The Legal Status of CBD in United States (2019 update)

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Legal status CBD US 2019

If you’re still confused over the legality of CBD where you live, you aren’t alone. Rapidly changing legislation over the past year has left consumers scratching their heads when it comes to understanding this hemp-sourced compound.

Depending on who you ask, you will likely get a different answer, as the laws vary widely from state to state. In this guide, we will attempt to clarify some of the confusion surrounding CBD and what you can expect in your area so you can make purchases with your own best interest in mind.

CBD vs. THC

To comprehend the most recent legislation related to CBD, it is vital to understand the differences between CBD and THC and where each of these compounds comes from.

The cannabis plant consists of many different species and can include both marijuana and hemp. Cannabis contains over 100 naturally occurring chemical compounds called cannabinoids. While several of these cannabinoids have beneficial properties, two of them have become extraordinarily popular in the mainstream: THC and CBD.

Let’s talk about THC first.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

THC is the principal psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana and the one which most people are familiar with. Depending on the individual, smoking or eating this cannabinoid results in a euphoric high or feeling of being stoned. This mind-altering compound is used both recreationally and medicinally, but it remains illegal at the federal level.  

Individual states, however, have legalized marijuana in some form or another.  THC is found in high amounts in the marijuana species of Cannabis and in trace amounts in hemp.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD can be found in marijuana as well but is generally sourced from legal industrial hemp. Unlike THC, it produces no high and won’t cause you to feel impaired or stoned. It provides many of the same benefits as medical marijuana without the psychoactive effects, making it an attractive option for many people.

CBD sourced from industrial hemp is permissible in all 50 states at the federal level, provided that it contains less than 0.3% THC in the plant and the final product. However, each of these states can have the final say in how they want to implement the laws surrounding CBD, and some states have made it difficult for consumers to obtain them. We will discuss more on state legalities further on.

Recent Legal History of Hemp

In the Farm Bill of 2014 (Also known as The Industrial Act of 2014), a provision was made for a pilot program within the hemp industry which allowed for growing, harvesting, manufacturing, selling, and distributing industrial hemp under certain conditions. It was remarkably successful, and it paved the way for the CBD industry as we know it today.

About every five years, a new farm bill is passed, and in December of 2018, the Farm Act of 2018 was signed into law. As part of the act, cannabis plants containing less than .03% THC were officially removed from the Schedule 1 Controlled Substances list and became legal at the federal level.

However, as part of the bill, Congress preserved the Food and Drug Administration’s authority to regulate cannabis-derived products under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. As expected, a few days after the Farm Bill was signed into law, the FDA issued a statement to this effect that implied that while they would be working on guidelines for the hemp industry, making medical claims about the therapeutic benefits of hemp-sourced products is prohibited, as is marketing and selling it as a food or dietary supplement. So, while there was a win on the one hand, the wheel of bureaucracy had already begun to turn.

On May 31, 2019, an unprecedented public hearing was held that included members of the public, health professionals, and hemp industry experts. The primary result that came out of the event was almost everyone agreed that there needs to be more regulatory guidance around labeling, dosing guidelines, and testing.

Until the FDA can provide a framework for the industry, the legalities surrounding CBD are still a bit murky, with individual states given the final authority at this point to enforce their own regulations.  This is why even though CBD is clearly federally legal, it can still be illegal in some pockets of the country.

State-by-State Legalities of CBD

It goes without saying that in states where cannabis is legal for recreational and medicinal use, CBD sourced from either marijuana or industrial hemp is legal. For some states, only CBD that has been created with industrial hemp is permitted, and in a few states, the laws are hostile towards the compound.

Here is a quick rundown of what you need to know:

Alabama

CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

Alaska

While medical and recreational Cannabis is legal in Alaska, there are no current laws on the books about CBD. It is widely available in shops around the state, so we recommend using common sense and indulging in private.

Arizona

A medical marijuana program is in place in Arizona, but its interpretation has seen some citizens prosecuted for purchasing cannabis oils and extracts, including CBD. New legislation is expected to go to the supreme court. Until this is sorted out, exercise caution.

Arkansas

CBD is legal to buy and sell, and an industrial hemp pilot program is in place for new hemp growers.

California

Marijuana is legal for recreational and medical use in California and CBD derived from either plant is permissible.

Colorado

Marijuana is legal for recreational and medical use in Colorado and CBD derived from either plant is permissible.

Connecticut

CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

Delaware

CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

Washington DC

Marijuana is legal for recreational and medical use in Washington, DC, and CBD derived from either plant is permissible.

Florida

CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

Georgia

Patients with certain medical conditions can possess “low THC oil” developed by the University System of Georgia. The legalities surrounding CBD remain unclear.

Hawaii

 CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

Idaho

Products with any amount of THC, including the federally approved amount of 0.3% remain illegal.

Illinois

The state has implemented the Commercial Low THC Hemp Extract Act which requires distributors to provide certification that their hemp products contain less than 0.3% THC

Indiana

 CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

Iowa

Iowa’s Department of Health has stated that “over-the-counter CBD products are illegal but can be sold with a dispensary license.

Kansas

CBD is legal only if it contains no trace amounts of THC.

Kentucky

CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

Louisiana

Officials have stated that CBD is legal only if it contains no trace amounts of THC, and they have also said they will issue citations to retailers caught selling it.

Maine

Marijuana is legal for recreational and medical use in Maine and CBD derived from either plant is permissible.

Maryland

CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

Massachusetts

Marijuana is legal for recreational and medical use in Massachusetts and CBD derived from either plant is permissible.

Michigan

Marijuana is legal for recreational and medical use in Michigan and CBD derived from either plant is permissible.

Minnesota

CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

Mississippi

The laws for CBD use are restricted to limited medical use, and law enforcement is inclined to treat it as a controlled substance.

Missouri

CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

Montana

CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

Nebraska

CBD is considered a controlled substance, with law enforcement hostile to retailers offering it.

Nevada

Marijuana is legal for recreational and medical use in Nevada and CBD derived from either plant is permissible.

New Hampshire

CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

New Jersey

New Jersey has no laws in place yet regarding CBD, and it is widely available in shops statewide.

New Mexico

CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

New York

CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

North Carolina

CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal. However, officials have historically taken a tough stance on edibles.

North Dakota

CBD is still considered a controlled substance, but enforcement is rare.

Ohio

Ohio has strict regulations surrounding CBD, and it is only allowed to be sold in nine of the state’s 56 dispensaries.

Oklahoma

CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

Oregon

Marijuana is legal for recreational and medical use in Nevada and CBD derived from either plant is permissible.

Pennsylvania

CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

Rhode Island

CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

South Carolina

CBD is legal only as a prescription for certain seizure disorders.

South Dakota

The sale and possession of CBD is considered illegal in South Dakota.

Tennessee

CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

Texas

CBD is legal only if it contains no trace amounts of THC.

Utah

CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

Vermont

Marijuana is legal for recreational and medical use in Vermont and CBD derived from either plant is permissible.

Virginia

CBD is legal for any diagnosed condition upon a doctor’s recommendation

Washington

Marijuana is legal for recreational and medical use in Washington and CBD derived from either plant is permissible.

West Virginia

CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

Wisconsin

CBD derived from industrial hemp with a concentration of less than 0.3% THC is legal.

Wyoming

It is a felony in Wyoming to possess any more than .03 grams of CBD oil containing even a trace amount of CBD.

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