The International D8 Line

The International D8 Line starts and stops at the US border.

Is it legal to travel internationally with D8? Is it legal to sell D8 overseas? These are questions I am commonly asked that I will address in this post. Read and/or watch below for answers. 

Delta-8 THC, commonly referred to as “D8” is a controversial cannabinoid. Although it was originally marketed to people in states where marijuana remains illegal as a similar, but lawful, alternative to marijuana products, it has quickly gained popularity across the US. Critics cite its easy availability and a lack of regulatory structure as the reason for its proliferation, though these points fail under scrutiny. Marijuana products are widely and easily available in both prohibition and non-prohibition states. Importantly, most hemp companies that distribute D8 products voluntarily place age restrictions on them, regardless of the fact that neither federal nor most state laws require it. With respect to safety regulations in the states that have enacted medical and adult use programs, the state to state variations make it difficult to determine whether they actually promote safety. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, in most states a small handful of large multinational companies control the marijuana industry. These companies often create and lobby for the very laws and regulations to which they are subject.

A better explanation than availability for the rapid rise in popularity of D8 is simple: people like them. I have heard numerous reports of people who prefer D8 hemp products over their D9 and marijuana counterparts. This is primarily due to D8’s “muted” effect and also its reduced association with anxiety and paranoia that many users report with marijuana and D9. Regardless of the reasons that people like and use D8, or the initial pushback it received, D8 is here to stay.

Since my firm represents clients internationally, we often receive calls and emails asking about traveling abroad with D8 products. Here’s a typical inquiry:

Question: Do you happen to know if Delta 8 THC is legal in Mexico? I will be there next month for vacation and I am not planning to take any with me, however, I would like to purchase when there (presumably at a ‘vape shop’)?

Response: Unfortunately, the answer is “no”. This may eventually change, but right now it is illegal to commercialize D8, or any other cannabis product, in Mexico. It is unlikely that you will find any since D8 is not well-known (or known at all) in Mexico. Also, if you did find D8 for sale I would advise against buying it since there is no way for you to determine what is actually in the product. I live part time in Mexico and would never buy a D8 product down here if I saw one for sale. It would be super risky on all fronts. I hope you have a great trip.

The same is true for the rest of the world. This is primarily due to the fact that cannabis, in any form, is not yet legal in most of the world. But taking hemp products into another country is almost uniformly prohibited, even in countries like Canada, where adult use marijuana is lawful, or The Netherlands, where it is openly tolerated. Equally important is the fact that the US is unique in singling out one THC isomer (delta-9 THC) as being a controlled substance in concentrations exceeding 0.3%, while other THC isomers in hemp are lawful in any concentration. This is not the case for the rest of the world. In fact, people in other parts of the world, including cannabis advocates, are mostly unaware of D8 and other minor cannabinoids. To them, and more importantly to law enforcement, D8 is simply “illegal THC”.

For these reasons, I do not recommend traveling abroad with D8, or any hemp compound for that matter. Even CBD remains controversial and illegal in most countries. No one wants to spend their vacation or business trip in a foreign jail. Leave the D8 at home.

As for selling D8 products to customers in other countries, this is currently illegal under almost all scenarios. As cannabis reform continues to expand in the US and throughout the world we can anticipate a robust international trade. Currently, though, selling hemp products to customers in other countries is highly limited and D8 products are not likely to pass muster with customs officials in other countries, except under highly restricted situations such as for research.

At Kight Law, we are working hard to make the hemp trade truly international. If you have any questions please contact us and we can discuss your situation and options in detail.

December 2, 2022
Rod Kight, Cannabis industry attorney

Rod Kight is an international cannabis lawyer. He represents businesses throughout the cannabis industry. Additionally, Rod speaks at cannabis conferences, drafts and presents legislation to foreign governments, is regularly quoted on hemp matters in the media, and is the editor of the Kight on Cannabis legal blog, which discusses legal issues affecting the hemp industry. You can contact him by clicking here

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