February 19, 2021 6 min read

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, and subsequently Delta-8-THC, on a federal scale, but not every state agrees. Is Delta-8-THC legal in Iowa now that the state has finally legalized hemp as an agricultural commodity?

Not quite. Although Iowa has finally updated their hemp legislation to legalize hemp (and even CBD!), they still have restrictions on tetrahydrocannabinols. Here’s what you need to know about Iowa Delta-8-THC laws:

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
Iowa Delta-8-THC Laws
Is Delta-8 a Controlled Substance in Iowa?
Delta-8-THC Possession Limits in Iowa
Is Delta-9-THC Legal in Iowa?
Where to Buy Delta-8 in Iowa
Is Delta-8 Legal in All 50 States?
Resources

Key Takeaways

  • Delta-8 is a cannabinoid derived from legal hemp, and is therefore legal according to federal legislation.
  • Iowa prohibits the sale and possession of all tetrahydrocannabinols, except for naturally occurring THC in concentrations lower than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.
  • Iowa laws prohibit the sale of Delta-8 within the state, so Delta-8-THC is not easily accessible.
  • In legal areas, many people buy Delta-8-THC products made from hemp online.

Delta 8 THC and Federal Laws

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.

A close up of hemp flowers, the primary source of legal Delta-8-THC products.

Iowa Delta 8 THC Laws

Iowa was late to join the hemp game, and the state’s USDA hemp plan was not passed until 2020. Although hemp and hemp derivatives were still illegal in the state until this point, the state’s Attorney General released a clarifying statement in May of 2020 to acknowledge CBD’s legality under the requirements laid out by the state’s new hemp plan.

In the updated legislation, Iowa defines hemp using a definition similar to the one used by federal legislation. Hemp and most hemp derived cannabinoids are now legal in the state, but the state unfortunately maintains a ban on tetrahydrocannabinols derived from cannabis in concentrations exceeding 0.3%.

This blanket statement includes delta-8-THC, so Delta-8 is still illegal in the state of Iowa. While it is one of only a few, Iowa isn’t the only state that has prohibited Delta-8 (see Colorado, Nevada, Rhode Island). Still, many of Iowa’s neighboring states do allow the sale and possession of Delta-8, including Illinois, Missouri, and Nebraska.

Here are some highlights from Iowa state law:

CHAPTER 96 - HEMP

 

21—96.1(204) Definitions

“Hemp” means:

  1. The plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof, and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis when tested using postdecarboxylation or other similarly reliable methods.
  2. A plant of the genus Cannabis other than Cannabis sativa L., with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis when tested using postdecarboxylation or other similarly reliable methods, but only to the extent allowed by the department in accordance with applicable federal law, including the federal hemp law.

“THC” means total tetrahydrocannabinol as determined by an official laboratory test postdecarboxylation.

 

IOWA CODE 124 – CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES

124.101 Definitions

  1. “Marijuana” means all parts of the plants of the genus Cannabis, 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, including tetrahydrocannabinols. It does not include the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil or cake or the sterilized seed of the plant which is incapable of germination.
  2. Hallucinogenic substances. Unless specifically excepted or unless listed in another schedule, any material, compound, mixture, or preparation, which contains any quantity of the following hallucinogenic substances, or which contains any of its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers whenever the existence of such salts, isomers, and salts of isomers is possible within the specific chemical designation (for purposes of this paragraph only, the term “isomer” includes the optical, position and geometric isomers):
  3. Tetrahydrocannabinols, except as otherwise provided by rules of the board for medicinal purposes, meaning tetrahydrocannabinols naturally contained in a plant of the genus Cannabis (Cannabis plant) as well as synthetic equivalents of the substances contained in the Cannabis plant, or in the resinous extractives of such plant, and synthetic substances, derivatives, and their isomers with similar chemical structure and pharmacological activity to those substances contained in the plant, such as the following:

(1) 1 cis or trans tetrahydrocannabinol, and their optical isomers.

(2) 6 cis or trans tetrahydrocannabinol, and their optical isomers.

(3) 3,4 cis or trans tetrahydrocannabinol, and their optical isomers. (Since nomenclature of these substances is not internationally standardized, compounds of these structures, regardless of numerical designation of atomic positions covered.)

Is Delta-8 a Controlled Substance in Iowa?

Unlike other states that have legalized Delta-8-THC (like Alabama, Maine, and Vermont), Iowa does not make exceptions for hemp-derived tetrahydrocannabinols in their Controlled Substances Act. All tetrahydrocannabinols, their derivatives, and isomers, are considered Controlled Substances in the state. Therefore, yes, Delta-8-THC is a controlled substance in the state of Iowa.

Delta 8 THC Possession Limits in Iowa

Because Delta-8 is illegal in Iowa, there are no defined possession limits for the cannabinoid.

Is Cannabis (Delta 9 THC) Legal in Iowa?

No, Cannabis and all tetrahydrocannabinols are illegal in Iowa. Although the state has attempted to pass cannabis legislation multiple times, cannabis is still prohibited both for medical and recreational use in Iowa.

Where to Buy Delta 8 in Iowa?

A selection of Delta-8-THC vaporizers, available online where Delta-8 is legal.

Delta-8-THC is illegal in Iowa and cannot be legally purchased in the state.

In places where Delta-8-THC is legal, many people prefer to shop online. It's advisable to proceed with caution when choosing a Delta-8 distributor. Shopping online allows you to 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, 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 is illegal in Iowa according to state law, but you should read more about Delta-8 laws by state to determine the legality in other areas.

Resources

  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. “Attorney General’s statement on hemp and CBD products” https://www.iowaattorneygeneral.gov/media/cms/Hemp_Statement_final_EF65D75D867DF.pdf
  5. “ARC 4842C AGRICULTURE AND LAND STEWARDSHIP DEPARTMENT” https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/publications/aco/01012020/pdf/ruleMaking/4842C.pdf
  6. “CHAPTER 124 CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES” https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/ico/chapter/124.pdf

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