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June 12, 2019 13 min read
Is CBD legal? While many articles suggest that CBD is now entirely legal, the truth depends on where you live. The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the list of federally-controlled substances and effectively reclassified the plant as an agricultural commodity, therefore, legalizing its production on a federal level. When it comes to the legality of hemp through state law, however, that is a different story.
Most states with medical marijuana and/or recreational marijuana programs generally have embraced hemp-derived CBD products due to cannabis being inextricably linked with reform. States with a history of opposing such reform also tend to be questioning the legality of CBD and writing their own laws about it.
The controversy around hemp and CBD stems from our country's century-long federal ban on it. The hamp plant, otherwise known as Cannabis Sativa L, from which CBD is derived, is a very close relative of the marijuana plant, scientifically known as Cannabis Indica. The key differences between the two lies in both the chemical and physical characteristics of them. Hemp's lack of THC, the psychoactive element that produces the all-too-familiar high effect, is the most notable difference between both hemp and cannabis; whereas THC levels in the typical marijuana plant can reach levels as high as 40%. Other physical characteristics such as longer stalks, loosely branched, and narrow leaves define hemp whereas short, densely branched, and wider leaves comprise the typical marijuana plant.
The legality of hemp ultimately lies in the Farm Bill's classification as have 0.3% or less THC concentrations by volume. While many hemp-derived CBD products have 0% THC, meaning despite the legal limit, there is still an immeasurable amount that would still pass any cannabinoid and drug test alike, that allowable amount is considered threatening enough to anti-marijuana proponents - so where does your state stand?
Starting in 2014, Alabama passed several laws to establish and protect the use of CBD as it pertains to medical issues. Following the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill, the Alabama Attorney General's office released a public notice re-affirming its legal status.
CBD | LEGAL
Alaska established their medical marijuana program back in 1998, and as of 2014, they've passed its use recreationally. Not only are CBD products legal, but its full-on cultivation of industrial hemp is being swiftly passed through a series of legitimizing measures.
Arizona passed Prop 203 in 2010 to establish their medical marijuana program. In 2014, the legality of medical CBD oil came before a judge in Maricopa County, who ruled that the law "authorizes qualifying patients to use extracts, including CBD oil, prepared from the marijuana plant." Most recently, local authorities have been quoted publicly as starting they are respecting federal guidelines of CBD products' requirement of containing less than 0.3% THC concentration by volume. The bottom line is, if you are a medical patient, you are safe.
In March of 2019, Arkansas Governor Hutchinson signed the law that effectively decriminalizes hemp-derived CBD products, effectively making it safe to possess and consume. It is worth noting, however, that decriminalization and legalization are two very different terms. Arkansas allow the ability to possess and consume CBD products, meaning you will not be prosecuted for doing so. However, the typical resident may not grow or sell hemp and its associated products due to the lack of full-on legalization.
California is a notoriously cannabis-friendly state. With fully recreational cannabis laws now in place, a medical program that spans decades, and now a booming CBD industry that develops nearly anything you can possibly imagine with CBD infused in it, you should have no legal worries about consuming CBD in California.
We will mention, however, that if you choose to vape CBD, vaping in the state is considered smoking; so be aware that you might want to avoid vaping your CBD in public places.
Colorado was the first state in the country to establish a recreational cannabis program. Similar to California, your worries towards prosecution about consuming hemp-derived, or even cannabis-derived CBD are shut away.
The state of Connecticut legalized the usage of CBD oil courtesy of HB-5780 passed in 2015 and SB-603 in 2017. You should have no trouble possessing and consuming hemp-derived and marijuana-derived CBD products within the state.
In the state of Delaware, the only way to legally obtain cannabis is to be a qualified patient through its state-run medical program. Despite widespread decriminalization effectively protecting residents from prosecution over small amounts of cannabis, full-on legalization of the THC-rich plant is still fairly illegal.
On the other hand, when it comes to hemp-derived CBD products, HB-385 passed in 2014 allows the medicinal and recreational use of CBD.
