THCA (also THCa, THC-A, or THC A) is one of the latest alternative cannabinoids shaking up the hemp market. THCA, short for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is unique because it occurs naturally in the plant and transforms into psychoactive THC when heated and smoked. High THCA hemp products get people high and are broadly available nationwide.
But is THCA legal everywhere?
This guide explains THCA legality in the U.S., including the current THCA legal status in each state and where consumers can find legal THCA for sale.
THC vs. THCA
Most people are familiar with Delta-9 THC (or THC for short), the primary cannabinoid in cannabis and hemp responsible for the plant’s intoxicating effects, such as euphoria, relaxation, and pain relief. Federal law lists Delta-9 THC as a Schedule I controlled substance.
THCA is the acidic form of THC. THCA isn’t psychoactive in its raw state because it has a slightly different molecular shape that prevents it from binding to receptors in the brain and central nervous system as Delta-9 THC does.
However, applying heat to THCA’s will chemically transform its shape into Delta-9 THC in a process called “decarboxylation.” Smoking, vaping, dabbing, or cooking cannabis for edibles are all sufficient ways to heat and “decarb” the THCA into THC, making it highly psychoactive. Learn more about the difference between THC and THCA in our guide.
Is THCA Illegal?
The DEA lists Delta-9 as a banned substance. However, it does not include THCA on its Controlled Substances list, likely because THCA is not psychoactive in its natural form. As a result, THCA products are federally permitted, or at least exist in a gray area.
Additionally, the USDA’s Farm Bill makes THCA legal when derived from hemp that contains less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC by dry weight. Farmers must test pre-harvest hemp samples with verified third-party laboratories to determine compliance, factoring in total THC content post-decarboxylation (heating).
Industrial hemp that passes the USDA’s testing requirements and hemp products that contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC is federally legal. As a result, hemp companies and brands can produce products with high THCA levels, such as Qwin’s new line of THCA flower and vapes.
THCA flower is a new term for smokable hemp bud that contains high concentrations of THCA (around 20%.) and compliant Delta-9 THC levels below 0.3%. When consumers heat THCA flower for smoking or vaping, these products produce the same incredibly powerful high as normal THC.
- A heavy mental and physical buzz
- Stress and anxiety relief
- Pain relief
THC A Legal Limit
THC A has no official legal limit. Federal and state rules, regulations, and opinions vary greatly.
A high THCA percentage is around 20% or more. The result is an intense buzz when THCA gets heated and converts to THC. The USDA Farm Bill considered this fact when they wrote the legislation and included a mandate to test hemp products for the “Total THC” content when determining whether a plant falls under the 0.3% requirement. “Total THC” accounts for THC and THCA, so theoretically, 20% THCA content may be too high for pre-harvested hemp to pass compliance tests.
So, wouldn’t the USDA’s testing rules make products with high THCA levels illegal? Technically, no.
The USDA regulates hemp compliance testing for plants before harvest. However, after harvest, the USDA no longer has regulatory control once manufacturers create finished goods. Finished goods fall under the DEA’s jurisdiction, and the DEA only looks at total Delta-9 levels, according to cannabis advocacy firm Kight on Cannabis.
Still, every state has its own THCA rules.
For example, THCA is illegal in Arkansas, but not in Tennessee. That is because some states have introduced laws that enforce the USDA mandate to account for “Total THC.” In some states, like Connecticut and Georgia, the law is murky and could go either way.
Here is a breakdown of the THCA legal status in each state.
THC A Legal States
THCA appears permissible in the states below as long as the pre-harvested hemp passes total THC testing and the final product tests below 0.3% Delta-9 THC.
Is THCA Legal in Alabama?
Yes. Alabama Code 2-8-381 aligns with federal law and legalizes all hemp products with no more than 0.3% Delta 9-THC.
Is THCA Legal in Alaska?
Yes. Alaska recently signed Senate Bill 27 into law, creating a permanent hemp pilot program that falls in line with the 2018 Farm Bill. Cannabis is also legal in Alaska for recreational adult consumers and card-carrying medical patients and caregivers.
Is THCA Legal in Arizona?
Yes. Arizona law aligns with federal law, requiring hemp products to contain no more than 0.3% Delta 9-THC.
Is THCA Legal in California?
Yes. California Industrial Hemp Law aligns with federal law, specifying “a percentage of content of THC that is equal to or less than 0.3%.”
