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Is CBD Legal? What You Should Know

Federally: yes, CBD and hemp products are legal. On a state-level: It depends.

Because CBD was only just legalized in the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD is still subject to quickly evolving rules and regulations on the state level— something we’ll get into further in this post. 

Here’s what you need to know about CBD and its legal status….

Disclaimer: This piece is for informational purposes only. This piece in no way is or claims to be legal advice and should not be misconstrued as such.

What is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol and is one of the more than 100 known cannabinoids— chemical compounds— produced by the Cannabis Sativa plant. Cannabidiol is one of the best-known cannabinoids now, right up there with its psychoactive cousin THC. 

CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, meaning that consuming it won’t get you “high” or intoxicated. Instead, CBD is believed to help with the uptake of beneficial molecules and inhibit the uptake of less desirable molecules by your body’s endocannabinoid system. It’s believed that CBD acts as a facilitator and helps your body run more efficiently.

Is CBD Legal?

It’s complicated.

We’re going to try and set the record straight. Below we’ll help answer the questions about CBD and how it’s legally a different product than marijuana.

Hemp vs. Marijuana: Understanding the Difference

A lot of the confusion surrounding CBD’s legality has to do with its similarity to traditional THC marijuana. 

Visually, hemp flower and marijuana look nearly identical. They also smell very similar, making the first few years of the federal hemp program very challenging for US Postal Inspection Service workers. Both hemp flower and marijuana contain CBD, but the difference is in their respective levels of THC. Hemp flower, by legal definition, is a cannabis flower that contains less than 0.3% THC by weight. 

Because marijuana plants contain more THC, a Schedule I substance according to the DEA, it is federally illegal in the United States.

Can You Buy and Sell CBD Legally?

You can buy CBD and hemp products online provided that the CBD in those products is derived from hemp as defined by the 2018 Farm Bill and not marijuana plants— cannabis containing more than 0.3% THC by dry weight.

Can You Ship CBD?

According to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp flower and other CBD products are considered to be industrial hemp products and shipped legally via the United States Postal Service. 

Judge James Gilbert ruled as such in the KAB vs. United States Postal Service case when he declared that products like CBD oils and edibles derived from hemp are allowed to be shipped via the postal service. 

However, new federal legislation called the “Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act,” has effectively banned the online sale and shipment of vaporizers and vaporizer cartridges. This includes both CBD, delta-8 THC, and other cannabinoid cartridges.

Why is CBD Legal?

Most CBD is legal because it is harvested from hemp plants— cannabis plants that contain less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. CBD harvested from marijuana plants— cannabis plants whose THC content exceeds that 0.3% dry weight limit would be considered illegal. 

As a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid, CBD has largely been ignored by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency; the very same agency that declared delta-9 THC a Schedule I controlled substance. Knowing this, and that CBD harvested from marijuana plants is illegal, it’s fair to say that CBD products are legal because it’s they don’t contain delta-9 THC and won’t lead to intoxication.

Where is CBD Legal?

While the 2018 Farm Bill more or less legalized hemp and CBD in one sweeping bill, the United States is exactly that; a group of states working together, and sometimes against each other. 

States that already have legalized medical marijuana for the most part also allow the use of CBD products for medical and recreational use. States that aren’t so ‘with the times’ on marijuana can sometimes have laws on the books that dictate what kinds of CBD are legal and which are prohibited.

Here’s a state-by-state list of CBD’s legality in all 50 states:

Alabama – Legalized medical marijuana. CBD products approved by the FDA and have less than 0.3% THC are legal for recreational use.

Alaska – Legalized recreational marijuana use. CBD products approved by the FDA are okay.

Arizona – Legalized recreational marijuana use. CBD products approved by the FDA are okay.

Arkansas – Legalized medicinal marijuana use. CBD products approved by the FDA are okay.

California – Legalized recreational marijuana use. CBD products approved by the FDA are okay.

Colorado – Legalized recreational marijuana use. CBD products approved by the FDA are okay.

Connecticut – Legalized recreational marijuana. CBD products approved by the FDA are okay.

Deleware – Decriminalized marijuana possession. Medicinal marijuana is legal. CBD products approved by the FDA are okay.

Florida – Legalized medical marijuana. CBD products approved by the FDA are okay.

Georgia – Legal to use CBD products below 0.3% delta-9 THC levels recreationally. Medicinal patients may use CBD oil with less than 5% THC.

Hawaii – Decriminalized marijuana possession. Medicinal marijuana is legal. CBD products approved by the FDA are okay.

Idaho – Cannabis of all kinds, both THC marijuana and CBD, is illegal in Idaho.

Illinois – Legalized recreational marijuana. CBD products approved by the FDA are okay.

