Updated to federal law legalized hemp and hemp derivatives. This led to the popularity of one mildly psychoactive hemp cannabinoid--Delta-8-THC. But is Delta-8-THc legal in Washington? And if so, do you have to go to state dispensaries to get it?
Luckily, Delta-8 is legal under Washington’s hemp legislation, which means it may be accessible in stores and online for anyone over the age of 21. Before you buy, get familiar with Washington’s 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
Washington Delta-8-THC Laws
Is Delta-8 a Controlled Substance in Washington?
Delta-8-THC Possession Limits in Washington
Is Delta-9-THC Legal in Washington?
Where to Buy Delta-8 in Washington
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.
Unlike many states with read-between-the-lines legislation, Washington has clearly legalized and descheduled hemp products in the state.
Washington law legalized hemp using the same definition as federal legislation—any cannabis material containing less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC, including cannabinoids, isomers, salts, salts of isomers, and all other extracts. By this definition, Delta-8 is legal when derived from legal hemp materials.
These amendments to state law also impacted the Controlled Substances Act by specifically excluding hemp and hemp products from the definition of “controlled substance.”
Here are some excerpts from the relevant legislation:
SENATE BILL 5276
Sec. 2. RCW15.120.010
“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 concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.
Sec. 5. RCW69.50.101
(d) “CBD product” means any product containing or consisting of cannabidiol.
(f) “Controlled substance” means a drug, substance, or immediate precursor included in Schedules I through V as set forth in federal or state laws, or federal or commission rules, but does not include hemp as defined in RCW 15.120.010.
(x) “Marijuana” or “marihuana” means all parts of the plant Cannabis, whether growing or not, with a THC concentration greater than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis; 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. The term does not include:
(1) 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; or
(2) Hemp as defined in RCW 15.120.010.
(tt) “THC concentration” means percent of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol content per dry weight of any part of the plant Cannabis, or per volume or weight of marijuana product, or the combined percent of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid in any part of the plant Cannabis regardless of moisture content.
No. Washington law has specifically been updated to read that “controlled substance...does not include hemp” as defined by state law. Washington defines hemp as any hemp material, including cannabinoids, isomers, and all other extracts, that contains less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC by dry weight.
Therefore, Delta-8-THC derived from legal hemp material is not a Controlled Substance in the state.
Washington legislation does not outline any possession limits for hemp or hemp products, including 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.
Washington passed Initiative 692 (I-692) in 1998 to become one of the first states in the country to legalize cannabis for medicinal use. Later in 2012, the state passed Initiative 502 (I-502) which legalized and regulated the sale and taxation of recreational marijuana.
Now, cannabis is legal for medical use by any qualifying patient with a state-issued medical card and for recreational use by any adult over the age of 21.
Washington allows hemp products to be sold in stores across the state, but the hemp market is still widely unregulated, including in nearby states where Delta-8 is also legal, like Oregon. That means that while Delta-8 products may be accessible in the Washington area, the quality may be questionable.
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 Washington 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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