Delta-8-THC was legalized as part of the federal hemp bill, but each state has a unique stance on hemp and all of its natural cannabinoids. Some states, like Illinois, have a pretty lax stance on both cannabis and hemp. Is Delta-8-THC legal in Illinois, too?
Fortunately so. Illinois has updated state law to remove the parameters that once prevented access to the mildly psychoactive cannabinoid. Now, Delta-8-THC may be easily accessible in the state.
Here’s what you need to know before you buy Delta-8 in Illinois.
Disclaimer: We’re always working to stay informed on the latest Delta-8 laws and research. However, state laws are subject to change and we advise that you do your own research to verify the information you find in this article. This is not intended as legal advice.
Table of Contents
Delta-8-THC and Federal Laws
Illinois Delta-8-THC Laws
Is Delta-8 a Controlled Substance in Illinois?
Delta-8-THC Possession Limits in Illinois
Is Delta-9-THC Legal in Illinois?
Where to Buy Delta-8 in Illinois
Do You Have to Be 21 to Buy Delta-8?
Is Delta-8 Legal in All 50 States?
Delta 8's federal status is confusing at first glance. Technically, Delta-8-THC has been listed as a Schedule I substance alongside Delta-9-THC for well over a decade.
More recently, however, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was signed into law. Under this legislation, hemp containing less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC became legal, as did any cannabinoids, extracts, or isomers derived from the legal hemp material.
In fact, Section 12619b of the 2018 Hemp Farming Act specifically addresses tetrahydrocannabinols in hemp. By extension of this new law, Delta-8-THC was legal, or so it seemed.
Here's the catch:
Most of the legal Delta-8 products on the market are made by "synthesizing" CBD. While federal hemp legislation currently allows the production and sale of naturally derived cannabinoids, it specifically prohibits all synthesized cannabinoids.
So where does this put Delta-8-THC, considering it is both a naturally occurring cannabinoid and can be synthesized from legal CBD?
To understand, you need to take a look at the method used to turn CBD into Delta 8, which is vastly different from the complex process that is generally used to create synthetic cannabinoids.
The conversion process between CBD and Delta 8 relies on a transfer of isomers, a process called isomerization, between the two cannabinoids. This means that Delta-8-THC technically exists as a hemp "isomer," which is covered by hemp's legal definition according to the 2018 law.
In other words, Delta-8 is made from hemp and considered to be a naturally occurring part of the hemp plant.
The types of cannabinoids that the DEA typically carve out as “synthetic” are liquid agents that are frequently applied to plant material, like K2 and Spice. Legal forms of synthetic cannabinoids, such as Marinol, also exist as prescription pharmaceuticals. Unlike Delta-8-THC, these substances are purely synthetic and made in a lab without the use of plant material.
Of course, laws regarding cannabinoids are still subject to change as hemp regulations are ironed out by both the DEA and FDA. For now, Delta 8 maintains a federally legal status, but state laws still may pose limitations on Delta-8-THC access.
Illinois matched other states in the area (like Missouri, Indiana, and Tennessee) passed hemp legislation to align the state with federal regulations after the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. In this new legislation, Illinois legalizes hemp and all hemp derivatives (like CBD), whether living or not, so long as the Delta-9-THC concentration does not exceed 0.3%.
While the state of Illinois fails to go into detail about Delta-8 specifically, the legislation clarifies that Illinois is fully aligned with federal hemp laws. It also specifically makes an exception for hemp in the Cannabis Control Act. According to federal law (and therefore Illinois state law) Delta-8 is legal.
Here are some highlights from Illinois’ hemp legislation:
(505 ILCS 89/5)
“Industrial Hemp” means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis that has been cultivated under a license issued under the Act or is otherwise lawfully present in this State, and includes any intermediate or finished product made or derived from industrial hemp.
“THC” means delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol.
(505 ILCS 89/20)
Sec. 20. Hemp products. Nothing in this Act shall alter the legality of hemp or hemp products that are presently legal to possess or own.
(505 ILCS 89/25)
Sec. 25. Violation of federal law. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize any person to violate federal rules, regulations, or laws. If any part of this Act conflicts with a provision of the federal laws regarding industrial hemp, the federal provisions shall control to the extent of the conflict.
(Source: P.A. 100-1091, eff. 8-26-18.)
The Cannabis Control Act is amended by changing Sections 3 and 8 as follows:
(720 ILCS 550/3) (from Ch. 56 1/2, par. 703)
Sec. 3. As used in this Act, unless the context otherwise requires:
(a) “Cannabis” includes marihuana, hashish and other substances which are identified as including any parts of the plant Cannabis Sativa, whether growing or not; the seeds thereof, the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds, or resin, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and all other cannabinol derivatives, including its naturally occurring or synthetically produced ingredients, whether produced directly or indirectly by extraction, or independently by means of chemical synthesis or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis; but shall not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination. “Cannabis” does not include industrial hemp as defined and authorized under the Industrial Hemp Act.
Illinois legalized hemp and all natural hemp material, including cannabinoids, without parameters. They also added the following phrase to the Cannabis Control Act: “Cannabis” does not include industrial hemp as defined and authorized under the Industrial Hemp Act.
Therefore, Delta-8-THC derived from legal hemp material is not considered a controlled substance in Illinois.
Illinois law does not specifically mention Delta-8 or apply any possession limits to legal hemp material. There are no possession limits for Delta-8-THC in Illinois.
Still, Delta-8 could be easily confused for Delta-9 THC by authorities without proper documentation and lab testing.
Basic lab testing checks only for tetrahydrocannabinol, meaning that extensive lab tests are needed to differentiate between Delta-8 content and Delta-9 content when proof of legal possession is needed.
Illinois legalized cannabis for medicinal use with the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. Later, Illinois became the first state to legalize cannabis through legislation rather than a ballot initiative. Governor J. B. Pritzker signed Amendment 2 into law in 2019, and legal recreational cannabis sales began on January 1, 2020.
According to state hemp laws, legal hemp products can be sold in the state so long as it is produced by a licensed grower and in accordance with the state’s USDA hemp plan. That means you’re in luck if you’re looking to buy Delta-8-THC in Illinois.
Illinois has a semi-regulated hemp market on it’s own, and also happens to be neighboring Kentucky, where Delta-8 is legal and hemp production is more widespread than in many other states.
Still, 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 Bloom Society, 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.
There are no state regulations that place age restriction on the purchase of hemp-derived products. Retailers have the right to determine age limits for the purchase of Delta-8 products, but many retailers require consumers to be at least 21 years of age.
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 is legal in Illinois according to state law, but you should read more about Delta-8 laws by state to determine the legality in other areas.
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