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Cannabis Laws

Kentucky Marijuana Laws in 2020



Updated May 2020

Kentucky has historically not been open to cannabis legalization. It has yet to legalize medical marijuana or decriminalize marijuana possession; however, possession of small amounts and first-time offenses are dealt with relatively less harshly than other states where marijuana is illegal. Learn more about Kentucky marijuana laws below.

Recreational Marijuana in Kentucky

Is marijuana legal in Kentucky? No — recreational marijuana is illegal; however, there are no minimum mandatory sentences for marijuana possession or sale. Possession of less than eight ounces of recreational marijuana is charged as a Class B misdemeanor punishable by 45 days in jail with a $250 fine. Sale of less than eight ounces as a first offense is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a one-year jail term and $500 in fines.

Subsequent offenses of selling the same quantity and sale of more than eight ounces of recreational marijuana are charged as felonies and punishable by one to 10 years in jail with up to $10,000 in fines.

Under Kentucky marijuana laws, conditional release can be allowed for first-time offenders. First-time marijuana offenders can also get alternative or diversion sentencing.

What Is Conditional Release?

Under Kentucky marijuana laws, first-time offenders are eligible for conditional release, which allows most individuals accused of first-time marijuana offenses in Kentucky to opt for probation instead of having their case go to trial. If the accused successfully completes probation without any slip-ups, then the charge will be wiped from their criminal record. This allows first-time offenders to not have any kind of lasting negative impact from a first-time marijuana possession charge.

Is Hash Legal in Kentucky?

Hash is an extremely concentrated and potent form of cannabis, coming directly from the resin found on the plant. Also known as hashish, hash has very strong psychoactive and euphoric effects. Hash is illegal under Kentucky marijuana laws, with the penalties for hash possession, sale, and distribution being identical to the penalties for marijuana flower.

Is Marijuana Concentrate Legal in Kentucky?

Marijuana concentrate is a product that features a very high concentration of cannabinoids, such as THC. Marijuana concentrate is cultivated by taking cannabis and removing all of the unneeded plant extracts and byproducts, resulting in a pure and potent form of marijuana. Marijuana concentrate is illegal and holds the same penalties for possession, sale, and distribution as marijuana.

Kentucky Marijuana Laws on Drugged Driving

In any state, it is illegal to drive a car or operate any other type of motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. Marijuana use can negatively affect an individual’s motor skills and attention to detail, resulting in an impaired ability to drive. This can make anyone driving after using marijuana a danger to themselves, their passengers, and anyone they share the road with.

That is why drugged driving of any kind is against the law and is considered a criminal activity in the state of Kentucky. If you have recently used marijuana or any other type of illicit drug, avoid the road at all costs.

Can You Possess Marijuana Paraphernalia in Kentucky?

Marijuana paraphernalia refers to any product that aids users in consuming and inhaling cannabis. Some of the most common types of marijuana paraphernalia include bongs, pipes, rolling papers, and vaporizers. In Kentucky, the possession of paraphernalia is a misdemeanor that can result in a $100 fine and up to one year of jail time.

Tax Stamps for Marijuana in Kentucky

If anyone in the state of Kentucky has marijuana in their possession for any reason, they are required to mark the marijuana with tax stamps. Tax stamps are stamps issued by the state that must be affixed to any marijuana contraband, and failing to do so can result in a criminal charge and/or a fine.

A tax stamp costs $3.50 a gram for those in possession of 42.5 grams of marijuana or more, and $1,000 a plant for those who have five or more marijuana plants. Failure to do so will result in a fine that is twice the amount of the tax stamps fee you were supposed to pay, as well as a class C felony charge.

Medical Marijuana in Kentucky

Medical marijuana is illegal in Kentucky; however, the state has passed a medical bill in 2014 that permits the use of low-THC cannabis. Kentucky’s low-THC medical cannabis law authorizes low-THC oil to be excluded from the definition of marijuana, thereby legal for patients with intractable epilepsy who have a written recommendation from a physician.

