Delta-8 THC Is Banned in Hawaii, But It’s Still Sold Openly

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Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson is the senior editor at CBD Oracle, and has been covering science, vaping and cannabis for over 10 years. He has a MS in Theoretical Physics from Uppsala...

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Fact checked byNeil Willner

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Neil Willner

Neil M. Willner is an experienced cannabis attorney at Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld LLC and co-chair of the firm's Cannabis Group. He focuses his practice on the cannabis industry and...

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Delta-8 THC flower grown in Hawaii
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Delta-8 THC isn’t legal in Hawaii, but you might be surprised by this walking down the streets of Honolulu or even after a quick Google search. Despite having been banned in hemp products since early 2022, delta-8 THC products have continued to be sold in the state, creating a lot of confusion for consumers and problems for lawmakers.

So what does Hawaii law actually say about delta-8 THC?   

No, Hawaii law bans the sale of products containing delta-8 THC because of the process used to produce it, meaning you cannot sell, distribute, produce or market delta-8 products under state law.  

The Hemp Processing and Hemp Products rules in Hawaii (section §11-37-3(h)(12)/page 14) state that it’s prohibited to sell, hold for sale, offer or distribute a hemp product containing “Cannabinoids created through isomerization, including delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol and delta-10-tetrahydrocannabinol.” 

Isomerization is the process used to produce delta-8 THC from CBD, because there isn’t sufficient delta-8 THC in hemp (or cannabis) to make commercial delta-8 THC products naturally. This means that Hawaii’s prohibition on the sale of products made in this way amounts to a ban on all commercial delta-8 THC products.   

RELATED: Which States Banned Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 THC Legislation Timeline for Hawaii 

Delta-8 THC was briefly legal in Hawaii from August 2020 to August 2021, when edible and inhalable products were banned, and finally was made fully illegal in February 2022. 

Hawaii’s House Bill (HB) 1819 was signed into law in August 2020 and basically made the existing pilot program for hemp into a permanent program. The pilot program actually begun with a project running from 1998 to 2001, and was picked up again in 2015. HB 1819 made the program permanent and brought the definition in line with the 2018 Farm Bill, thus legalizing delta-8 THC in the state. 

In August 2021, the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH), Food and Drug Branch, passed a set of interim rules banning the sale of inhalable and edible hemp products, including delta-8. Prohibited products included delta-8 flower, cigarettes, vapes, beverages, and any other product intended to be ingested.  

From February 24, 2022, the Hawaii DOH’s revised version of these rules took effect, prohibiting all isomerized cannabinoids, including delta-8, delta-10, HHC, and THC-O.

Our email correspondence with Hawaii’s DOH on November 3, 2022 confirms the ban:

Section 11-37-3(h)(12), interim Hawaii Administrative Rules, Department of Health, prohibit hemp products that contain “cannabinoids created through isomerization, including delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol and delta-10 tetrahydrocannabinol.” You may find additional information on our website:

Food and Drug Branch, Hawaii State Department of Health

The DOH again amended the interim rules on April 1, 2022, changing the definition of “total THC” and the requirements for laboratory analysis of hemp products. 

In August, 2022, Duke’s Investments LLC, a Hawaii hemp seller sued the state’s DOH, alleging that its revised definition of hemp contained in the interim rules violated the 2018 Farm Bill. In May, 2023, a Hawaii federal judge dismissed the lawsuit, holding that the state and its officials have sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment and are immune from suit. 

Can Delta-8 THC Be Added to Food? 

No, Hawaii banned edible hemp products in 2021, and delta-8 itself was banned in 2022. Beyond this, it is already illegal at the federal level

Can You Buy Delta-8 in Hawaii? 

Delta-8 THC product sold in Hawaii
Delta-8 THC products are reportedly sold in retail stores across Hawaii. Photo: CBD Oracle

Despite the fact that they are illegal to sell in Hawaii, delta-8 THC products are reportedly available to buy in the state. 

In January 2023, the Honolulu Star Advertiser (non-paywall link) visited several Kalakaua Avenue stores which were selling delta-8 THC. Note that even if these products (which were not specified) weren’t inhalable or edible, any delta-8 product had been illegal in the state for almost a year at this point. There are also reports of availability from April 2023 on reddit.   

Delta-8 Alternatives You Can Legally Buy in Hawaii 

Delta-10, delta-7, HHC and technically most hemp delta-9 is illegal to buy in Hawaii. 

Hawaii specifically banned hemp products based on the manufacturing process, i.e. “isomerization.” This bans delta-8 THC, but also most alternative intoxicating cannabinoids. For example, HHC is made (page 20) by first isomerizing CBD into delta-8 and delta-9 THC, which is then hydrogenated into HHC. This means that HHC is also covered by the ban. 

Perhaps surprisingly, most hemp delta-9 products also use isomerization reactions to create the THC, and so would be illegal in Hawaii. 

Are There Age Restrictions on Delta-8 THC Products? 

Delta-8 THC products cannot be legally purchased in Hawaii regardless of your age. However, it is reportedly sold illegally anyway. 

Can You Consume Delta-8 THC in Public in Hawaii? 

No. Since it is illegal to sell hemp products containing delta-8 THC in Hawaii, public consumption is not allowed. 

Can You Drive Under the Influence of Delta-8 THC in Hawaii? 

No, it’s illegal to drive under the influence of any impairing drug in Hawaii, and this includes delta-8. 

RELATED: Can Delta-8 THC Impair Driving?

Hawaii’s driving under the influence law specifically refers to “any drug” that impairs your ability to drive safely. This means that delta-8, marijuana and basically any other drug is covered by default. 

Punishment in the first instance includes a 14 hour substance abuse program, suspension of your license for between a year and 18 months, and either a fine of between $250 and $1,000, between 48 hours and 5 days in jail or 72 hours of community service, or any combination of these. 

Can You Travel to Hawaii With Delta-8? 

No, since Hawaii prohibits the use and possession of isomerized delta-8 THC, you cannot legally travel into Hawaii with hemp or marijuana-derived delta-8 products in your possession. We recommend leaving your delta-8 products at home.  

Closing Thoughts: The Future for Delta-8 in Hawaii 

While you might expect that the ban on delta-8 THC products was the end of the matter in Hawaii, there was an attempt to add delta-8 THC to the state’s Uniform Controlled Substances Act in early 2023. 

Since delta-8 THC products are still sold in Hawaii despite being illegal, lawmakers are attempting to add it to the state’s list of controlled substances. Representative Scot Matayoshi introduced HB 70 in 2023 after a failed attempt in 2022 which died in the senate. This would have made it illegal to possess delta-8 THC as well as to sell or manufacture hemp products containing it, but the bill is now dead. 

Simultaneously, another bill – Senate Bill (SB) 669 – aimed to legalize marijuana and headed to the House of Representatives. Although this bill failed to pass in the 2023 session, it will return in 2024, and if passed, it’s possible that delta-8 will instead be incorporated into the legal marijuana program, with the stronger regulation that entails. 

Whatever happens, it’s likely that the situation for delta-8 will change by the end of 2024 (if the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill doesn’t force a change earlier).