At the moment, Florida permits the production, sale, distribution, possession, and usage of Delta 8 within the state. It’s critical to note that this comes with certain conditions that manufacturers and consumers should observe. Moreover, cannabis-related laws change rapidly, so you have to frequently double-check its legal status to be on the safe side.
In this article, let’s discuss Delta 8 in the context of the Florida state laws, including the related conditions, regulations, and important reminders for anyone who wishes to partake in this popular alternative to its more popular cannabinoid cousins—Delta 9 THC or CBD.
A Brief Overview of Delta 8
Delta 8 THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is derived from the cannabis plant. However, it naturally occurs in tiny amounts, whether in marijuana or hemp, so we consider it a minor cannabinoid.
In terms of molecular structure, the location of a double-bond carbon atom distinguishes Delta 8 from Delta 9, which is what we usually refer to when talking about THC. This slight variation causes Delta 8 to have a milder euphoric effect when we consume it through vapes, edibles, topicals, or other product forms.
Cannabis brands seized this opportunity to market Delta 8 as an acceptable substitute for the more restricted Delta 9 THC. Since then, this minor cannabinoid has amassed a growing number of fans, driving the demand upwards over the past couple of years.
However, since the supply of natural Delta 8 is limited, manufacturers developed ways to produce it through the chemical conversions of Delta 9 or CBD. This sparks the ongoing debate of whether or not the Delta 8 products in the market are legal. The Farm Bill of 2018 from the federal government has gray areas concerning these methods. To address this issue, many states have taken it upon themselves to clarify their respective positions on Delta 8.
Delta 8 is Legal in Florida
Now to answer the bug question…is delta 8 legal in Florida? Unlike more than a dozen US states, Florida continues to regard Delta 8 as legal, provided that it’s derived from the hemp plant and does not contain more than 0.3% of Delta 9 THC.
That means companies can manufacture, sell, and distribute Delta 8 products without fear of penalties or prosecution. The same goes for consumers in the Sunshine State. They don’t need a license or permit to buy, use or possess products featuring this cannabinoid. If you will notice, the stance Florida has taken mirrors the Farm Bill from the federal government.
When the September 2021 FDA warning about the probable side effects of Delta 8 consumption was released, the state legislators proposed a bill limiting the sale of hemp-based products to individuals aged 21 years or older instead of 18. The bill would also require businesses to register the Delta 8 products before selling them.
Florida passed this bill into law, and it’s still in effect at the time of writing.
Not Every Type of Delta 8 is Legal, Though
As we mentioned earlier, Delta 8 may be obtained from marijuana. Florida strictly forbids the use of marijuana, except for those under the medical marijuana program as approved in 2016. The state did not remove it from the list of controlled substances, so the penalties and punishment for its possession apply to companies and recreational users.
In recent years, attempts to legalize recreational marijuana have been made. For example, cannabis advocates campaigned to get two initiatives on the ballot, but they haven’t succeeded in gathering enough signatures for the cause. Efforts are underway for another chance in 2024.
Is Delta 8 Natural or Synthetic?
Another point of contention about the legality of Delta 8 stems from the extraction and manufacturing processes that companies perform to produce enough Delta 8 for their goods.
We can trace this back to the Interim Final Rule issued by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) in August 2020. In this document, the federal government declared, “All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols remain Schedule I controlled substances.”
The definition of what is natural or synthetic varies in the cannabis industry. Many brands argue that Delta 8 is a natural plant compound. In their opinion, the synthetic cannabinoids that the DEA refers to are the artificial marijuana alternatives, such as “Spike” or “K2”. On the other hand, the detractors pointed out the additional chemical reactions required in manufacturing Delta 8 products. However, the DEA did not further clarify its opinion to this day, hence the persistence of Delta 8 in states where it is not outright banned, like Florida.
As a consumer, you can better decide whether Delta 8 is natural or synthetic if you’re aware of what companies typically undergo to produce this cannabinoid. The process is called structural isomerization, wherein the goal is to create a suitable condition for the molecules of Delta 9 THC or CBD to transition and turn into Delta 8.
Cannabis manufacturers have their respective isomerization methods. During the early days, however, scientists tried exposing hemp-derived cannabinoids to solvents and acetic acid to activate the process. Heat may also be applied to quicken the progression, but the required chemical reaction may still take 3 to 12 hours to complete.