Indiana – CBD oils that contain less than 0.3% THC are okay as long as it is not used with other controlled substances.

Iowa – CBD oils are legal as long as they are compliant with chapter 124E of the Iowa Code.

Kansas – CBD products that are approved by the FDA and are THC-free are okay. Possession of marijuana is still illegal. 

Kentucky – CBD oil is legal to use as long as it contains less than 0.3% delta-9 THC.

Louisiana – Legalized medical marijuana. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

Maine – Legalized recreational marijuana. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

Maryland – Legalized medical marijuana. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

Massachusetts – Legalized recreational marijuana. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

Michigan – Legalized recreational use. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

Minnesota – Legalized medical marijuana. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

Mississippi – CBD oils and products that contain less than 0.3% THC and are approved by the FDA are okay. Medical patients may use CBD products that contain total THC levels of up to 0.5%.

Missouri – Legalized medical marijuana. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

Montana – Legalized recreational marijuana. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

Nebraska – Decriminalized marijuana possession. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

Nevada – Legalized recreational marijuana. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

New Hampshire – Legalized medical marijuana. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

New Jersey – Legalized recreational marijuana. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

New Mexico – Legalized recreational marijuana. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

New York – Legalized recreational marijuana. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

North Carolina – Marijuana decriminalized. Hemp & CBD products are allowed for medical use as long as they contain less than 0.9% total THC.

North Dakota – Legalized medical marijuana. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

Ohio – Legalized medical marijuana. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

Oklahoma – Makes the distinction between marijuana and CBD hemp products. CBD products are legal and okay for use as long as they are approved by the FDA and contain less than 0.3% delta-9 THC.

Oregon – Legalized recreational marijuana. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

Pennsylvania – Legalized medical marijuana. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

Rhode Island – Legalized medical marijuana. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

South Carolina – CBD products that contain less than 0.3% delta-9 THC and are approved by the FDA are okay. CBD products for medical use can contain up to 0.9% delta-9 THC.

South Dakota – CBD use is okay as long as the product is okayed by the FDA.

Tennessee – CBD oil that contains less than 0.3% delta-9 THC and is approved by the FDA is okay. CBD products for medical use can contain up to 0.9% delta-9 THC.

Texas – CBD products are okayed as long as they are FDA-approved and contain less than 0.3% delta-9 THC. CBD products for medicinal use can contain up to 0.5% delta-9 THC.

Utah – CBD oils containing less than 0.3% delta-9 THC are okay. CBD edibles are illegal with the exception of gelatin cubes (as to not appear like candy to children.)

Vermont – Legalized recreational marijuana. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

Virginia – Legalized recreational marijuana. CBD is legal if it is obtained from industrial hemp plants and is okayed by the FDA. Medical CBD products can contain up to 0.5% of delta-9 THC.

Washington – Legalized recreational marijuana. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

West Virginia – Legalized medical marijuana. CBD products that are approved by the FDA are okay.

Wisconsin – Unclear whether or not CBD products are legal. Possession of CBD products is considered a misdemeanor. However, the AG has advised law enforcement to not enforce this law.

Wyoming – CBD products are legal as long as they are derived from industrial hemp and contain less than 0.3% delta-9 THC.

Disclaimer: This piece is for informational purposes only. This piece in no way is or claims to be legal advice and should not be misconstrued as such.

Sources: 

  1. Team, SingleCare. “CBD Statistics 2021.” The Checkup, 13 May 2020, https://www.singlecare.com/blog/news/cbd-statistics/.
  2. “Why Are Hemp and CBD Legal, but Marijuana Isn’t?” Jetton & Meredith, PLLC, 25 Nov. 2019, https://www.jettonmeredithlaw.com/blog /2019/november/why-are-hemp-and-cbd-legal-but-marijuana-isnt-/.
  3. Staff, Healthcanal. “Is CBD Legal All States? Or Are There Some Exceptions 2021?” Healthcanal.Com, 10 Sept. 2021, https://www.healthcanal.com/is-cbd-legal-state.
  4. “MAP OF MARIJUANA LEGALITY BY STATE.” DISA, https://disa.com/map-of-marijuana-legality-by-state. Accessed 9 Dec. 2021.
  5. “P.S. Docket No. MLB 18-39.” Home – About.Usps.Com, 8 Nov. 2018, https://about.usps.com/who-we-are/judicial/admin-decisions/2018/mlb-18-39-fd.htm.
  6. Hyland, and Radcliff. “New Law ENDS Online Sales of Vaping Products to Minors.” Taylor English, https://www.taylorenglish.com/newsroom-alerts-New-Law-ENDS-Online-Sales-of-Vaping-Products-to-Minors.html.