Although CBD derived from hemp plants is legal on a federal level due to the 2018 Farm Bill, the law surrounding CBD use can vary significantly from state to state.
While CBD from hemp is legal in Alabama (our home state at Bradford Wellness Co.), there is some variation between states.
So, where is CBD illegal in the US?
If it’s made from hemp, all CBD and its products are fully legal according to the federal government.
Some states have different laws about CBD oil being derived from marijuana, but the majority of states allow its use as well.
CBD and the Controlled Substances Act
The primary source of confusion surrounding CBD legality is its relationship to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
The CSA is a federal policy that regulates drugs and other substances based on their potential for abuse and medical value.
It categorizes controlled substances into five schedules, with Schedule I being the most restrictive category.
Currently, marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are classified as Schedule I substances, while CBD is not listed at all.
This means that, from a federal standpoint, CBD is considered legal.
Is CBD legal federally?
The legality of cannabidiol (CBD) varies across the US and primarily hinges on its source.
At the federal level, CBD derived from hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant with a THC content of less than 0.3%, is legal under the 2018 Farm Bill.
This landmark legislation effectively declassified hemp as a Controlled Substance, thus making CBD derived from hemp – and its products – fully legal in all 50 states.
How this came to be
The journey CBD derived from hemp to become legal has been a long and winding road.
Historically, hemp was broadly cultivated in early America for its fiber and seeds, supplying materials for things like textile, paper, and oil.
Despite its utility, hemp became entangled with its psychoactive cousin, marijuana, leading to its prohibition in the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act.
This essentially stripped away the differences between hemp and marijuana, grouping them under one umbrella and making them equally illegal.
This situation persisted until the 21st century when the Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the 2014 Farm Bill, allowed for state-regulated hemp research programs.
This paved the way for wider acceptance of hemp’s potential commercial value and culminated in the 2018 Farm Bill.
This legislation removed hemp, defined as cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, from the Controlled Substances Act.
Consequently, this CBD derived from hemp federally legal and marked a significant shift in America’s policy towards hemp and CBD.
Is CBD gummies legal in all states?
CBD gummies , like other CBD products, are legal at the federal level if they are derived from hemp plants.
However, state laws regulating CBD can still affect access to these products in some areas.
For example, some states may require specific labeling or testing requirements for CBD products to be legally sold.
Additionally, there may be restrictions on where and how these products can be marketed.
Why don’t all the states have the same policies?
The variation in the level of approved THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in CBD products from state to state stems from a myriad of factors, each deeply influenced by the socio-political climate, historical factors, and the state’s understanding of cannabis and its potential benefits and harms.
States like Colorado, California, and Oregon, which have a more liberal stance towards cannabis, have set their THC limits in alignment with federal law or, in some cases, even more leniently.
This is because these states recognize the therapeutic potential of cannabis and accept the minimal psychoactive effects that come with a 0.3% THC concentration as a trade-off.
The economic upside, with the growth of the cannabis industry creating jobs and contributing to the state’s GDP, also plays a significant role in their decision-making.
On the contrary, some states take a more conservative approach.
They enforce stricter THC limits due to concerns related to public safety, potential misuse, and the psychoactive effects of THC.
The conservative political climate in these states often equates cannabis use with moral and societal decay, which influences policy decisions.
In Idaho, for example, the law requires CBD products to have zero THC, a regulation far stricter than what the government says is legal.
The patchwork of policies we see across the US is a reflection of the diverse and nuanced views on cannabis and its derivatives.
State Stances on CBD
Here’s a comprehensive list of states where CBD is legal.
Is CBD illegal for minors?
In most states, CBD is not accessible over the counter to individuals under the age of 18 or 21, depending on the state.
Certain states, like California, state that selling CBD and CBD products to minors is illegal, regardless of its source.
On the other hand, states like Colorado follow a more lenient approach.
