Is CBD oil legal?
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- What is CBD?
- In what states is CBD oil legal?
- Why is CBD legal in some states?
- Is CBD legal in the United States?
- Can CBD be taken out of state?
Yes, and no, depending on what state you live in. Even in states where cannabidiol (CBD) is legal, the newly popular compound is still regulated. CBD is legal depending on a multitude of factors: state law, how each state interprets federal law, how much THC is in the product, whether legislation regarding CBD has been passed, and to what type of product it’s been added.
What is CBD?
A non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis. After tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) is the second-most abundant cannabinoid in the plant, and has many potential therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-anxiety and seizure-suppressant properties. CBD can be sourced from both marijuana plants and hemp plants, the latter of which are legal in the U.S. as they contain minuscule amounts of THC.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating substance found in cannabis. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
In the body, cannabinoids, the receptors they bind to, and the enzymes that break them down are known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
CBD can bind to receptors that are located throughout the body, allowing it to activate several different receptor pathways and possibly provide therapeutic benefits. CBD may also be able to minimize the undesirable effects of THC, including paranoia and heart palpitations, while enhancing the latter’s therapeutic effects.
In what states is CBD oil legal?
Determining where CBD oil is legal can require careful attention to shifting state laws, federal regulations, and the fine print within both. Some states allow farmers to grow industrial hemp to spur hemp production as a new resource for non-medical uses. While others, such as California and Illinois, legalized marijuana to help expand cannabis research, corral the illicit market, and provide adult-use consumers with a clean, regulated supply of marijuana and its derivatives, such as hemp-derived CBD. These often-conflicting laws are creating confusion for regulators, authorities, and consumers.
Because CBD is a relatively new commodity to the general public, and federal cannabis prohibition is still in place, CBD laws vary significantly from state to state.
Since federal cannabis prohibition is still in place, CBD laws vary significantly from state to state. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Kroger grocery stores joined retailers CVS and Walgreens in selling CBD topical products in some states. Because laws and, therefore, retail policies can change, check with the retailers to see if CBD products are available in your state.
NORML noted many state laws that authorize the use of cannabis for medical conditions also permit patients with a physician’s recommendation to possess products containing plant-derived CBD. NORML also said numerous other states have enacted legislation explicitly exempting qualified patients from criminal prosecution for the possession of specific products or extracts containing CBD.
Why is CBD legal in some states?
Hemp strains don’t produce enough of the cannabinoid THC to cause intoxication, but all types of cannabis, including hemp, were considered illegal under the 1970 Federal Controlled Substances Act. The legislation swept all cannabis under the Schedule 1 umbrella, which defined cannabis as a substance with a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use, and a likelihood for addiction.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp cultivation and removed some cannabis from Schedule 1 status by creating a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana. Under the new legislation, hemp is classified as cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC by weight, while marijuana is classified as cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC. Because marijuana is categorized as a Schedule 1 substance, CBD that is derived from the marijuana plant is still considered federally illegal. While hemp is now considered an agricultural commodity, it still must be produced and sold under regulations that implement the bill. The USDA has yet to create these regulations.
The Farm Bill also endowed the FDA with the ability to regulate CBD’s labeling, therapeutic claims, and presence in foods or drinks. Despite the Farm Bill’s passage, the FDA has issued a directive that no CBD, not even hemp-derived, may be added to food or beverages or marketed as a dietary supplement. Given the flood of CBD products on the market already, the FDA has begun re-evaluating that stance and gathering public input. But the agency’s slow movement has created further confusion on the state level.
The FDA has historically been strict when it comes to health claims or content that could be understood as medical advice — and it makes no exception for CBD.
The production and sale of hemp, including its cannabinoids, remain tightly regulated federally. The Farm Bill provides that individual states may also regulate and even prohibit CBD cultivation and commerce. States may attempt to regulate CBD in food, beverage, dietary supplements, and cosmetic products independently of the FDA’s rules.
Is CBD legal in the United States?
The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, which for decades had classified all cannabis–including hemp–as a substance with no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse. While numerous states have legalized marijuana for medical and adult use, the federal government considers marijuana, and CBD products derived from marijuana in nearly any form, to be illegal.
