If you feel confused about the legality of cannabidiol, or CBD, in the United States, then you are not alone. Some states allow marijuana and products made from it, including California, but not all. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the federal government considers cannabis an illegal Schedule I drug, one falsely labelled medically useless and with a high potential for abuse.
Although science proves cannabis extremely valuable medicinally, as well as non-addictive and impossible to seriously abuse, the federal U.S. Government maintains cannabis in this category. However, what of CBD? Is CBD illegal at the federal level? The quick answer is both yes and no. Yes, if derived from hemp, no if derived from anywhere else.
The real answer is a mite more complicated than that, however. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the 2018 Farm Bill reclassified hemp and made it legal, at the federal level, to cultivate, produce, and sell hemp and its derivatives. This is because hemp contains less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive compound that makes users “high.”
As such, hemp and products made from it cannot make anybody stoned, hence its reclassification. Hemp contains incredibly high levels of CBD and very low levels of THC. CBD derived from hemp is now 100 percent legal anywhere in the United States. You can own it, use it, buy it, transport it, send it in the mail, give it away, and do whatever you like with it.
However, if police catch you with marijuana-derived CBD, you can still find yourself in serious legal trouble. Marijuana contains very high quantities of THC, as well as CBD and other cannabinoids, but because of its THC levels, it retains its Schedule 1 classification and is unlawful. Even if companies extract CBD from marijuana plants, it remains illegal, since it derives from THC-heavy plants.
When Trump signed into law the Farm Bill of 2018 on December 20 last year, it differentiated hemp from other cannabinoid-rich plants according to their chemical composition, focusing specifically on THC. If a plant contains less than .03 percent THC, the bill considers it hemp. Any more, it is marijuana. The law still considers marijuana an illegal substance both federally and in many states.
Hemp is not on the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 anymore. It is now a legal agricultural crop with official recognition as such. The U.S.D.A now regulates hemp crops, as opposed to the D.E.A. Furthermore, this is why you can now buy CBD and ship it anywhere in the United States, legally and without fear of repercussions.
However, CBD does not have the all clear just yet. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration now has the responsibility of overseeing hemp-derived CBD products, since they now fall under its jurisdiction of regulating all cosmetics, dietary supplements, foods, and drugs that contain hemp-derived CBD. Former commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, said in a statement:
“We recognize the potential opportunities that cannabinoids could offer and acknowledge the significant interest in these possibilities. We are committed to pursuing an efficient regulatory framework for allowing product developers that meet the requirements under our authorities to lawfully market these types of products.”
The FDA now has the job of enforcing federal laws relating to CBD products designed for consumer use. As such, under federal law, it reserves the right to regulate any supplement, drug, cosmetic, or foodstuff containing CBD. However, enforcement of federal laws regarding hemp cultivation and industrial applications for its use fall under the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Although federal law is now clear regarding CBD and its origins, individual states may have their own laws, perhaps even just extra ones. States with the strictest laws may not allow production or retail of CBD at all, but you can still own, use, and buy CBD there, regardless how strict they are, provided you buy it online and it derives solely from hemp.
As of yet, nobody has ever faced arrest for buying CBD online anywhere in the United States. If suppliers comply with the relevant regulations set out by the F.D.A., they can ship their products to consumers, even across state lines, without worry. These regulations include processing and packaging laws, so if approved by the F.D.A., there is no cause for concern when it comes to CBD.