Kentucky legislators did propose comprehensive medical marijuana bills in 2014, 2015, and 2016, but in all instances the legislature failed to pass or adjourned without taking action. In 2018, lawmakers briefly considered medical marijuana legislation but eventually decided to shelve it in committee. In February 2020, the Kentucky House of Representatives approved a medical marijuana bill with a 65-30 vote, but the Senate decided to not take it up before adjourning for the year in April. Still, the legislators’ continuing efforts to present these bills leave activists hopeful that soon one will gain enough support to pass.

The Local Decriminalization of Marijuana in Kentucky

There are two local jurisdictions in Kentucky that have enacted local measures and regulations to decriminalize marijuana.

  • In Jefferson County, the county attorney’s office allows individuals in possession of an ounce or less of marijuana to avoid any kind of criminal prosecution, as long as marijuana possession is the primary charge.
  • In Louisville, a city council ordinance allows individuals to be in possession of up to one-half of an ounce of marijuana and face the lowest law enforcement priority.

Consumption of CBD from Hemp Oil in Kentucky

Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.

Cultivation of Cannabis in Kentucky

Under Kentucky marijuana law, the growing of marijuana plants remains illegal. Cultivation of fewer than five plants as a first-time offense is charged as a misdemeanor with one-year imprisonment and $500 in fines. The subsequent offense is charged as a felony with one year to five years in jail with $10,000 in fines. The first offense of cultivating five plants or more is a felony, punishable by one to five years in jail with $10,000 in fines. The subsequent offense is also charged as a felony with five to 10 years in jail with $10,000 in fines.

Kentucky is a nation-leading hemp producer. Senate Bill 50 was passed in 2013, which made the cultivation of industrial hemp legal for state-sponsored research. The bill imposed regulations for the licensed production of industrial hemp. According to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, as of May 2020, there are more than 970 hemp growers that have obtained licenses.

Unlicensed cultivation of hemp is still a serious crime in the state. The penalties for growing hemp without a license are the same as those for illegally growing marijuana.

Legal Status of Other U.S. States

Stay up to date on the latest state legislation, referendums, and public opinion polls. Our Marijuana Legalization Map allows you to browse the current status of medical and recreational marijuana laws in other U.S. states and territories.


DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice. Although we endeavor to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Therefore, any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk.

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Is ‘Cannabis Odor’ Still Probable Cause for Searching Your Vehicle?



If you’ve been smoking weed for a long time, it’s highly likely you have found yourself in a scenario where you are getting searched by a police officer for one reason or another. One of the most daunting experiences for any stoner is getting pulled over with weed in the car; because as we know all too well, all a cop needs to do is simply claim that they “smell marijuana” in your vehicle and next thing you know you’re standing on the side of the road while they call for backup and tear your car apart looking for anything illegal they can find.

Is it fair? Of course not! But the more important question here is whether this age-old search tactic is legal or not, and if it will hold up in the court of law. The answer: it’s complicated and depends on where you are, who you ask, and the specifics of your situation. Police officers have relied on odor as probable cause for decades, and it was justified when cannabis was illegal across the board. But if you now live in a state where cannabis has been legalized, especially for recreational use, marijuana odor is no longer an ironclad reason to search without a warrant, because possessing it is not a crime in those states.

Cannabis laws in the USA can certainly be complicated, especially when it comes to knowing your own rights and how to protect yourself from unreasonable actions by law enforcement. We hope this article provides the insight you were looking for. To read more stories like this one, and for exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other products, remember to subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter. Also save big on Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!

The 4th Amendment and Probable Cause

Citing the Constitution of the United States of America, the fourth amendment is as follows: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

It’s generally accepted that a warrantless search of someone’s home is unjust, but the extent to which a person’s vehicle is protected under this statute remains up for debate. Despite pretty clear-cut verbiage in the fourth amendment, there exists a clause known as the “automobile exemption”. The automobile exemption was first established in the 1925 supreme court case, Carroll vs The United States.