This is why the distinction between CBD derived from marijuana and CBD derived from hemp is important. Hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant with low concentrations of THC. For cannabis to be considered hemp in the U.S., it must have no more than 0.3% THC.
To meet federal legal criteria, CBD oil must contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
While CBD oil and hemp seed oil are either low in THC or THC-free, there’s a big difference in the amount of CBD these products contain. Hemp seed oil has only traces of CBD, while hemp flower oil has a much higher concentration.
Is hemp oil legal?
Hemp oil is federally legal if it was extracted from a hemp plant with a trace amount of THC no higher than 0.3%. The 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized production of hemp as an agricultural commodity, also legalized the production of hemp-derived CBD.
Can CBD be taken out of state?
There are federal protections for the cross-state transportation of hemp CBD products. These protections do not apply to CBD products derived from marijuana.
In an executive memorandum issued on May 28, 2019, the USDA clarified that 2018 Farm Bill provisions ensure cross-state transportation under a provision ensuring the “free flow of hemp in interstate commerce.”
The Farm Bill prevents states and Native American tribal jurisdictions from prohibiting interstate hemp transportation or shipment as long as it is lawfully produced under a state or tribal plan, or licensed under the USDA plan. This guidance came on the heels of reports from states such as Idaho, where authorities say they will continue to treat CBD as an illegal substance until new federal rules are updated and in effect.
Is CBD oil legal? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is CBD? In what states is CBD oil legal? Why is CBD legal in some states? Is
Is CBD legal in your state? Check this chart to find out
Is CBD legal? Probably—but maybe not. It all depends on where you are.
CBD has been federally legal since late 2018—if it’s derived from hemp. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s legal in your state. We’ve compiled a state-by-state table of CBD laws, below, that will help you gain clarity.
Note: The chart below applies to unlicensed CBD products only. State-licensed CBD products sold in adult-use and medical cannabis stores operate under different rules.
CBD Legal Status, State-by-State
|State||Is CBD legal?||Restrictions|
|Alaska||Yes||No CBD-infused food/beverage allowed|
|Colorado||Yes||No baked goods|
|Connecticut||Yes||Food/bev must be registered|
|Delaware||Yes||Hemp grower must be affiliated with Delaware State University|
|Florida||Yes||Labeling is regulated|
|Idaho||No||Illegal in every form|
|Indiana||Yes||Labeling is regulated|
|Iowa||No||Illegal in every form|
|Kentucky||Yes||CBD tea not allowed|
|Louisiana||Yes||Many product restrictions|
|Maine||Yes||OK only if CBD extracted from licensed Maine hemp grower|
|Massachusetts||Yes||CBD food/bev requires purity testing|
|Mississippi||Yes||Must be at least 20:1 CBD:THC ratio|
|Missouri||Yes||Age 18+ only. Sales require state registration.|
|Nevada||Yes||No food/bev; CBD sales allowed in cannabis stores only|
|New Hampshire||Yes||Regulations coming|
|New York||Yes||No food/bev; purity testing required|
|North Carolina||Yes||No food/beverage|
|Oregon||Yes||Label regulations coming|
|Pennsylvania||Yes||No food/bev; label regulations coming|
|Rhode Island||Yes||Label guidelines coming|
|South Carolina||Yes||No food/beverage|
|South Dakota||No||Not legal in any form|
|Texas||Yes||Label guidelines coming|
|Utah||Yes||Registration required for sales|
|Vermont||Yes||Can’t combine CBD with meat or dairy. Maple syrup has its own rules.|
|West Virginia||Yes||No food/beverage|
The basics on CBD
CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound derived from the cannabis plant. Cannabis has been federally illegal since 1937. As long as cannabis has been illegal, so has CBD—even though it has no intoxicating qualities.
That changed late last year.
Now that hemp is no longer a controlled substance, and CBD comes from hemp, all CBD must be legal, right? Not so fast.
In December 2018, President Trump signed the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (aka the 2018 farm bill) into law. That Act included a section removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis. The only difference is the federal government considers cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, the intoxicating cannabinoid, to be legally classified as “hemp.”
Now that hemp is no longer a controlled substance, and CBD can be extracted from hemp, all CBD must be legal, right? Not so fast.