Here it is legal to sell CBD products to minors with the consent of a guardian and a prescription from a healthcare provider.
In general, minors should not consume CBD without the guidance of a healthcare provider.
As changes are made in different states to make CBD more legal, it’s important for both parents and minors to stay informed about the specific CBD policies in their respective states.
Why isn’t CBD recommended for minors?
The cautious stance regarding the use of CBD in minors largely stems from the lack of comprehensive research on how it affects their physical and mental development.
Although CBD is deemed to have a relatively good safety profile, the human brain continues to develop until the mid-20s.
Introducing substances like CBD during this crucial period could potentially interfere with this development.
Moreover, given that CBD is a relatively new phenomenon, long-term studies tracking its effects on the developmental trajectory of adolescents are not yet available.
This makes it difficult to predict the long-term impact on mental health, cognitive development, and other aspects of physical health.
Until such comprehensive, longitudinal studies are conducted, the use of CBD in minors remains a valid concern.
In what states is marijuana CBD legal?
At the federal level, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act, which makes it illegal.
However, many states now say that marijuana and its derivatives, including CBD, are legal.
Currently, the 11 states that have legalized medical marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
In addition, 22 states allow for the use of CBD derived from marjuana for medicinal purposes.
These include Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and Utah.
In the remaining states, laws regarding marijuana and cannabis-derived CBD vary, and possession could potentially lead to criminal charges.
Once again, always check the details about what forms of CBD and other cannabis products are legal in your state.
What happens if I am caught with an illegal CBD product in my state?
In some states, being found in possession of illegal CBD products may result in fines, criminal charges, and potential jail time.
However, in many instances, first-time offenses may be treated more leniently, possibly resulting in a fine or a warning.
In states with stringent cannabis laws, the penalties may be more severe, especially if the THC content of the CBD product exceeds the legal limit.
Whether or not you know if something is legal, is typically not considered a valid defense, so it’s essential to stay informed about your state’s specific CBD regulations. Always consult legal advice if you face such a situation.
What about medical cannabis programs?
There can be significant variation in the structure and operation of medical cannabis license programs between different jurisdictions.
Some programs allow patients to cultivate their own marijuana plants for personal use, while others only permit the acquisition of medical marijuana through state-licensed dispensaries.
The qualifying conditions for access this type of cannabis can also vary widely.
Some states have an extensive list of qualifying conditions, while others are more conservative and only permit the use of medical marijuana for a limited set of severe illnesses.
In addition, the methods of marijuana consumption allowed (smoked, vaporized, ingested, etc.) and the maximum quantity a patient can possess at one time are other aspects that can differ between programs.
Consequently, individuals seeking to use medical marijuana or CBD products derived from marijuana must acquaint themselves with the specific regulations in their specific state.
Where can I get more information about whether CBD is legal in my state?
To find information about whether types of CBD are legal or illegal in your specific state, you can visit the official website of your state’s Department of Health or equivalent agency.
They often provide up-to-date information about the state’s current stance on CBD and other cannabis and CBD products.
Additionally, organizations such as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) have extensive databases that include state-specific laws on CBD.
Consulting a local legal expert or healthcare provider can also be beneficial as they would be familiar with the most current laws and regulations in your area.
If you’re traveling to another state or even internationally, make sure you verify that your CBD is legal at your destination.
In a Nutshell
The landscape of CBD legality in the United States is complex and ever-changing.
There’s definitely some difference between what the federal and state governments say is legal or illegal.
The rules can vary substantially from one state to another.
Before using CBD, particularly if it’s derived from marijuana, individuals must understand the specific laws in their state.
Resources such as official state websites, advocacy organizations like NORML, and legal or health professionals can offer valuable guidance about your legal use of cannabis products.
Legislative changes are a constant possibility, and these changes are typically driven by advocacy, awareness-raising efforts, and impact litigation.
Users and advocates of CBD thus have an ongoing role to play in shaping the legal discourse and landscape.