The Legality of Cannabis Concentrates in the US

The Legality of Cannabis Concentrates in the US

Much of the discussion surrounding marijuana legalization in the US focuses on the legality of cannabis flower yet, depending on which poll you believe, anywhere between a quarter and a third of American pot consumers prefer to use cannabis concentrates, generally for vaping or dabbing, on a regular basis.

Much the same is true across the border in Canada, where recreational weed has been legal nationwide since 2018.

In the first month of legal adult-use sales in Canada, around 320,000 cannabis concentrates products were sold. Just six months later, this figure had jumped more than 150 percent to nearly 815,000 units.

The legal situation regarding cannabis concentrates in Canada is straightforward. In the US, however, federal cannabis prohibition remains in force and state marijuana laws vary widely, even between those that have fully legalized the plant.

So, what exactly is the legality of cannabis concentrates in the US?

Those states that have fully legalized marijuana flower for adult-use also allow for possession and sales of cannabis concentrates, such as live resin, wax and shatter.

However, since cannabis concentrates are essentially a distilled version of the desired parts of the marijuana plant, they are much more potent. While marijuana buds contain around 10 to 35 percent THC, concentrates hold anywhere between 50 to 80+ percent THC.

As such, legal possession limits for cannabis concentrates are much lower than for cannabis flower.

In Illinois, for instance, you can legally possess up to 30 grams of dried marijuana flower, but just 5 grams of cannabis concentrates. It’s vital, therefore, that you check the cannabis concentrate possession limit in your state to make sure you’re not running afoul of the law.

In medical marijuana states, the legality of cannabis concentrates is more complex.

The majority of states that allow for the use of marijuana for medical purposes have cannabis concentrates available for registered patients. Many states, however, do not allow for any use of cannabis concentrates whatsoever. These include:

  • Alabama
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Wyoming

This is in addition to other states with even more limited medical marijuana programs in place, such as Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, and Texas, where THC-containing cannabis concentrates are also prohibited.

Particularly if you are a medical marijuana patient that prefers using cannabis concentrates, it is therefore important that you do your research and find out whether they are legal in your state and, if so, what the cannabis concentrate possession limits are.