Passage of the farm bill “legitimized hemp as an agricultural crop as opposed to a drug/controlled substance,” writes Bob Hoban, one of the nation’s most experienced hemp attorneys. “However, while this legislation paved the way for the hemp industry’s expansion it in no way made the path to legal compliance any clearer for those in the hemp industry.” And by extension: It’s no clearer for those in the CBD industry, either.
As with all things having to do with cannabis, it helps to know which laws are in play: Federal, state, and those we’ll call “mixed jurisdictional”—the rules and regs enforced by health departments and the like.
Federal law is now clear, thanks to the farm bill. Federal authorities are no longer in the business of arresting people for growing hemp, extracting CBD, or possessing either. The DEA is out of the CBD game.
More specifically, the farm bill removed hemp and hemp derivatives from the definition of “marijuana” in the Controlled Substances Act. The new law also specifically tasked the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with regulating hemp-derived food and drug products. (More on that below.)
Here’s where it gets complicated.
Federal legality doesn’t automatically confer state legality. Each state handles hemp and CBD differently. In Idaho, Iowa, and South Dakota, CBD is entirely illegal. In New Jersey, New Mexico, and North Dakota it’s legal without restriction. In Alaska, California, Washington, and many other states it’s legal but can’t be sold in combination with food or beverages—except in licensed cannabis stores.
In Vermont it’s legal, although when CBD is added to maple syrup it’s illegal to label the product “Pure Maple Syrup.” Ahh, Vermont.
FDA rules are coming
FDA officials are actively working to create federal regulations around CBD. After holding a highly publicized hearing earlier this year, their staffers have gone away to start crafting the regs. A first draft is expected in early 2020.
Those officials are in a bit of a bind. CBD has already been approved as a pharmaceutical drug in the form of Epidiolex, a drug created by GW Pharma to inhibit seizures. Epidiolex went through the FDA’s grueling drug approval process, and it took years.
After holding a highly publicized hearing earlier this year, FDA officials have gone away to craft the regulations. A first draft is expected in early 2020.
Once a compound has been approved as a drug, the FDA typically does not allow it to be sold in over-the-counter mainstream markets. But it’s currently being used most often as a dietary supplement, like vitamins.
If the FDA bans all non-prescription forms of CBD, it risks opening up a massive illegal market—which would result in a criminal trade in unlicensed, untested, and unregulated CBD. We’ve just experienced the real dangers of that with the illicit trade in THC vape cartridges, which led to the national outbreak of VAPI lung, also known as EVALI.
As we wait for the FDA to release its proposed CBD rules, agency officials are reminding everyone that many of the CBD food and beverage products currently on the market are not technically legal. On June 16, the FDA released a document that said: “We are aware that there may be some products on the market that add CBD to a food or label CBD as a dietary supplement. Under federal law, it is currently illegal to market CBD this way.” At the same time, no federal agents are enforcing that particular law.
County health agencies matter, too
Even within states that allow the legal sale of hemp-derived CBD, there may be complications at the local level.
Some local health departments, for example, may choose to prohibit the sale of CBD in food and beverage products in commercial establishments.
A few years ago some restaurants near Seattle area began offering CBD-infused cocktails to their patrons. That ended when local county health officials stepped in and reminded restauranteurs that CBD was not a known and approved food or beverage. (“They’re erring on the side of caution,” one restaurant owner told me at the time. “They say they don’t quite know what CBD is yet, so they want everyone to hold off until they figure it out.”)
What you need to know
As of late 2019, the general rule for consumers is this: CBD is legal to possess and consume everywhere except Idaho, Iowa, and South Dakota. The rule for manufacturers and retailers is this: Check your local jurisdiction and vet your business plan with a lawyer who knows local CBD laws.
In 2019, Leafly editors tried to purchase more than 75 products to test their CBD content as part of our Leafly CBD Test series. To our surprise, it turned out to be more difficult than we anticipated.
National drug stores like CVS and Walgreens carry CBD products in some states but not in others. When we tried to order CBD products online, some companies agreed to deliver to the Leafly office in Washington state, while others refused. We know the cause was location, because everything was well and fine with our order right up until the point we entered our ZIP Code.
Three states still outlaw CBD, but it's allowed everywhere else. Check our chart to see where your state stands.