Is THCA Legal in Colorado?
Yes. Colorado Senate Bill 14-184 aligns with federal law, saying industrial hemp products are legal “containing a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of no more than three-tenths of one percent (0.3%) on a dry weight basis.”
Is THCA Legal in Connecticut?
THCA is likely legal in Connecticut. Connecticut Substitute Senate Bill No. 893 says the “voluntary or ordered destruction of hemp above 0.3% THC is at the licensee’s expense.”
Is THCA Legal in Delaware?
Yes. Delaware law adheres to the Farm Bill, and THCA products are legal if they contain a maximum of 0.3% Delta-9 THC.
Is THCA Legal in Florida?
Yes. Florida’s State Hemp Program says hemp must have “a total delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration that does not exceed 0.3 percent on a dry-weight basis.” But Florida does not factor THCA concentration in hemp product potency requirements to date.
Is THCA Legal in Georgia?
THCA is likely legal. Language in Georgia’s House Bill 213 says hemp plants must align with the federally defined THC concentration of no more than 0.3% “whether growing or not.”
Is THCA Legal in Hawaii?
Yes. Hawaii says industrial hemp products are legal with “a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration greater than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis or a tetrahydrocannabinol concentration allowed by federal law, whichever is greater.”
Is THCA Legal in Illinois?
Yes. Illinois’ Industrial Hemp Act follows federal law, saying industrial hemp is legal “with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis…and includes any intermediate or finished product made or derived from industrial hemp.”
Is THCA Legal in Indiana?
Yes. Indiana’s Senate Enrolled Act Number 516 says, “Hemp must test below 0.3% THC”, making the THCA products compliant to this law legal.
Is THCA Legal in Kansas?
Yes. Kansas’ Senate Bill Number 263 legalized “all parts and varieties of the plant cannabis sativa L, whether growing or not, that contain a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.”
Is THCA Legal in Kentucky?
Yes. Kentucky’s KRS 260850 to 260.869 Industrial Hemp maintained that hemp products with no more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC are legal.
Is THCA Legal in Louisiana?
Yes. Louisiana says industrial hemp is legal, “including the seeds hereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of not more 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
Is THCA Legal in Maine?
Yes. Maine legalized “any variety of Cannabis sativa L. with a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration that does not exceed 0.3% on a dry weight basis.”
Is THCA Legal in Maryland?
Yes. Maryland legalized cannabis plants “and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration that does not exceed 0.3% on a dry weight basis.”
Is THCA Legal in Michigan?
Yes. Michigan’s hemp act says, “while hemp can contain no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight, marijuana can contain up to 30% THC. The chemical analysis must be performed to ascertain THC levels.” There is no “Total THC” mentioned.
Is THCA Legal in Missouri?
Yes. Missouri’s hemp law exempts “industrial hemp, which is defined as Cannabis sativa L. containing no greater than 0.3% THC, from the definition of marijuana and the list of controlled substances.”
Is THCA Legal in Nebraska?
Yes. But Nebraska’s LB §2-5701 says, “Plants grown would be required to be submitted for testing to determine whether they contain less than 0.3 percent THC.”
Is THCA Legal in New Hampshire?
Yes. New Hampshire HB 459-FN law does not follow Total THC testing, allowing unlimited THC cannabinoids other than Delta 9 in hemp-derived products.
Is THCA Legal in New Jersey?
Yes, since the New Jersey Hemp Program defines hemp as “low (less than 0.3%) in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)”, making the THCA products compliant to this law legal.
Is THCA Legal in New Mexico?
Yes, New Mexico law specifically legalized all “viable plants and plant material in excess of three-tenths percent and less than five percent THC.”
Is THCA Legal in New York?
Yes, New York’s ARTICLE 29 GROWTH OF HEMP legalized hemp “and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
Is THCA Legal in North Carolina?
Yes, North Carolina SENATE BILL 352 -SECOND EDITION allows the “use of varieties with less than 0.3 percent THC”, making the THCA products compliant to this law legal.
Is THCA Legal in North Dakota?
Yes. North Dakota’s hemp law legalized hemp products in accordance with federal law, noting “that the variety is known to have delta-9 THC levels below 0.3%.”
Is THCA Legal in Ohio?
Yes, Ohio law notes that “hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC”, making the THCA products compliant to this law legal.
