top of page

South Dakota gives the OK on delta-8 THC for adults 21+

Joining a handful of states that have chosen to regulate hemp-derived THC rather than ban it, South Dakota in March made it legal for adults 21 and up to purchase delta-8 THC, reports Hemp Grower.

The new rule also goes for other intoxicating cannabinoids that can be made from hemp, like THC-O acetate and hexahydrocannabinol (HHC).

Lawmakers passed House Bill 1292 instead of a rival bill that would have banned substances completely, according to Sioux-Falls-based Keloland News.

Before the governor signed the bill into law March 9, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Taylor Rehfeldt, told Keloland “responsible regulation to support a safe environment” was a better approach than ending all sales of the previously-unregulated substances.

Rehfeldt first wrote the bill to address delta-8 THC. Based on input from the cannabis and hemp industry, it was later expanded to include THC-O and HHC.

Delta-8, THC-O and HHC all all considered “intoxicating cannabinoids” that can be made from hemp.

Delta-8 THC

Molecular kin to the most well-known form of THC, delta-9, the delta-8 isomer begets comparable psychotropic effects. But where delta-9 is limited to trace amounts in hemp products, delta-8 and other hemp isomers are not federally regulated. Although delta-8 THC does occur naturally in small concentrations in cannabis, the products on shelves are made by extracting CBD from hemp and converting it to THC in a lab.

THC-O Acetate

To make this cannabis derivative, CBD is converted to THC and, in a second process, turned into THC-O by adding acid groups to the molecule. THC-O acetate is a psychotropic compound said to be three times as potent as THC. In terms of federal legality, there may be one key difference between delta-8 and THC-O: the latter doesn’t occur in nature. That may make it subject to the Federal Analog Act, under which any chemical that’s "substantially similar" to a controlled substance is illegal — but it doesn’t appear that enforcement agencies are taking action against THC-O right now.


This compound was discovered in the 1940s, according to Hemp Grower. Chemist Roger Adams added two hydrogen molecules to delta-9 THC, a process called hydrogenation, and HHC was born. Like THC-O acetate, this can be considered a hemp-derived product if CBD is sourced from hemp, converted to THC, then hydrogenated. Some claim it occurs in nature, though that claim has yet to be supported by peer-reviewed research, Hemp Grower reports.

Concerns About Purity and Testing Remain

Keloland reported that some in the industry still have concerns about purity and testing. In the currently-unregulated industry, products vary greatly in quality, and some have been shown to contain additives or residual toxins from processing.

Rehfeldt agreed that further regulation may be needed.

“[I]t will be important to address those issues with all stakeholders including public health, the hemp/marijuana industry, and the business community.”

But as additional regulations are being developed, age restrictions will minimize problems with minors buying or accidentally consuming THC.

351 views0 comments


bottom of page