While some states like New York, California, and Washington have legalized the recreational use of the marijuana plant—it remains a federally Controlled Substance due to its primary psychoactive compound, THC.
In the lone star state, recreational use of marijuana—defined as cannabis plants with more than 0.3% delta-9 THC by dried weight bases— is still illegal.
But delta-9 THC isn’t exclusive to marijuana plants, and many Texans are enjoying a legal way to enjoy the elevating effects of THC.
In this post, we’ll explore the history of marijuana prohibition in Texas, how it came to be that the marijuana plant remains illegal here, and how to purchase legal cannabis products in Texas.
- THC is a cannabinoid derived from the cannabis sativa plant responsible for its psychoactive effects.
- Hemp products became federally legal with the 2018 Farm Bill. Creating a clear distinction between hemp and marijuana cannabis plants.
- Texas’s House Bill 1325 also legalized the sale and production of hemp and its consitutents as long as it maintains the 0.3% delta-9 THC threshold.
- Marijuana is still on the list of controlled substances in Texas and getting caught with marijuana products can result in criminal charges.
- The hemp plant and its derivatives can contain up to 0.3% THC on a dried weight basis, and it’s possible to make THC products within this guideline while still producing psychoactive effects.
- When shopping for hemp-derived delta-9 products in Texas, only shop from trusted sources that provide lab certification on the cannabinoid content and safety of the product.
What Is Delta-9 THC?
Delta-9 THC is the most well-known cannabinoid found in cannabis. It’s the main psychoactive component that produces a high. It’s naturally produced on tiny, crystal-like glands that cover the cannabis plant’s buds and leaves. The concentration of delta-9 THC in a given strain of cannabis can vary widely. In general, strains with higher levels of Delta-9 THC will produce more prominent effects, including euphoria, impaired short-term memory, and altered perception of time.
THC and other cannabinoids interact with cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system that manages the homeostasis of functions like memory, mood, immune function, and motor responsiveness .
When THC binds to CB1 receptors in the brain, it alters the neurotransmitter release and creates the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
When laws describe the legalities surrounding the marijuana plant, they’re referring to delta-9 THC, but there are many forms of THC, known as isomers. However, delta-9 THC isn’t exclusive to marijuana plants, and it can be found in federally legal hemp crops (up to 0.3% by dried weight basis).
Before we dive into how you can find legal THC products, it’s important to understand a few concepts surrounding cannabis law in the United States.
Why Is Marijuana Still Illegal In Texas?
While the states of Colorado and Washington have recently legalized marijuana, it remains illegal in the state of Texas.
There are a number of reasons for this, including the fact that marijuana is still considered a Schedule I drug by the federal government. In addition, many people in Texas believe that marijuana should remain illegal due to its potential health risks.
However, there is also a growing movement in support of legalization, as many people believe that marijuana can be safely used for medicinal purposes. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to legalize marijuana in Texas will come down to a vote by the state legislature. Until then, the status of marijuana in Texas remains up in smoke.
What Is The Federal Farm Bill?
The Federal Farm Bill is the primary legislation for American agriculture and food policy. The bill covers a wide range of topics including crop insurance, farm subsidies, and environmental policies.
The Farm Bill is renewed every five years, and the 2018 bill was a particularly consequential one for the cannabis industry as it legalized the production of hemp, a type of cannabis plant that contains very low levels of THC.
According to the Farm Bill, hemp plants cannot contain more than 0.3% delta-9 THC, making the plant and its cannabinoids legal, and creating new opportunities for farmers and CBD manufacturers.
The Farm Bill didn’t legalize marijuana, which remains a Schedule I drug under federal law. This distinction is important to understand when discussing the relationship between legal cannabis products.
Texas Marijuana Laws
Marijuana is illegal according to federal and state law in Texas.
Texas has a bit of a reputation when it comes to marijuana laws. For years, the state has been tough on drug offenders, handing out harsh penalties for even small amounts of possession. However, in recent years there has been a shift in public opinion, and lawmakers have started to catch up.
In 2019, the Texas Legislature passed a bill reducing penalties for low-level possession offenses. The new law went into effect on September 1, 2019, and it has already had a major impact.
According to data from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the number of misdemeanor possession arrests has decreased by more than 20% . The changes to the law have also saved the state millions of dollars in court costs and jail expenses. While Texas is still far from legalization, the new law is a step in the right direction.
What Happens If You Get Caught With Weed In Texas?
If you’re caught possessing or selling marijuana buds or products made from marijuana, you could face legal penalties.
The consequences will depend on the severity of your offense such as how much marijuana you have in your possession or have grown. If you’re caught with two ounces of weed or less, you can get a slap on the wrist or get charged with a Class B misdemeanor, face 180 days in jail, a $2000 fine, or all of the above.
Getting caught with large amounts of weed in the lone star state could also affect other aspects of your life too, such as state-legislated drug tests for employment.