Is THCA Legal in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma states that “by law, industrial hemp must have less than 0.3% THC.”, making the THCA products compliant to this law legal.
Is THCA Legal in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania 2016 Act 92 refers to the Farm Bill and has not banned THCA. Thus, THCA is legal in PA.
Is THCA Legal in South Carolina?
South Carolina’s Farming Act defines “industrial hemp as cannabis with no more than 0.3 percent THC”, thus THCA products are legal here.
Is THCA Legal in South Dakota?
South Dakota’s 2019 House 1191 says hemp products containing a maximum THC concentration of 0.3% are legal in the state.
Is THCA Legal in Tennessee?
Yes. Tennessee’s Senate Bill Number 357 says, “THC means delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol”, making THCA legal in Tennessee.
Is THCA Legal in Texas?
Texas law follows the Farm Bill, legalizing hemp products “with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
Is THCA Legal in Utah?
Utah law currently allows “THC analogs” into edibles, vaporizer cartridges, and other products sold in state-licensed dispensaries and retailers.
Is THCA Legal in Vermont?
Yes. The Vermont legislature says legal hemp includes “all parts of the plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
Is THCA Legal in Virginia?
Yes, but Virginia’s Chapter 653 says legal hemp “shall have a THC concentration not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
Is THCA Legal in Washington?
Yes. Washington’s Senate Bill 5276 legalized hemp in accordance with the Farm Bill, specifying “all parts of the plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
Is THCA Legal in West Virginia?
Yes. West Virginia’s House Bill 2694 followed the Farm Bill but recognized “industrial hemp as having no more than 1 percent THC as an “agricultural crop.”
Is THCA Legal in Wisconsin?
Yes. Wisconsin's hemp production law follows the Farm Bill, saying, “if the THC concentration rises above the legal limit of 0.3 percent dry weight, the crop must be destroyed.”
Is THCA Legal in Wyoming?
Yes. Wyoming law says, “All license holders are subject to inspection and sampling to verify all parts of the hemp plant do not exceed the allowable three-tenths of one percent (0.300%) THC.”
Where Is THC-A Illegal?
There are no specific laws mentioning THCA or banning it. But some states have stricter “Total THC” testing rules for plants and finished goods that account for THCA in the 0.3% THC limit.
Is THCA Legal in Arkansas?
No. The Arkansas Industrial Hemp Program applies the Total THC formula to hemp-derived product testing, recognizing delta-9 THC as “THC + 0.877*THCA.”
Is THCA Legal in Idaho?
No. Idaho explicitly banned all hemp derivatives and forms of THC other than pure CBD.
Is THCA Legal in Massachusetts?
No. Massachusetts law now requires testing for “the combined percent of delta–9–tetrahydrocannabinol and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid in any part of the plant of the genus cannabis regardless of moisture content.”
Is THCA Legal in Minnesota?
No. Minnesota applies the “Total THC” formula to hemp testing: "The final regulatory determination will be based on the total potential THC post-decarboxylation, which is equal to delta-9 THC + (THCA x 0.877) if the sample is analyzed via HPLC methodology.”
Is THCA Legal in Montana?
No. Montana law indicates “Total THC” testing as “the value determined after the process of decarboxylation,” saying “total Delta-9 THC % test results of mature flowers from mother plants.”
Is THCA Legal in Oregon?
No. Oregon law follows “Total THC” rules for hemp-derived products and considers “the molar sum of THC and THCA [tetrahydrocannabinolic acid]” when testing hemp products.
Is THCA Legal in Rhode Island?
No. Rhode Island applies “Total THC” testing, applying “the combined percent of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid in any part of the plant cannabis regardless of the moisture content.”
The Bottom Line
THCA is one of the latest cannabinoids to fall into legal loopholes caused by the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalizes hemp products with no more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. THCA is non-psychoactive and has a different chemical makeup than THC. However, it will transform into THC when exposed to heat. In THCA flower and vape products, high THCA levels often translate to legally potent THC levels after consumers apply heat for smoking, vaping, or dabbing.
Laws surrounding cannabis and hemp products change constantly. Although the DEA does not consider THCA levels for federal law, several states have added “Total THC” testing laws that factor in the THCA content. Every consumer should read up on their state’s laws to see if any recent changes regarding THCA legality. have occurred.