With cannabidiol (CBD) products becoming more prevalent all around the globe, we’ve seen lots of confusion around CBD legality.
People are always asking us: “So, is CBD legal in the US?”
The truth of the matter is a little more complex than you might think, so we’re going to break it down for once and for all.
To understand the grey area of CBD legality, you must first start with the source of the cannabidiol extracts.
CBD oil products are derived from one of two main sources:
- Medical MarijuanaCBD is the 2nd most prevalent cannabinoid in marijuana (after the psychoactive THC). Because of the unregulated THC concentration in these MMJ-derived cannabidiol extracts, these products are only distributed via licensed dispensaries in states that are medical marijuana friendly. Some MMJ growers have taken it upon themselves to breed strains that are high in CBD and low in THC (such as the Charlotte’s Web strain), but you still need an MMJ recommendation from a doctor in order to legally consume CBD extracts that are derived from MMJ plants.
- Industrial HempAfter the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, the FDA considers hemp oil (and its derivative CBD) to be a dietary supplement. Furthermore, industrial hemp can be imported in all 50 states. If you live in the US, this means you do not need a medical recommendation from a physician to purchase and consume hemp products. As long as the concentration of THC is below 0.3% it is legal for anyone to buy CBD derived from hemp in the US. Since varieties of industrial hemp are specifically bred to ensure low THC and higher CBD production, industrial hemp has become a source of choice for many hemp businesses. Learn more about industrial hemp in our “What is Industrial Hemp?” article.
“Wait a second. Didn’t the DEA just make CBD a Schedule I substance though?”
While the DEA has recently come out with a new “Rule” to clarify how the Controlled Substances Act governs “Marijuana Extracts”, there are some clear issues with this recent news that has taken the CBD industry by storm.
Here’s why industrial hemp CBD companies and consumers shouldn’t be worried:
- Thanks to the Constitutional Separation of Powers, the DEA does not have jurisdiction to alter or write new laws (Congress does).
- Congress has forbidden any Federal funds from being used to “prohibit the transportation, processing, sale or use of industrial hemp that is grown or cultivated in accordance with section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014, within or outside the State in which the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated.” Section 763 of the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2016 (P.L. 114-113) passed on December 18, 2015 (“the Funding Act”).
In summary, if you live in the United States, cannabidiol products made from industrial hemp are legal to purchase and consume in any state.
However, if you obtain CBD products derived from medical marijuana, you must be located in a state in which MMJ has been legalized (and you’re still running the risk that you’re breaking the federal law).
If you’re interested in reading more on the topic, we’ve found that Rod Kight, a lawyer based in Asheville, NC, has written an excellent piece: http://kightoncannabis.com/is-cbd-illegal-under-the-new-dea-marihuana-extract-rule-a-legal-analysis/