Hemp-derived products like Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC have become an increasingly popular alternative to medical marijuana in many places. Since these products are made from hemp plants, they are considered federally legal which makes them far more readily available and accessible.
However, just because these hemp-derived cannabinoids are legal by federal law, doesn't mean they are considered legal at the state level. This leaves many to wonder "Is Delta 8 legal?". Let's take a closer look at Delta 8 legality in Hawaii. Spoiler alert, it's not exactly good news.
In Hawaii, there are strict regulations against hemp-derived cannabinoids, such as Delta 8 and Delta 10, that are produced from a chemical isomerization process. This means that the law prohibits the use, possession, manufacturing, sale, and distribution of these products.
Is Delta 8 legal in Hawaii?
No, under the laws of Hawaii, Delta 8 THC, a compound commonly derived from the chemical isomerization of CBD, is prohibited. This restriction encompasses all aspects of a hemp product including usage, possession, sales, distribution, production, and marketing of any product containing this compound.
Isomerization, is a chemical process where CBD molecules are subjected to solvents and acids, commonly heptane or glacial acetic acid, under heat for a duration of up to 72 hours. This results in a change to CBD's molecular structure, converting it into Delta THC.
The reason that Delta 8 THC is deemed a synthetic cannabinoid by the DEA and many US states is due to the derivation from this chemical conversion process. The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) generally outlaws such compounds that have been created using a synthetic process at the federal level. As of now, 22 US states, including Hawaii, have put restrictions or outright bans on Delta 8 products.
Despite these laws, there are unverified reports of retailers in Hawaii who continue to sell and distribute Delta 8 products without any significant law enforcement interference.
What is Delta 8 THC?
Originally discovered in 1941, Delta-8 THC is one of over 100 naturally occurring compounds, called cannabinoids found in trace amounts in the hemp and marijuana plant. Delta 8 THC is considered a minor cannabinoid, which means that it makes up less than 1% of a mature cannabis plant.
As a cannabinoid, the benefits that Delta 8 brings to the table are very appealing for many and make for a great alternative to those who are either unable to access THC legally or those who prefer a more mellow alternative to Delta 9.
Since Delta 8 is a psychoactive compound, it does produce a "high", but users can expect lesser psychoactive effects than that of Delta 9 THC. Many consider it the middle ground between Delta 9 THC and CBD. Delta 8 causes users to feel euphoric and uplifted.
What is the 2018 Farm Bill?
The Agricultural Improvement Act, better known as the 2018 Federal Farm Bill, is the federal legislation that officially legalized hemp and hemp-derived THC products at the federal level.
One of the most significant and widely discussed aspects of the 2018 Farm Bill was the legalization of industrial hemp, a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species. This move effectively removed hemp, defined as cannabis and its derivatives as long as they contained no more than 0.3% Delta 9 THC on a dry weight basis, from the list of controlled substances.
The bill has had a significant impact on federal laws regarding hemp products like CBD and hemp industries, allowing for the widespread cultivation of hemp and the transfer of hemp-derived products across state lines for commercial or other purposes. The bill also implemented regulations and requirements for the growth and sale of hemp, which are overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Legislative History of Delta-8 THC in Hawaii
In August 2021, a significant step was taken by the Hawaii Department of Health's Food and Drug Branch when they introduced interim rules that forbade the sale of edible and inhalable hemp products. This included Delta 8 THC and extended to a wide range of products such as Delta 8 flower, pre-rolls, vapes, and beverages.
These rules were further revised on February 24, 2022, to incorporate a more extensive prohibition, targeting all synthetic substances. This extended the ban to include isomerized cannabinoids like Delta 8, Delta 10, HHC, and THC-O. This revision effectively tightened the restrictions surrounding hemp-derived THC products.
Is Recreational Marijuana Legal in Hawaii?
No, recreational cannabis is illegal in Hawaii. Although regardless of its legal status, small quantities of up to 3 grams have been decriminalized under state law after the passing of House Bill 1383 which was signed in 2020 by David Ige.
Several attempts to legalize recreational cannabis have been made after medical cannabis became legal in 2000 but all have failed.
Just last year three legislative attempts were made, the Senate Judiciary Committee sought to legalize recreational marijuana by way of Senate Bill 767, Senate Bill 704, and Senate Bill 1376. Both SB 767 and SB 704 failed to pass and didn't even receive a hearing in the Senate. While SB 1376 did pass it won’t even be effective until 2137, essentially making it totally useless.
Is Medical marijuana legal in Hawaii?