Florida's stance on CBD is confusing to say the least. After a failed attempt to start a state-wide medical marijuana program back in 2014, state lawmakers passed another bill two years later which established one of the most restrictive medical marijuana programs in the nation; with its most haunting aspect of the program being the total ban on consuming marijuana flower. Marijuana flower also applies to hemp flower, which by design does not contain the THC potency you might otherwise expect from marijuana.
At the same time of the 2014 medical marijuana program rejection, the state also passed the "Charlotte's Web" law aimed at protecting those from using high-potency CBD products for qualifying medical patients. While the law effectively decriminalizes consumption of CBD, high profile cases exist of residents being arrested for possession speaks otherwise.
Despite a massive disdain for marijuana, the state of Georgia recognizes the therapeutic efficacy of it for serious and often fatal diseases. As such, they exercise a zero-tolerance policy on THC for recreational uses, but allow a restrictive medical marijuana program. The Georgia Department of Public Health allows qualified patients to legally possess up to 20 fluid ounces of "low THC oil", which is derived from the marijuana plant. The effectiveness of the program is limited as the state bans the cultivation and manufacturing of "low THC oil."
When it comes to hemp-derived CBD products, business is booming. With the lack of legal accessibility to manage a variety of ailments, Georgians look to CBD as that alternative solution.
Despite its inherent beauty, Hawaii still regards CBD in the same light as THC. According to the state's Department of Health, CBD remains legal only to medical patients with a prescription. Any deviation from qualifying patients with prescriptions and you may risk prosecution. The bottom line: please be careful.
Idaho historically opposes marijuana, and to that extent, CBD. Possession of even small amounts for personal use is considered a misdemeanor. As CBD surges in popularity however, there has been attempts to pass legislation about incorporating an exception specifically for the compound. A 2015 bill aimed at doing that was vetoed by the Governor.
Over the last five years, Illinois has developed a very robust medical marijuana program which includes decriminalization for recreational users. Thanks to bipartisan support, the state recently passed recreational cannabis laws that are to go into effect by 2020. With such cannabis-friendly policies, CBD users have little to worry about.
Indiana is another state that might prove to be a gray area. While the state is staunchly against THC-anything and therefore does not develop a medical marijuana program, hemp-derived CBD is categorized differently. In fact, 2017 marked the passing of a bill that effectively legalizes the compound and its associated products for qualifying patients. In 2018, state lawmakers passed a second bill for recreational use so as long as the product follows federal guidelines of containing no more than 0.3% THC by volume.
Iowa neither has medical nor recreational cannabis programs in place. Recent attempts to reduce or decriminalize the possession and/or consumption of marijuana have failed. The state recently passed a stringent law on using CBD for medical purposes only.
When it comes to retailers and small businesses the produce and sell CBD products, the business must be affiliated with the state-sponsored medical program, otherwise, will face prosecution.
Similar to indiana's stance on marijuana, Kansas has extremely strict laws with little-to-no hope for change in sight. Luckily, there is a clear distinction on being honored differentiating hemp-derived CBD products and marijuana-derived CBD products. The state follows the federal guidelines for the differentiation between the two products and those that contain that THC concentration are allowed to be sold, possessed, and consumed for state residents.
When it comes to marijuana, residents cannot legally purchase, possess, or consume it for both medical and recreational purposes. CBD and its associated products can be prescribed by healthcare professionals to qualifying patients; but anything related to recreational usage is strictly prohibited.
As the state's economy is fueled by agriculture, the 2018 Farm Bill provided a huge win for the state as several pilot programs for the cultivation of hemp have started to boom.
Currently, Louisiana does not have any programs in place for both marijuana and hemp-derived CBD products. State lawmakers are in the process of passing several bills designed to provide medical cannabis to qualified patients and are pressing for the full-on legalization of CBD cultivation, sales, and consumption for both medical patients and recreational users.
To this extent, legally, CBD remains illegal until the political landscape changes.
Maine has long-been a cannabis-friendly state. With a medical marijuana program reaching back to 1999, decriminalization dating back to 2009, and full-on recreational legalization taking effect in 2020; CBD users may enjoy their products worry-free within the confines of the Pine Tree state.
While not fully legalized, marijuana in Maryland is decriminalized and both THC and CBD products are accessible through its state-run medical program. Police in Maryland are not worried about your CBD, even for recreational purposes.
