Is CBD Oil Legal?
Short answer: yes, although there are some caveats.
Long answer: it’s still a little complicated. There's no doubt that CBD is gaining in popularity and acceptance worldwide due to all of the excellent health benefits it offers. However, in the U.S., each state’s laws on CBD still vary widely. The most critical factors that determines if CBD is legal or not is whether it was produced by a state-licensed grower, and if was derived from hemp or marijuana.
Even though hemp contains virtually no THC (less than .3%), that raises the question of whether hemp-derived CBD oil is legal, and although the answer is overwhelming yes, there are still some states that have not fully embraced the plant. CBD derived from hemp is legal in most states, and this includes all hemp-derived CBD products like oils, edibles, and ointments. However, CBD derived from marijuana does not provide the same legal allowances as hemp-derived CBD. In some states, marijuana-derived CBD is legal. But in other states, its legal status is dependent on different factors and conditions.
Where is CBD Legal?
There are currently ten states where cannabis is legal for both medicinal and recreational use. In these nine states, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, CBD which comes from hemp or marijuana is allowed to be used.
There are currently 22 states where cannabis is legal for medical use with a doctor’s prescription. These states include Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.
Fifteen states currently have limited-access laws which allow the use of CBD oil specifically, but there are restrictions on the THC levels allowed, and these vary by jurisdiction. These 15 states are Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming, and Wisconsin.
There are currently four states where all types of marijuana and marijuana-derived products are illegal, and these states include Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. If you live in one of these states, it is essential that you know what kind of CBD extract you are using and where exactly it came from.
As a reminder, hemp-derived CBD that contains <0.3% THC is safe to use anywhere in the US (unless otherwise stated by local law). It is CBD products derived from marijuana which need caution (depending on which state you live in) as each state’s laws vary significantly on this.
2018 Farm Bill
The Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the 2014 Farm Bill, legalized some of the hemp industry's cultivation activities, and in turn, has led to the unprecedented growth of the industry. Following the success of various pilot programs which were made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill, hemp is now gaining acceptance by the general public and many lawmakers. In early-2018, the U.S. Senate introduced The Hemp Farming Act, which is its version of The 2018 Farm Bill. This is a proposed law to remove hemp from Schedule I controlled substances and make it an ordinary agricultural commodity. It would take away the Drug Enforcement Administration’s authority over hemp, and instead, give states the power to oversee its production.
As the legality of CBD is changing rapidly at both the federal and state levels, we recommend you look into your state’s specific laws, before deciding to purchase CBD products. More information on the legal status of CBD, and how these laws are often misstated by media outlets, federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations, can be found here.