Simply put, the automobile exception states that, because automobiles can move quickly from one location to another – carrying contraband and evading law enforcement – it would be unrealistic to require officers to get a warrant before searching the car. In a state where cannabis is illegal, the smell of cannabis is enough to lead officers to reasonably believe that a crime is being committed.

One might assume that this exception means that police officers have unlimited access to search the cars of all citizens as they see fit, but that is NOT the case. There are stipulations and it’s important to know your rights whenever you’re on the road. “The automobile exception is not a categorical one that permits the warrantless search of a vehicle anytime, anywhere, including in a home or curtilage,” says Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

So again, there is a lot of ambiguity there because the conditions determining whether the automobile exception can be used vary dramatically from state to state, county to county, and even city to city. Then it comes down to if the person pulled over is even committing a crime, which depends on they much you have, whether they have a medical card or not, if something was left in plain sight, or if the officer was given permission to search the car, or if another crime was being committed.

States can always implement higher standards than what is required by the fourth amendment, to further protect residents from unlawful searches and seizures, but they cannot allow conducts that violate the constitution in any way. If one believes their fourth amendment rights have been violated, a bivens action can be filed against federal law enforcement officials.

Recent Ruling in Illinois

What sparked my renewed interest in this topic is a news report I read from the Chicago Sun Times, in which authorities pulled over a vehicle and conducted a warrantless search that led to the arrest of the vehicle’s passenger for cannabis possession.

According to the court order, an Illinois State Trooper pulled over a grey Chevy Impala on Interstate 88 in rural Whiteside County on December 3, 2020. During the process of requesting identification, the trooper stated that he smelled “raw cannabis”, at which point the passenger, defendant Vincent Molina, provided his state-issued medical cannabis card.

Notwithstanding, the police officer proceeded to search the vehicle. He found 2.6 grams of weed and Molina was arrested for misdemeanor possession. For obvious reasons this arrest is utter nonsense, starting with the fact that recreational cannabis was legalized in Illinois on January 1, 2020, almost a full year before Molina’s arrest. Additionally, Molina was not just a recreational user but a medical patient.

Molina’s defense lawyers, James Mertes and Nichalas Rude, filed a motion to suppress the evidence, saying “the cannabis odor could not be used as a basis for police to search vehicles after the recent legalization of cannabis.”

Associate Judge of the 14th Judicial Circuit, Daniel J. Dalton, agrees with his attorneys, and ruled that Molina, “…did not indicate any other reason for his suspicions or his search other than the smell of raw cannabis,” and that, “Molina did provide a medical use license to (the trooper) prior to the search of the vehicle and there are a number of wholly innocent reasons a person or the vehicle in which they are in may smell of raw cannabis.”

All in all, it’s a pivotal case for The Prairie State which helps determine what is considered probable cause and sets new standards for how officers will conduct future searches and seizures. “I am honored to have been part of such an important decision. This case was much more important than me,” Molina said. “It was about our right to be free from unreasonable searches for legal conduct. I am just grateful to have been a part of protecting that right.”

No Confusion in New York

New York is one of the few states that actually wrote into their legalization law, which passed in March 2021, that cannabis odor is can no longer be used by law enforcement as a sole legitimate reason to conduct a vehicle search.

Under the updated policy, the only time officers are permitted to search a vehicle (as it pertains to cannabis), is if they believe the driver is under the influence of weed, or if they physically see the driver smoking or vaping while operating a vehicle, or while sitting inside of a parked vehicle.

Additionally, “the trunk may not be searched unless the officer develops separate probable cause to believe the trunk contains evidence of a crime.” So, if you want to be extra careful in NY, make sure to keep your stash in the trunk.

“I don’t think any other state was as clear-cut in removing marijuana very clearly from the universe of things that law enforcement can use, and certainly the odor of marijuana, as a reason to search a vehicle,” said Melissa Moore, New York state director for the Drug Policy Alliance.