Massachusetts recently passed legalization of marijuana and to that effect, hemp-derived CBD products for qualified patients and recreational users alike are free to go about finding their relief.
Michigan launched their medical marijuana program back in 2008 successfully. Ten years later, 2018 marked the state being the 10th for recreational cannabis legalization. Retail sale of recreational marijuana is slated to begin in 2020. With relaxed cannabis laws as the state suggests, CBD is a welcome product in Michigan.
Minnesota was an early adopter of decriminalization in the 1970s but has been slow to reform its stance as the years went by. Today, Minnesota's highly-restrictive medical program is available only to medical patients suffering from severe and often terminal illness. When it comes to hemp-derived CBD however, the state has embraced hemp cultivation and are working to pass legislation to regulate CBD product sales.
The bottom line is this: Mississippi hates cannabis and all derivatives of it, including but not limited to even hemp-derived CBD products; and will enforce its laws with extreme prejudice.
In 2014, state lawmakers passed Harper Grace's law to effectively decriminalize hemp-derived CBD products for patients suffering with severe and often terminal illnesses. While the law is aimed at protecting its patients, a series of legal red tape often makes accessibility a major issue.
CBD | LEGAL FOR ALL MEDICAL PATIENTS
Missouri's unfriendly attitude towards both marijuana and hemp products may not be as bad as other state attitudes. There is a loose decriminalization in place for the state on possession and restrictive law on patients using CBD to treat specifically epilepsy.
Within the state, several municipalities have taken further action to reform both marijuana and hemp policies to a more progressive stance. Exercise caution as the possession, sale, and consumption within the state and outside of the few progressive cities raises concern by law enforcement.
Montana is not super-friendly with cannabis as the state has one of the most restrictive programs in the country. Their stance towards hemp-derived CBD products, however, is different. In 2001, Montana passed SB-261 which legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp and categorized it as a commodity provided that it contains less than 0.3% THC (read: it helped set the precedent for the Federal Government to classify the crop as a commodity versus a drug).
Rest assured, your hemp-derived CBD products are safe to possess and consume.
While the first ever mass cultivation of hemp was grown out of Nebraska, we would not recommend flaunting your love for CBD products in public. The Nebraska Attorney General recently released a statement to law enforcement reminding residents that CBD is a cannabis product and therefore, illegal in the state.
Despite Nevada's history of cannabis prohibition, the state has done a full 180-degree turn and fully legalized cannabis in 2017. Residents and visitors alike may consume THC and CBD products state-wide.
Marijuana-wise, New Hampshire is in the middle of the pack. The state decriminalized marijuana and its associated THC products with a strict medical program. CBD-wise, New Hampshire is a relatively friendly place, with little risk of getting into trouble with law enforcement. While the state is rather hands-off, local government efforts to ban sales remains an issue
With a robust medical marijuana program in place and efforts to expand and eventually, legalize THC products for recreational use, New Jersey's stance on CBD leans on the friendly side of the spectrum.
New Mexico has progressive marijuana policies features the likes of a state-wide decriminalization attitude, a medical marijuana program, and certain cities heading into full-on, recreational legalization for its residents. For the most part, CBD products are the least of the state's concerns over personal affairs.
While New York might not yet be a fully legal state with laws in place pointing towards recreational cannabis use, the Governor suggests that the state is well on its way to achieving that. For CBD and its associated wellness products, the state adopts the federal stance on its products - THC content must be at or below 0.3% THC by volume to retain its legality.
North Carolina has restrictive marijuana policies, and any potential reform to change is a shot in the dark. The state, however, did legalize industrial hemp cultivation in 2017 and passed a law allowing the consumption of hemp-derived CBD products for qualifying patients.
Determining a qualifying patient is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. All-in-all, we recommend avoiding this state should you opt for enjoying your CBD products.
North Dakota allows for the legal cultivation of industrial hemp. The state, however, does have strict possession laws for cannabis; so, what does this mean for CBD products? According to local authorities, CBD products ARE legal, but there have been attempts at redefining the legal THC content threshold to be lowered to 0.1%, which would cast majority of hemp-derived CBD products into legal question.
