February 21, 2021 6 min read

Hemp, and subsequently Delta-8-THC, have been legalized on a federal scale, but not every state agrees. Is Delta-8-THC legal in Tennessee? And if so, where can you find it?

Tennessee has updated their hemp laws to broadly legalize hemp and its derivatives. The new state legislation also makes a specific exemption for hemp in the Controlled Substances Act. Thanks to these updates, Delta-8-THC is legal in Tennessee.

Here’s everything you need to know about Tennessee Delta-8 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
Tennessee Delta-8-THC Laws
Is Delta-8 a Controlled Substance in Tennessee?
Delta-8-THC Possession Limits in Tennessee
Is Delta-9-THC Legal in Tennessee?
Where to Buy Delta-8 in Tennessee
Do You Have to Be 21 to Buy Delta-8?
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.
  • Tennessee legalized hemp according to federal standards. The state has also amended its Controlled Substances Act to make a specific exemption for hemp products. That means that Delta-8-THC is legal in Tennessee.
  • 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 Tennessee, but you can also buy legal Delta-8 online and have it shipped directly to your door.

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.

Tennessee Delta 8 THC Laws

Tennessee legalized hemp using a definition that is nearly identical to the one used in federal legislation. That means that Tennessee legalized hemp and all hemp derivatives (like CBD), including cannabinoids, isomers, salts of isomers, acids, and other extracts, provided the hemp material contains no more than 0.3% Delta-9-THC.

The legislation goes further to create clear separation between “marijuana” and “hemp.” The text also specifically declares that hemp is not classified as a Controlled Substance in the state.

By these laws, Delta-8-THC is legal in Tennessee. Similar laws have been used to legalize Delta-8 in other nearby states, like Alabama, Mississippi, and Virginia. That means Delta-8 may be widely accessible in the local area.

Here are some highlights from the text:

SENATE BILL NO.357

43-27-101.

(3) “Hemp” means 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 (THC) concentration of not more than three-tenths of one percent (0.3%) on a dry weight basis; and

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

SECTION 1.

Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 39-17-402(16)(C), is amended by deleting the subdivision and substituting the following:

(C) “Marijuana” also does not include hemp, as defined in § 43-27-101;

SECTION 3.

Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 39-17-415, is amended by deleting subsection (c) and substituting the following:

(c) This section does not categorize hemp, as defined in $ 43-27-101, as a controlled substance.

Is Delta-8 a Controlled Substance in Tennessee?

Nope! Tennessee’s new hemp laws serve to amend Section 39-17-415, or the state’s Controlled Substances Act, to add the following phrase:

“This section does not categorize hemp, as defined in $ 43-27-101, as a controlled substance.”

That means that Delta-8 that is derived from legal hemp material is not a Controlled Substance in Tennessee.

Delta 8 THC Possession Limits in Tennessee

In Tennessee, there are no defined possession limits for legal hemp material, including extracts and cannabinoid products. That means there are no possession limits in place for Delta-8-THC.

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.

Is Cannabis (Delta 9 THC) Legal in Tennessee?

No. Cannabis is illegal for both medicinal and recreational use in Tennessee. The state does allow very limited use of CBD products containing up to 0.9% Delta-9-THC, but all efforts to expand the state’s medical program have failed.

Illegal possession of cannabis in Tennessee is punishable by a Class A Misdemeanor, which can include up to one year in jail and/or fines ranging from $250 to $2,5000.

Where to Buy Delta 8 in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, hemp products can be marketed and sold in stores across the state, but there isn’t much regulation in place to protect consumers. That means that you can find Delta-8 in local stores, but the quality may be in question.

Instead of taking a risk with a local shop, 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.

Do You Have to Be 21 to Buy Delta-8 in Tennessee?

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.

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 legal in Tennessee 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. “SB 357” https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/agriculture/documents/industrial-hemp/pc0087.pdf
  5. “Tennessee Marijuana Laws” https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/marijuana-laws-and-penalties/tennessee.htm

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