Cases in Other States

In the other 18 states that have legalized cannabis, as well as Washington D.C., cases where cannabis odor was used as probable cause are still clogging up the court systems. Luckily for us, most of the court ruling have been in favor of the defendants.

For example, in Maryland, only medical cannabis is fully legal but possession of 10 grams or less for recreational use has been decriminalized since 2015. For reference, decriminalization means that even though cannabis is still not completely legal, it’s now a civil matter, rather than a criminal one, if you get caught with it. In April, an appellate court determined that “odor of marijuana by itself does not provide reasonable suspicion of criminal activity”.

In Colorado and California, the Supreme Courts throw out cases like this all the time, claiming there is no justification for searches or drug sniffing dogs to look solely for cannabis, now that it is legal in both of those states and possessing it is no different than having unopened containers of alcohol in your car.

In Michigan, another legal, adult-use state, the high court explicitly stated that “evidence of illegal guns and drugs should not be suppressed,” and that cannabis odor was “sufficient to justify a warrantless search.” Same goes for Florida, where only medical cannabis is legal but discussions of a recreational market are looming.

Rooted in Racism

As with many of our current drug laws, it’s safe to assume that there are some racist undertones to the way vehicle searches are often conducted. Statistics do exist to cement this theory, for instance, black residents make up 50 percent of the population of Newark, New Jersey, but were involved in roughly 80 percent of police department vehicle searches. Overall, policies that hinder automobile searches are supported by the nation’s most prominent civil rights activists.

“Police believe that if they stop more Black people, they’re going to pick up more drugs, because that’s what they’ve been taught,” said Meghan Matt, who works for a criminal defense and civil rights litigation attorney in Baton Rouge. “But it is statistically evident that Black and White people use marijuana at the same rate.”

Data from as far back as 1999 states that African American and Hispanic motorists are pulled over at rates much higher than whites, yet those searches are “equally or less likely to yield contraband.”

Kelsey Shoub, an assistant professor of political science at the University of South Carolina explored this theory further in her 2018 book, Suspect Citizens: What 20 Million Traffic Stops Tell Us About Policing and Race; which examined 14 years-worth of traffic stop data from North Carolina (not an error, research was not conducted in the same state as the University).

Shoub’s data was very telling and left little wiggle room to assume anything other than a systemic, racially-charged issue that seriously needs overhauling. Overall, black Americans where 63 percent more likely to be stopped on the road, even though they drive 16 percent less than whites. Taking into consideration that difference of time spent on the road, blacks where about 95 percent more likely to be stopped.

Furthermore, black Americans were 115 percent more likely to be searched during traffic stops than white Americans (5.05 percent for blacks and 2.35 percent for whites), BUT, contraband was found more often in the vehicles of white drivers.

“For me, there are a few big takeaways from the data, and the first two are probably not surprising,” says Shoub. “The first is that ‘driving while black’ is very much a thing; it’s everywhere and it’s not just a North Carolina or a Southern problem but across the United States,” Shoub says. “The second thing is that it appears to be more systemic than a few ‘bad apple’ officers engaged in racial profiling.”

Thoughts from Law Enforcement

“It’s an extraordinarily gray area,” said Mark Reene, prosecuting attorney for Tuscola County, Mich. “These are going to be decided very much on a case-by-case basis, and they’re going to be very fact-dependent. And what’s ultimately going to happen is this matter will end up in front of the United States Supreme Court.”

Because there is so little clarity on this subject, officers are increasingly reluctant to conduct vehicle searches, which means that potentially dangerous contraband is going unnoticed at a much higher rate. Making matter worse for law enforcement is the variation in laws, like different restrictions in different counties or only being able to search certain areas of the car – which makes it all the more confusing when an officer is working in the moment.

“It’s going to, without a doubt, lead to less searches of vehicles, which would then lead to less guns being recovered and significant drugs being recovered,” said Mary Tanner-Richter, vehicular crimes bureau chief in the Albany County district attorney’s office in New York. “I mean, I think it’s hard to argue against that being the reality we’re going to face.”