How Is Delta-9 THC In Texas Legal?
THC isn’t exclusive to marijuana.
Hemp-derived THC isn’t “weed.” Hemp and marijuana are clearly defined in the 2018 Farm bill.
And in 2019, the Texas House Bill 1325 was passed allowing hemp plants and any part of this plant (extracts, cannabinoids, and isomers) are legal as long as the delta-9 THC concentration is not higher than 0.3%.
However, the THC must be in its natural and unadulterated form. This means that it cannot be synthetic, and it cannot be extracted from cannabis plants using chemical processes.
In order for Delta-9 THC to be legal in Texas, it must be derived from hemp plants that are grown in compliance with the state’s agricultural regulations.
VIIA delta-9 and delta-8 THC products have psychoactive effects and are legal in Texas.
How is this possible?
You can create hemp-derived delta-9 THC products containing a dose to produce psychoactive effects (5–25 mg) as long as the product contains less than 0.3% of the other ingredients on a dry weight basis, which is well within the state hemp laws.
How To Shop For Legal Delta-9 THC In Texas
The Texas State Health Services has implemented a medical marijuana program, but not everyone is eligible for this medical THC as only patients with certain medical conditions can get a prescription for low-strength THC medical products.
Shopping for legal delta-9 THC can be a challenge, but it’s worth the effort to find a product that meets your needs. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Know the laws. Delta-9 THC is only legal in Texas if it is derived from hemp plants with less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. Make sure you know the source of the delta-9 THC you’re buying, and double-check that it meets the legal requirements.
- Read the labels carefully. All products containing delta-9 THC must be clearly labeled with the percentage of THC by weight. Be sure to check this information before purchasing any product.
- Do your research. Not all products containing delta-9 THC are created equal. Some brands may use lower-quality ingredients or dilute their products with fillers. Take some time to read reviews and compare products to find one that’s right for you.
Following these tips will help you shop smarter for hemp-derived products in Texas. With a little effort, you can find a product that meets your needs and delivers the results you’re looking for.
Delta-8 THC Vs. Delta-9 THC
Delta-8 THC is an isomer of delta-9 THC, meaning that it has a similar chemical structure but with a few slight differences.
Both delta-8 and delta-9 THC bind to the CB1 receptors in the brain, but delta-8 THC has a lower binding affinity than delta-9 THC. This means that it is not as potent as delta-9 THC and produces more subtle effects.
Some users report feeling more clearheaded and energetic after using delta-8 THC, while others say it helps them to relax. The legality of delta-8 THC is currently unclear, as it is not specifically listed in the US Controlled Substances Act.
In 2019, Texas lawmakers tried to criminalize all forms of THC, even if it comes from legal hemp, but it failed to pass thanks to a temporary injunction on the state’s ban.
Can You Fail A Drug Test From Hemp-Derived THC?
The most common form of drug testing is urine tests, which detect the metabolites of illicit substances. Whether your source of THC is legal or not, the liver will break it down into the same metabolite, THC-COOH.
While you may find THC detox kits available online, they’re not always guaranteed to work. If you are expected to have regular drug tests for THC use, you should steer clear of all forms of THC at least a month before the test.
Can You Find Legal THC Vapes In Texas?
The best form of legal THC in Texas is edibles as it’s possible to maintain high enough concentrations of THC to produce psychoactive effects while staying well below the 0.3% THC limit by dried weight basis.
You’re not likely to feel any elevating effects from smoking hemp flower or delta-9 THC vape pens made from hemp as it contains too little THC in order to stay within the legal guidelines.
Alternatives to delta-9 THC vapes are its isomers, delta-8 THC and delta-10 THC. Compared to delta-9, these isomers aren’t as potent but they are psychoactive. There are many people who prefer delta-8 and 10 to 9 for their lighter, clear-headed effects.
Hemp-derived THC gummies are an excellent option as they’re discreet and come in pre-measured doses of THC for more accurate dosing.
Final Thoughts: Is Delta-9 THC Legal In Texas?
So, is Delta-9 THC legal in Texas? The short answer is yes—but there are some caveats.
Marijuana remains is a controlled substance, and possessing large quantities of marijuana can result in criminal charges.
The good news is that THC isn’t just found in marijuana, but it can also be harvested from hemp plants as long as the final product contains less than 0.3% delta-9 THC. Even THC isomers found in hemp such as delta-8 THC is legal under this distinction.
All VIIA delta-8 and delta-9 THC are made from Farm Bill-compliant hemp crops and maintain a range of synergetic cannabinoids and terpenes for a more balanced and potent experience.
- Alger, B. E. (2013, November). Getting high on the endocannabinoid system. In Cerebrum: the Dana forum on brain science (Vol. 2013). Dana Foundation.
- Texas Department Of Public Safety. (2012, February 12). Crime In Texas.