Cannabis laws are in the process of changing rapidly across the United States, and many people are unsure about the legal status of products containing THC, cannabis’ primary psychoactive component.

Federal laws on thc products

A federal law passed in 2018 legalized hemp and hemp-derived products. Hemp plants contain less than 0.3% THC. Anything above that limit classifies cannabis, which remains a Schedule I illegal substance federally. Because THC oils have high cannabinoid concentrations, they do not qualify as legal hemp products. However, the Farm Bill allows for some wiggle room. Individual states set their regulations on cannabis products, leading to a complex legal landscape. Whether THC oils fall into a gray area depends on each state’s specific laws.

State laws vary widely on cannabis products 

While federal law takes a firm stance against high-THC products, states have more authority to make their rules. So far, 19 states plus Washington DC have legalized recreational cannabis. Nearly all states have medical marijuana programs, but each differs in allowed product potency. Let’s go through a few key cannabis-legal states as examples of what to expect.


Colorado blazed the trail as one of the first two states to legalize recreational weed. Under Amendment 64, adults over 21 purchase and possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana. THC concentration does not matter, so THC oils also follow the same guidelines. Dispensaries sell regulated thc oil that meet potency and safety requirements. Colorado’s robust adult-use market makes accessing THC oils fairly simple.


California initially legalized medical marijuana before expanding into a recreational marketplace. The Golden State now permits adults 21+ to possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis products. THC concentration once again does not impact the legality of personal use. So while federal law deems THC oils illegal, California residents freely purchase compliant products from licensed dispensaries.


Heading down south shows a different legal landscape. Texas maintains a strict medical-only program with limitations on THC content. Only patients with qualifying conditions legally access medical marijuana with up to 0.5% THC. Any products exceeding that threshold remain entirely illegal. Purchasing THC oils in Texas currently breaches state laws except for narrow medical exemptions. 

Overall the trend leans toward states relaxing restrictions, but THC oils cannot be considered blanket legal nationwide. Check in with your own state’s cannabis regulations to understand if and how these products are prohibited.

What are some potential consequences of breaking thc oil laws?

Those who attempt to buy or sell THC oils in prohibition states risk facing criminal charges. Despite growing acceptance of marijuana use, law enforcement continues cracking down on underground cannabis markets. Potential consequences include:

  • Felony narcotics charges for manufacturing or distributing uncontrolled substances
  • Misdemeanor possession charges
  • Seizure of property
  • Multi-year prison sentences

These strict penalties aim to deter illegal THC commerce, although their efficacy remains hotly debated. Numerous advocates push for further reform and criticize excessive punishment for non-violent cannabis offenders. Still, the risk exists in states without operational recreational or medical marijuana systems.