If you are wondering if delta-8 THC is legal in NC, the answer is yes. While just knowing that it is legal is enough for some people, others may want to know more about the laws. This is a wise decision, as there are some restrictions in the law. The most notable is that it must be hemp-based to be legal.
Delta 8 Is Federally Legal
To start the discussion of how delta 8 THC is legal in NC, remember that it is federally legal. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and hemp-based products, defining hemp as the plant containing less than 0.3% delta-9 THC.
This means that as long as your delta-8 THC has less than this amount of delta-9 THC, it is legal at the federal level. If it has more than this, then it is cannabis-based and not legal federally. However, it would be legal in states where cannabis is legal.
States Can Place Restrictions
While delta 8 is legal at the federal level, each state has the ability to place restrictions. Some have taken advantage of this and banned delta-8 THC, but NC is not one of them.
The Relevant Laws in North Carolina
If you want to not only know if delta-8 THC is legal in NC but which laws make it legal, the following information will help. The relevant laws in North Carolina are phrased very similarly to those in other states that explicitly legalized delta 8 and the federal laws legalizing it.
Senate Bill 352 – Second Edition
The relevant law is Senate Bill 352, the second edition. This is “An Act Revising the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act.”
Section 90-87 of the bill focuses on definitions, defining the following:
- Hemp as the Cannabis sativa L. plant and its parts, derivatives, isomers, salts, cannabinoids, extracts, and isomer salts, provided the delta-9 THC concentration is under 0.3%
- Hemp extract as an extract made from hemp or a combination of hemp with other compounds that has the same delta-9 THC concentration limit
- Hemp product as a product made from processing hemp plants or derived from it but excluding smokable hemp
- Marijuana as the parts of the plant in the Cannabis genus and its derivatives, preparations, mixtures, salts, and compounds. The definition explicitly excludes hemp.
The other relevant part of the bill in question is Section 6 on “Schedule IV controlled substances.” That schedule includes marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), with the explicit exception of tetrahydrocannabinols from hemp extracts or hemp products. In other words, it explicitly excludes THCs like delta 8 from being a controlled substance as long as they are part of hemp products.
Recent Updates From the 2021 NC Industrial Hemp Commission Meeting
For even more reassurance to those wondering if delta 8 THC is legal in NC, you only need to look at the takeaways from the NC Industrial Hemp Commission meeting on January 29, 2021. The meeting specifically discussed delta-8 THC, and afterward, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services updated its FAQs with some explicit answers about delta 8.
Testing in Hemp
One of the responsibilities of the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Pilot Program is to sample hemp to ensure its compliance. This does not involve screening for or regulating delta-8 THC content.
Instead, the testing only looks for total levels of delta-9 THC, which can include THCA that may convert into THC. This testing method follows the USDA’s “Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program” Final Rule from January 2021.
Legality in NC
The NCDA&CS also has an explicit question about whether delta-8 THC is legal in NC.
It outlines that the main factor is if the delta 8 comes from marijuana or hemp. If it comes from marijuana, it is a controlled substance and illegal, both within North Carolina and federally.
The FAQ section also addresses some controversy regarding delta 8’s legality. Specifically, it mentions the DEA “Implementation of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018” that makes synthetically-derived THC illegal. It also
notes that thanks to the low natural concentrations of delta 8, much of the delta 8 is converted chemically from CBD. The DEA counts this as synthetically-derived and therefore illegal.
What the FAQ does not mention, however, is that this issue is not clear-cut. Delta 8 is technically naturally-
occurring. As such, those in favor of its legality and availability argue that this limitation does not apply.
You Can Legally Buy Delta 8 THC in NC
The bottom line is that it is legal to buy and use delta-8 THC in NC. You can buy it online or at certain retailers.