Hemp-derived Delta-8 THC products are legal, says federal appeals court

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals greenlights Delta-8 products, provided they come from hemp

In the midst of a vape-related dispute, a federal appeals court ruled that hemp-derived Delta-8 THC is “legal” and eligible for trademark protection. The news was revealed Thursday when in its ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said because Congress legalized not only hemp but also its “derivatives” and “extracts,” delta-8 THC is legal if it is derived from a hemp extract, in this case, cannabidiol (CBD).

While THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) has always been a compound involving much controversy, this ruling clarifies the picture. As a result of this ruling, delta-8 vape manufacturer AK Futures now has another opportunity for Boyd Street Distro to allegedly sell counterfeit versions of AK Futures “Cake” vapes containing delta-8 THC.

AK Futures apparently had the support of the three judges on the appeals panel, who made it clear that delta-8 THC is not a controlled substance under federal law if it comes from hemp. “Regardless of the wisdom of legalizing delta-8 THC products, this court will not substitute its own policy judgment for that of Congress,” wrote Judge D. Michael Fisher.

Still, it must be kept in mind that the ruling has nothing to do with the legality of selling consumable delta-8 THC products. While Congress gave the go-ahead to hemp derivatives, it also tasked the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with overseeing how those products could be sold. To this day, this agency has not budged, refusing to authorize any cannabinoid product without a prescription.

The gray area over the legality of delta-8 THC under federal law has led many states across the country to limit or restrict how it can be sold. It is a matter of time to see if this issue becomes more generally covered.