Tanner-Richter also mentioned that during her 16 years working for the state’s traffic safety division, she has seen a large portion of firearms and hard drugs confiscated during what started as routine traffic stops. Until now, her office encouraged police to utilize this search protocol whenever possible.

“That’s how they found Ted Bundy. That’s how the Oklahoma City bomber got caught. And quite often, that’s how they’re getting guns and drugs off the street,” she added. “They [police] are now losing a huge tool in their investigation of drugs and guns.”


Again, there is no clear-cut answer on whether cannabis odor can be used as probable cause to conduct a warrantless search of a vehicle. It all depends on where you are, what products you have and how much, who pulls you over, and so forth. It does seem as though the odor excuse is carrying less weight as legalization sweeps through the nation.

Hello all! Welcome to, your ultimate online destination for the most relevant and thought-provoking cannabis and psychedelics-related news globally. Read-thru the site regularly to stay on top of the constantly-moving world of legal drugs and industrial hemp, and sign up for The THC Weekly Newsletterso you never miss a thing.

Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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Cannabis Laws in the USA: Which State Is the Most Progressive?



The USA is a complex place when it comes to cannabis legalization. It is both the most accepting and the least accepting, the most liberal and the least liberal, the most green and the least green. Due to the fact that each individual state in America has its own laws, cannabis legalization and prosecution are just miles apart from being radically different. And, to make it more confusing, there are 50 states. So that’s essentially 50 different laws on cannabis in one single country. However, some states in the US have shown themselves to be far more progressive than others. But, the question is, which state in America is the most progressive?

Cannabis laws in the USA can certainly be complicated, but we hope this article can help clear things up for you! For more stories like this one, and for exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other products, remember to subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter. Also save big on Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!

United States of America

The USA is made up of 50 states, and within 13 of them cannabis is completely illegal, 37 of them only medicinal cannabis is legal, and in 18 of them cannabis is fully legal (including for recreational use). Medical cannabis legalization always comes before recreational legalization as it is evident that cannabis has medical benefits for many people with mental and physical problems. However, recreational cannabis is harder to legalize due to the fact that it revolves around using a drug for fun. Using cannabis for fun is a hard reason to legalize a substance, especially when research into cannabis is limited. However, the fact that 18 states in America have legalized recreational cannabis proves that the tides are shifting. When searching for the most progressive state in America for cannabis laws, it undoubtedly will come from one of the 18. 

Where Cannabis is Illegal in the USA

Here is a list of all of the states in America where both medical and recreational cannabis is yet to be legalized. They, obviously, do not win the award for most progressive. But they still need to be mentioned. 

  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana 
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin 
  • Wyoming

Where is Only Medical Cannabis Legal in the USA?

These are the states that have taken a step closer to cannabis legalization by allowing medical cannabis to be lawful. Whilst they aren’t the most progressive, they’ve shown an intent to be seen as cannabis-accepting states. This deserves recognition. 

  • Alabama 
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Louisiana 
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • West Virginia

The States in America Where Recreational Cannabis is Legal

These states are the ones who have decided to go against the grain and legalize recreational cannabis, as well as, of course, medical too. These states are, by far, the most progressive in the USA. But which is the most progressive? Let’s find out. 


Alaska legalized cannabis in 2014. It was the third state to fully legalize cannabis. Anyone over the age of 21 can possess cannabis and grow up to 6 plans. However, it is still illegal to consume the drug in public. 


In 2020, Arizona passed a bill that legalized recreational cannabis for those over the age of 21, decriminalized it and banned it in public. It has a similar system to Arizona, but it took 6 extra years for it to do the same. There are currently 123 active weed dispensaries in the state of Arizona. 


California legalized medical cannabis in 1996 and recreational cannabis in 2016. This state is probably the most popular cannabis-accepting state in America due to its beach lifestyle and chilled out attitude. Plus, there are around 4000 cannabis dispensaries in California, which leads to a big tourist culture. However, public cannabis consumption is still illegal. 