Afterward, the acid should be neutralized before the removal of the solvent. The extract is distilled to ensure purity and the right concentration. This can be repeated until it passes the quality and safety standards.
Something to Think About…
Given what you have learned, do you consider Delta 8 a natural or synthetic cannabinoid? Will that affect your current views on purchasing and consuming Delta 8 products?
How to Buy Delta 8 in Florida
If you’re a Floridian and want to reap the therapeutic benefits of Delta 8, you have various options on where to buy Delta 8 legally. Several retail shops in the Sunshine State are licensed to sell and distribute Delta 8 products. Heading to these stores will allow you to inspect the physical item before purchasing. You can also take it home immediately, as long as the shop has enough stock.
We prefer going to online vendors, especially the official websites and resellers of our favorite Delta 8 products. This allows us to check the reviews from other customers, read through the product COA (certificate of analysis), and compare our options to find the best deals.
Helpful Tip: Check out our list of the best Delta 8 Gummies for 2022. We have evaluated each product for its potency and safety, and you can get an extra discount when you use our coupon codes.
5 Tips to Remember While Shopping for Delta 8 Products
Manage your expectations
Despite the almost identical molecular structures of Delta 9 and Delta 8, you will likely need twice the amount of product to experience the usual “high” you feel after consuming THC. That’s why some people refer to Delta 8 as “diet weed” or “marijuana-lite.”
That being said, this minor cannabinoid is psychoactive and can cause similar adverse side effects, such as anxiety, lightheadedness, paranoia, or vomiting. These downsides to Delta 8 usage may be avoided if you start with a low dose and then gradually work your way up to the optimal dosage to enjoy its benefits without suffering from these ill conditions.
Explore the different types of Delta 8 products
Each type has its respective pros and cons, so it’s a matter of figuring out which one is best suited to satisfy your needs and preferences.
For instance, many beginners choose Delta 8 gummies because they are tasty, portable, and do not require any pre-measuring or prep work. However, the effects tend to kick in much longer than when you smoke, vape, or dab Delta 8 instead.
Review the Product COA
One of the main reasons for the recent restrictions on Delta 8 is the health and safety of consumers. Florida recognizes the hazards of this unregulated market, despite not following the other states that banned this cannabinoid.
Capitalize on the state’s requirement for a COA from the manufacturers by always reading through its contents before proceeding with your purchase. Make sure that the Delta 9 levels do not exceed the legal limit. Don’t forget to look for the purity test results of the product. This information will tell you if it’s free from harmful substances like molds, heavy metals, and pesticides, among others.
Check out the customer reviews
Given the popularity of Delta 8, feedback from actual customers can easily be found with a quick browser search or on the official website. Take note of both the positive and negative experiences, but remember, the sensitivity threshold varies from one person to another.
What works for us is not guaranteed to work just as well for you. Nonetheless, we still recommend going through the customer reviews to find more tips, reminders, or even warnings related to a given product or company from verified buyers.
Assess the reliability of customer service
Most cannabis brands claim to provide excellent customer support and after-sales service. However, only a few walk the talk. One way to determine how effectively and efficiently a company responds to customers is by connecting with the customer service team through their official channels.
For example, send your questions through the live chat feature or email. Observe how long it takes them to reply and if you’d be offered a chance to speak to an actual person rather than a bot. If all you get are generic responses, there’s a high chance that the brand isn’t investing enough in their customers’ care, protection, and satisfaction.
The Future of Delta 8’s Legality in Florida
We don’t foresee any significant changes in state legislation regarding Delta 8 in the near future. Florida’s primary consumer protection group recently reaffirmed its stance on cannabinoids. With that in mind, let’s recap what we know about the legal status of Delta 8 in the Sunshine State:
- It should be extracted from the hemp plant only. Marijuana-derived Delta 8 is considered illegal.
- The Delta 8 product must not exceed the 0.3% limit on Delta 9 THC content, as indicated on its COA.
- Only individuals at least 21 years old can buy, use or possess Delta 8.
- Companies must obtain a license from the state to manufacture, sell and distribute Delta 8 products.
Knowing how rapid changes can occur in the cannabis industry, it’s wise to stay informed and double-check the state laws before purchasing, using, or carrying around your favorite Delta 8 products. At The CBD Guru, we can help you be on top of the developments in the cannabis industry and legislation.