf
  3. “MARINOL” https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2006/018651s025s026lbl.pdf
  4. “CALIFORNIA INDUSTRIAL HEMP LAW AND REGULATIONS” https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/industrialhemp/docs/CaliforniaIndustrialHempLawandRegulations.pdf
  5. “HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE - HSC. DIVISION 10. UNIFORM CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ACT [11000 - 11651]” http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=HSC&division=10.&title=&part=&chapter=1.&article=
  6. “California Proposition 215, the Medical Marijuana Initiative (1996)” https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_215,_the_Medical_Marijuana_Initiative_(1996)
  7. “The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Proposition 64” https://post.ca.gov/proposition-64-the-control-regulate-and-tax-adult-use-of-marijuana-act#:~:text=On%20November%208%2C%202016%2C%20the,Marijuana%20Act%20(Prop%2064).&text=Prop%2064%20permits%20adults%2021,of%20marijuana%20for%20recreational%20use.

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