Recreational cannabis was legalized in Colorado in 2012. The usual rules apply as with other states, and you cannot smoke cannabis in the streets. There are about 446 weed dispensaries in this state.


Connecticut legalized recreational cannabis in 2021. Now people are able to possess up to 1.5 grams of cannabis and 5 grams at home. Weed dispensaries are not yet open or flourishing, but they are expected to start in 2022. 


In 2019, Illinois legalized recreational cannabis. Anyone over 21 can possess 30 grams of cannabis. Due to the fact that marijuana for personal use was only recently made legal, there are currently only 110 dispensaries in Illinois. 


Maine legalized recreational cannabis in 2016. You can possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis, and grow 6 plants at a time. Despite becoming legalized in 2016, there are limited amounts of dispensaries in Maine. 


Massachusetts legalized recreational cannabis in 2016. They allow for one ounce of bud in total (including at home and on you). There are around 689 weed dispensaries in this state. 


Michigian legalized recreational cannabis in 2018. This state allows for 12 plants and up to 2.5 ounces in possession. Michigan has around 260 recreational weed dispensaries. 


Montanga legalized recreational cannabis in 2021, and all effects will come into fruition in 2022. We won’t know how legalizing cannabis will affect that state until next year. 


Nevada legalized recreational cannabis in 2016. It is illegal to consume it in a car or in public. However, you can grow up to 6 plants, or even 12 plants per household. It is legal to have up to 1 ounce of cannabis for yourself. There are currently only 65 weed dispensaries in the state. 

New Jersey

New Jersey legalized recreational cannabis in 2020. Again, the amount of dispensaries are limited as cannabis legalization is still new in this state. The specific amounts and laws are unknown until we see how they work in practice in 2022.

New Mexico

New Mexico legalized cannabis in 2021. Another case of a US state with recent progressive laws towards cannabis acceptance. Bring on 2022! 

New York

New York legalized recreational cannabis in 2021. It is now legal to possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis. Some say you can smoke cannabis outside in public easier in New York than any other state. Or, at least, almost as easy as a Californian beach. The amount of weed dispensaries in New York will become clearer in 2022. 


Oregon legalized recreational cannabis in 2015. You are allowed up to 1 ounce in public and 8 ounces at home. You can also grow up to 4 cannabis plants. There are more than 660 weed dispensaries in the state of Oregon. Oregon technically has the most weed dispensaries per 100,000 people in America.


Vermont legalized recreational cannabis in 2018. Whilst it is legal to possess up to 1 ounce and grow up to 6 plants of cannabis, it is still illegal to sell or buy it. This is going to change in 2022 when weed dispensaries open. 


Virginia legalized recreational cannabis in 2021. This new law will allow for anyone over the age of 21 to possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis and grow 4 plants. The introduction of weed dispensaries will follow in 2022. 


Last but by no means least, we have Washington. Washing legalized recreational cannabis in 2012; a long time ago in the grand scheme of things. Users can possess 1 ounce of cannabis, but are not allowed to grow recreational plants at home. There are only 103 cannabis stores in this state. 

Which Is The Most Progressive?

Out of 50 states in America only 18 have taken the bold step to legalize both recreational and medical cannabis. Because of this, they should all be championed for their open cannabis policies. Because of them, hopefully, the rest of the states should follow suit in due course. However, there should also be acknowledgement of those states that legalized recreational cannabis earlier and took the first steps. These states created a watershed moment for the future of cannabis legalization. California has acted as a national, as well as international, advertisement for how cannabis legalization can be positive. In addition, Oregon, since 2015, has run with its new found cannabis-acceptance and opened up the most weed dispensaries (per capita) in the US. Both states deserve recognition as the most progressive states in America,

But what do you think? Which state do you believe to be the most progressive, in regards to cannabis legalization, in the USA?

Hello all! Welcome to, your ultimate online destination for the most relevant and thought-provoking cannabis and psychedelics-related news globally. Read-thru the site regularly to stay on top of the constantly-moving world of legal drugs and industrial hemp, and sign up for The THC Weekly Newsletterso you never miss a thing.