Medical cannabis is permitted in Hawaii for patients with qualifying health conditions who hold a valid medical marijuana card. Hawaii was the eighth US state to legalize medical marijuana and was notably the first to do so through legislative action rather than a ballot initiative, with this groundbreaking move taking place in 2000. Despite this, the recreational use of cannabis remains illegal in the state, with a small degree of leniency only extended to the possession of minimal quantities, up to 3 grams, which is decriminalized.
Eligible patients who are 21 or older and hold a licensed medical cannabis card are legally permitted to use, possess, and grow limited amounts of cannabis strictly for medical purposes under state law. The path for this was paved when Governor Ben Cayetano signed Act 288 into law, granting medical cannabis cardholders or their designated caregivers the right to cultivate cannabis for medicinal use. Notably, this bill did not establish a legal market or legislative process for cannabis or authorize licensed dispensaries.
In further advancement of cannabis policy, Hawaii broadened its medical marijuana law in 2015, founding the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program. This initiative legally sanctioned the cultivation of medical cannabis and laid the groundwork for a legal dispensary network. All patients seeking to qualify must register with the Hawaii Department of Health and obtain a 329 Registration Card prior to using or possessing medical cannabis.
Interestingly in 2019, the Hawaii Department of Health unveiled an online process that allows medical cannabis patients residing in other US states to legally access medical marijuana products during their stay in Hawaii. The process entails completing a simple ten-minute online form and paying a fee of $49.50 which can be done up to 60 days in advance.
Finally, in 2022, the Hawaii Senate Committee passed SB 2718, which allows all Hawaiian residents aged 65 and above to automatically qualify for medical cannabis, irrespective of whether they have a qualifying condition. This bill was unanimously endorsed by the Hawaii Senate Health Committee with a 3-0 vote, with an official implementation date for upcoming legislation set for January 1, 2050. However, this future date signifies that further discussions and debates around the bill will most likely occur before its ultimate execution.
Where to Buy Delta 8 THC in Hawaii
If you do a quick Google search of "buy Delta 8 THC near me" you will notice it will produce a lot of results. While you might find that some local smoke shops and CBD stores in major cities like Honolulu, Pearl City, Waipahu, and Hilo sell Delta 8 THC you should keep in mind that, even when derived from the hemp plant, Delta 8 THC is technically not legal.
This of course is not the only way to purchase Delta 8, and some find that shopping online for Delta 8 THC is much more convenient.
How to Buy Delta 8 THC Online in Hawaii
Regardless of Hawaii's prohibition stance on Delta 8 THC, some claim that there are some retail stores across the state such as in Honolulu that still sell limited quantities of Delta 8. We suggest using caution and you should know that law enforcement can technically arrest and charge you with possession of Delta 8.
The same can be said about ordering Delta 8 THC products online. You may be able to find some online retailers willing to ship hemp-derived THC products to your door but be aware that you are doing so at your own risk and we wouldn't recommend it.
Is marijuana legal in Hawaii?
Yes, medicinal marijuana use is legal for patients with an eligible health condition. These patients can be granted a medical marijuana card that allows them legal access under Hawaii state law. Hawaii was actually the 8th US state to legalize medical cannabis. Recreational marijuana however is illegal but possession of small amounts has been decriminalized.
Can you travel to Hawaii with Delta 8?
No, Hawaii prohibits the possession and use of Delta 8 THC that has been converted from CBD. Because of this, you cannot legally travel to Hawaii with either hemp or marijuana-derived Delta 8 products. We suggest leaving your Delta 8 at home when traveling to Hawaii.
Is Delta 10 legal in Hawaii?
No, because Hawaii prohibits cannabinoids that are produced using an isomerization process you cannot legally purchase Delta 8 or Delta 10 that has been synthesized from CBD.
Is CBD legal in Hawaii?
While regulated, hemp-derived CBD is legal in Hawaii except for certain CBD products like flower, vapes, drinks, or food. All CBD products must contain no more than 0.3% THC in order to be legal in Hawaii.
What does the future look like for Delta 8 in Hawaii?
Unfortunately, with Hawaii's difference of stance on isomerized Delta 8, it will remain illegal in the state. While many states have created laws that align with the federal government's hemp policy, some do not, Hawaii is a prime example of that. While future cannabis laws are always uncertain, only time will tell if Hawaii maintains its position on Delta 8 THC of if there is a brighter future on the horizon.
We anticipate that Hawaii will ultimately regulate Delta 8 as some states do, similarly to the approach that California has taken. Until that happens, we suggest proceeding with caution and staying aware that Delta 8 products are not exactly legal in the Aloha state.
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