TEXAS — Delta-8 THC is regarded as a chemical cousin of marijuana’s main intoxicating ingredient, and as its popularity has soared, states have been reckoning with its legality.
If there was any question in Texas, an update to the Department of State Health Services’ website has put that to rest. It’s illegal in the Lone Star State.
“Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 443 (HSC 443), established by House Bill 1325 (86th Legislature), allows Consumable Hemp Products in Texas that do not exceed 0.3% Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). All other forms of THC, including Delta-8 in any concentration and Delta-9 exceeding 0.3%, are considered Schedule I controlled substances,” the newly updated DSHS website states.
DSHS goes on to say it has no regulatory authority over controlled substances and that complaints should be directed to police.
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The chemical, called delta-8 THC, is billed as producing a milder high than the better known delta-9 THC, and delta-8 is often marketed as being legal even where marijuana is not. That argument stems from the fact that most delta-8 is synthesized from CBD, a popular non-intoxicating chemical that’s prevalent in hemp, a form of cannabis that Congress legalized in 2018.
There are no hard-and-fast statistics on sales of delta-8, which is available in vapes, gummies and other forms. It has been the fastest-growing segment of the market for hemp chemicals for roughly the last year, after wholesale CBD prices plummeted amid oversupply and other issues, says Ian Laird of data analytics company Hemp Benchmarks.
The DSHS update may come as a blow to Texas business owners. Spectrum News 1 recently spoke with Zachary Maxwell, the president of Texas Hemp Growers. At the time, he said that delta-8’s rising popularity was a boon to the state’s hemp industry.
"Delta-8 isn't made in grow rooms or on farms. It's actually synthesized in the labs that create the CBD oil that we're all familiar with. When those labs are able to sell more oil to the marketplace, it means they're more prone to buy from hemp farmers in this state," said Maxwell.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.