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Texas & the Delta-8 Debacle: Will It Stay Legal?



Delta-8 THC sure brings with it a lot of controversy. As different states create legislation that bans the compound, Texas has showcased the growing escalation of the delta-8 battle. Whether Texas keeps delta-8 legal remains to be seen, but for now, the compound has gotten a stay, making Texas one of the first states to fight back against delta-8 prohibition laws.

Texas is in the spotlight with its ongoing delta-8 THC battle. It’s hard to say how it will go, but luckily, there are plenty of options for delta-8 THC and many other cannabis compounds out there. Delta-8 is the half-brother to delta-9, and comes with less psychoactive effect, and more energy than its THC counterpart. Check out our selection of products in the The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter. And save big on Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10THCOTHCVTHCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!

What did Texas do?

Texas has been going back and forth on delta-8 THC for a little while now. Last year, HB 2593 was passed through the Texas House of Representatives, which would’ve worked to lower penalties for those caught with cannabis concentrates and extracts. However, when it got to the Senate, a provision was added that would illegalize isomers like delta-8 THC through a ‘total THC’ provision. The House did not accept this revision, and opted for a resolution commission instead of signing off on it. The provision was removed by the House, the bill passed the House again, and then the Senate adjourned before a vote. This killed the bill.

On October 15th, 2021, the Texas state health department posted a notice on its website that any delta-8 products were illegal. This was rebutted by Lukas Gilkey, the CEO of CBD and delta-8 company Hometown Hero, who originally filed for a temporary restraining order against the Texas Department of State Health Services on October 21st.

Travis County judge Jan Soifer granted an injunction – not a restraining order – on Monday, November 8th, making delta-8 at least temporarily legal again in Texas. The reason given in court documents for not granting a restraining order, was that “the plaintiff has not met requirements of a temporary restraining order.” To give an idea of how unexpected getting the injunction was, Gilkey said this after the injunction was granted: “Wow, completely insane… We thought we were going to get it, but now that we’re here, it’s completely crazy.”

Texas cannabis laws

So, how did this happen if the law was never passed? Apparently, back in January of 2021, the health department in Texas added delta-8 THC to its Controlled Substances list, very, very quietly. So quietly that the agency only put up the post about the illegality some nine months later! So undercover of night, that in a May legislative session, upon talk of a new bill to ban the compound, it had to be stated by an associate health commissioner to legislators, that it had already been banned. It should therefore come as no surprise that when the state health department held a public comments session in November 2020, no one knew to come.

What is delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid of the cannabis plant. It’s predecessor is delta-9 THC, which it differs from chemically only in the placement of a double bond. When delta-9 comes into contact with oxygen, it loses elections (oxidizes) to form the more stable compound of delta-8. This means delta-8 has a longer shelf life since its already the oxidized version of delta-9.

While delta-8 and delta-9 are often associated with the same – or similar – medical benefits, delta-8 is associated with a slightly less intense psychoactive high, less anxiety, and more energy without the standard couch-locking effects of delta-9. Though delta-8 has been known about since the original research in the mid-1900’s, and used in testing for different ailments, it was never brought into the mainstream until the 2018 US Farm Bill.

Though delta-8 is naturally occurring, it only oxidizes from delta-9 at an extremely slow rate. This is problematic when it comes to creating products, because not enough can be produced naturally to use for production. For this reason, delta-8 is synthesized when used for products, either being converted from CBD using chemical solvents, or combined with zinc chloride, although the second method is less precise in terms of how much D8 vs other compounds, is produced.

The takeaway from both is that chemical solvents and zinc chloride are not from the cannabis plant, meaning both of these processes create a ‘synthetic’ by definition. Since this process is a synthetic process, the compounds involved no longer fit under the definition of hemp. Since the products now don’t fit under the definition of hemp, they are not regulated by the 2018 US Farm Bill. More on that in the next section.

Is delta-8 THC technically legal?

