Rhode Island Legalized Weed But Bans Hemp-Derived Delta-8 THC

Delta-8 THC is still a controlled substance in Rhode Island.

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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

Fact checked by

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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Illegal delta-8 THC and hemp products sold at CBD stores in Rhode Island
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Rhode Island has legalized cannabis for both medical and recreational use, but delta-8 THC is prohibited in the state.

Although state law follows the 2018 Farm Bill when it comes to the definition of hemp and establishing the industry, lawmakers didn’t exempt hemp from the definition of THC in the controlled substances list. This means that delta-8 THC is still a controlled substance in the state, and can’t be sold as hemp. 

Here’s what you need to know about delta-8 THC in Rhode Island. 

Delta-8 THC is not legal to sell in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island passed the Hemp Growth Act in 2016 and updated it to the Industrial Hemp Growth Act in 2019 (as part of House Bill [HB] 5151). These established a definition of hemp (section § 2-26-3(8)) that matches the 2018 Farm Bill definition and is generally considered to include delta-8 THC as “hemp.”

However, although the state exempted hemp from the definition of marijuana (section § 21-28-1.02(30)) it did not exempt it from the definition of THC (section § 21-28-2.08(d)(17)), which specifically includes delta-8 THC (under an old naming system as delta-6). 

This makes it impossible to sell delta-8 THC as “hemp” in the state. Additionally, although the state has legalized medical marijuana, the Office of Cannabis Regulation has made it clear (point 6/page 3) that products with substantial levels of delta-8 THC can’t be sold as medical marijuana. 

The only remaining option for legal delta-8 THC sales is the regulated cannabis industry. While it may be permitted there (the basic rules don’t appear to outlaw it), it doesn’t appear to be sold at present.

RELATED: Where Is Delta-8 THC Legal? A State-by-State Guide

Can You Buy Delta-8 THC Products in Rhode Island? 

Delta-8 THC is not available to buy in Rhode Island. The state has banned delta-8 THC from sale in either the hemp or medical marijuana industry. While it could theoretically be sold in the adult use cannabis industry, this doesn’t appear to happen at present.  

Are There Age Restrictions on Delta-8 THC Products? 

Delta-8 THC products could only possibly be sold as part of the regulated cannabis industry, and so there would be a minimum age of 21 for purchase. It’s worth noting that even consumable CBD products can only be sold to adults aged 21 or over (section § 2-26-3(9)), so even if delta-8 THC were permitted as hemp, it would still be age-limited. 

Closing Thoughts: The Future for Delta-8 in Rhode Island 

There are no pending bills relating to delta-8 THC or hemp in Rhode Island, and it’s unlikely that anything will change in the state following the 2023 Farm Bill. 

Rhode Island law lists delta-8 THC as a controlled substance and the Office of Cannabis Regulation doesn’t permit its use in the medical marijuana industry, so the state has essentially already addressed the issue. In the (quite unlikely) event that the 2023 Farm Bill makes it clearer that delta-8 THC is permitted, the state would likely incorporate it into the adult use cannabis industry rather than allow it to be sold as hemp. However, all of this is uncertain until we know what the 2023 Farm Bill says. 

Overall, there’s no sign that anything will change for delta-8 THC in Rhode Island in the near future.