Ohio decriminalized marijuana and hemp-derived products through its medical program. State lawmakers are now in the works of developing legislature to further regulate sales of CBD products.
While not particularly cannabis-friendly, 2015 marked Oklahoma's shift in attitude towards the sale and consumption of hemp-derived CBD products for restricted uses. In 2017, state lawmakers legally redefined the distinction between a THC-rich product versus a hemp-derived and CBD-rich product. While not expressly legalized, CBD is widely available in Oklahoma with few reports of law enforcement issues.
Between full-scale hemp and cannabis cultivation, medical programs, and recreationally legal cannabis in effect, CBD are products are welcome!
Pennsylvania has its own state-wide medical marijuana program and several large cities within the state and have gone as far as decriminalizing its possession of cannabis. The state has also passed several bills on the cultivation and research of hemp-derived CBD products. This is a relatively safe state for CBD.
While marijuana has not undergone even decriminalization, Rhode Island lawmakers have passed laws that effectively endorse the cultivation, possession, and consumption of hemp-derived CBD products within its border. The state adheres to federal guidelines of what defines a CBD product versus that of a cannabis-derived product.
South Carolina remains unfriendly towards marijuana; but the state has done its due diligence to inform its residents of the distinction between marijuana products and that of hemp. In 2014, the state rolled out CBD products for medical use and in 2017, South Carolina lifted its ban on hemp cultivation, one year before the Federal Government did the same.
Like Mississippi, South Dakota exercise a zero-tolerance policy towards marijuana. Any trace amounts of THC in hemp-derived CBD products are subject to prosecution.
Cannabis is still very illegal in Tennessee; but as of 2015, state lawmakers have begun passive legislation on allowing CBD to be prescribed for specific medical ailments. The extra-rule about this is that the CBD must be procured out-of-state. in 2017, Tennessee enacted HB-1164 which legalized the cultivation and processing of hemp plants with a THC level of less than 0.3%.
Neither marijuana, nor the cultivation of hemp is legal in the state of Texas. The state, however, did pass a law in 2015 legalizing the prescription of CBD oil for certain medical conditions, but remains highly restrictive. Outside the realm of medicine, reports have shown prosecution to occur if caught with possession or consumption. The frequency and level of prosecution varies from city-to-city.
Utah maintains its attitude towards marijuana's illegality on a Federal level. CBD products, however, are an exception, provided that after passing HB-0105 back in 2014, the substance is to be prescribed under the state's restrictive medical marijuana program.
When it comes to recreational legality of CBD products, Utah's stance remains in question.
Both THC-rich and CBD-rich products are fully legal and available for medical and recreational use within the state. You should be welcomed in the state of Vermont.
Unfortunately, both medical and recreational cannabis remains illegal in the state of Virginia. There is, however, a law on their books effectively decriminalizing possession of hemp-derived CBD products so long as it is treating epilepsy. In 2015, the state also passed the legalization on the cultivation of industrial hemp.
Washington state lies with the other states that have fully legalized medical and recreational cannabis. Rest easy, knowing that your CBD products are safe for consumption state-wide.
Despite ongoing cannabis prohibition, West Virginia's HB-2694 reconfirmed the Federal Government's definition and legality of hemp and CBD products.
Back in 2017, Wisconsin re-opened the cultivation of hemp and rolled out its medical program to include hemp-derived CBD products defined as such by the Federal Government. Despite the state's attitude towards marijuana and its staunch, anti-marijuana policies, hemp-derived CBD products are no longer a concern.
Wyoming exists as one of the most-strict states when it comes to cannabis-anything. There is one, very restrictive medical program that classifies CBD products to be prescribed. The drawback here, is that legal accessibility to the CBD oil remains littered with red tape.
Hemp may be federally-legal to cultivate; and countless states have adopted varying degrees of leniency towards its CBD-rich products to be possessed and consumed. At the end of the day, however, it's ultimately up to the state you reside in. Please be cognizant of your state's laws and what you can and cannot do as you take on this journey of elevating your health and wellness through premium, Full Spectrum CBD products.
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