First and foremost, the whole reason this debate goes on at all is because of the 2018 Farm Bill, and some confusion (whether natural or instigated) that has formed around it. The 2018 US Farm Bill legalized the production of industrial hemp, and hemp-derived compounds. The legislation even came with a new definition of hemp, which sets it apart from other cannabis plants. The definition states that hemp is defined as:

delta-8 THC in Texas

“…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 [(D 9 -THC)] concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

This opened the door for hemp-derived products under the confused notion (whether natural or instigated) that simply taking something out of the hemp plant means its legal if the plant contains no more than .3% delta-9 in dry weight at the beginning. This, of course, undermines the fact that the entire processing procedure and final result must also have no more than .3% delta-9. It also ignores other laws. Like the Federal Analogue Act, which states that the analogue of a Schedule I Controlled Substance (like tetrahydrocannabinols – THC), is also a Controlled Substance, and this goes for synthetics of a Schedule I compound.

And while it should have been understood the whole time, the DEA just reiterated in its recent clarification to Donna C. Yeatman, R.Ph., the executive secretary for the Alabama Board of Pharmacy, that anything made synthetically just doesn’t fall under the definition of hemp, thereby making it regulated under the Federal Analogue Act. The statement goes as follows:

“Thus, D8-THC synthetically produced from non-cannabis materials is controlled under the CSA as a “tetrahydrocannabinol.”” Of course, if it’s controlled as a tetrahydrocannabinol, then its automatically illegal. So basically, if delta-8 could be derived from hemp without any synthetization (actually naturally-occurring), it would be perfectly cool. Since it can’t in big enough quantities for production, the use of synthetization becomes necessary, making the delta-8 we use for products, non-Farm Bill compliant.

What happens next for Texas and delta-8 THC?

It’s really hard to say. Whether unwittingly or not, Texas has now become a focal point in the whole delta-8 battle. In the end, of course, so long as its made synthetically, delta-8 is federally illegal. However, delta-8 is also an exemplary candidate for the ‘no-one-will-do-anything-about-it’ loophole, a loophole that exists because of the lack of ability to police a law. And since popular opinion about legalities seems to be steered by the cannabis industry in this case, delta-8 is being written about very mistakenly.

Does it matter? Also hard to say. Synthetic processes can mean the inclusion of bad chemicals, and since delta-8 isn’t regulated, it means no one is watching to see what’s being used. I’ve said this many times in articles, the regulation of the industry is what’s needed in terms of chemicals and processes that can safely be used. Not prohibition laws.

cannabis regulation

On the other hand, it should be remembered that processes to create extractions and concentrates often use butane and other solvents, but are considered perfectly fine, and are used for products sold in dispensaries all the time. These create no different issues than the current complaints about delta-8 processing. The most important thing to understand in all this, is that delta-8 THC itself is fine, and it is merely talk of processing that creates this debate.

Clearly, the government of Texas wants to illegalize delta-8 THC, possibly from federal pressure to do so. The federal government can’t go after producers or vendors in an organized way since it would cost too much money. After spending over $1 trillion on losing drug wars, and with popular opinion so greatly changing on cannabis, the US federal government no longer has a way to go after it, and no money to do so, or ability to get the masses on board again with rampant smear campaigns. It can only force its will on state governments.


Will Texas keep delta-8 THC legal? Or, will Texas try another sneaky move? Quite possibly the second. Considering that the state health department held a public comments session, which no one attended because no one knew about it, I’d say the state government will go pretty far to get this through. Luckily, there is that other hand, and at this point, there might just be enough attention on the subject, and the shady way Texas attempted to illegalize it, that things could finally start going in the other direction for delta-8.

Hello to all! Welcome to, the #1 cannabis and psychedelics-related news publication on the web, presenting the most thought-provoking and relevant stories in the industry today. Check us out daily to stay up-to-date on the quickly-moving universe of legal drugs and industrial hemp, and jump over to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter, so you never have to guess what’s going on.

DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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