In 2018, the United States passed the Farm Bill which was a massive boon for the CBD industry and consumers across the country. The legalization of hemp — defined as cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC — meant that hemp-derived CBD products were now legalized goods that Americans could openly buy and sell.
However, while the federal legalization of hemp is exciting, the exact legal status of CBD in the United States isn’t straightforward as of 2020. For consumers, the number of CBD legal states varies depending on the CBD product in question, and there are still a lot of questions surrounding if CBD is legal or not. Meanwhile, CBD oil for sale remains at the mercy of the United States DEA and FDA who still have the final say in how these products are marketed and labeled.
Is CBD Legal in All States?
Idaho is one of the strictest states concerning CBD legality in the US, but some CBD oil products are still illegal there. For instance, the state has a two-part legal criteria for CBD oils.
Before CBD oils can be sold in Idaho, they must contain zero percent THC and cannot fit the definition of “marijuana” under Idaho Code. Secondly, manufacturers must prepare their CBD oils using mature hemp stalks, fiber from the stalks, oil or “cake” made from the seeds or achene, or any other preparation of the mature stalks or seed.
For a time, CBD’s legal status in Nebraska was steeped in ambiguity leaving many citizens to wonder is CBD legal in all their state? In November 2018, Republican Attorney General Doug Peterson issued a memo reiterating that Nebraska was only a CBD legal state in certain circumstances. The first scenario gave the green light to researchers who were studying CBD as part of an ongoing medical study. Aside from the researchers, Nebraska residents were only permitted to use FDA-approved CBD drugs, such as Epidiolex.
However, with the passing of the Nebraska Hemp Farming Act, Nebraska’s CBD legislation now aligns with the 2018 Farm Bill, legalizing hemp-derived CBD products that contain less than 0.3% THC.
While it seems safe to assume that the 2018 Farm Bill transformed South Dakota into a CBD legal state, the truth is much more complicated. The state has essentially ignored the provisions of the Farm Bill and maintained that all CBD products — including CBD isolate and those made from THC-free or THC-limited hemp — are illegal.
South Dakota’s House of Representatives attempted to legalize industrial hemp with the introduction of House Bill 1911, but the bill was ultimately vetoed by Republican Governor Kristi Noem. As a result, pharmaceutical, FDA-approved CBD is the only form of CBD that’s legally available to South Dakotans.
Although North Dakota is a hemp-derived CBD legal state, the state’s hemp-related legislation does feature some unique stipulations.
A few months after the enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill, North Dakota introduced House Bill 1349, which was written to address the legalization of hemp. The bill stipulates that hemp growers and processors must register and obtain a growing license from a North Dakotan agriculture commissioner — a process that includes background and criminal history checks. Once licensed, hemp growers must allow agricultural commissioners to inspect their grow sites and collect samples at any time.
Aside from being a CBD legal state in 2020, Maine was ahead of the curve when it comes to the legality of hemp-derived CBD: The state legalized industrial hemp growth back in 2009!
Following the introduction of the Farm Bill, Maine lawmakers fine-tuned their hemp laws with LD630. Their legislation adopted the federal definition of hemp (containing no more than 0.3% THC) and also introduced licensing requirements with the state’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (DACF).
Maine has also stipulated that high-quality CBD and hemp products must be accurately labeled and can’t include any unfounded health claims. Finally, companies manufacturing CBD food products must disclose that their products contain CBD and the quantity of CBD.
On December 6th, 2012, Washington became one of the first states to legalize recreational cannabis — legislation that predated the 2018 Farm Bill by six years. However, since then, Washington has tweaked its legislation to remain congruent with federal law and keep CBD legal in all the state.
Following recommendations by the FDA, Washington state lawmakers banned hemp-derived CBD in food and CBD drinks. These CBD products were typically sold by non-licensed cannabis retailers, such as coffee shops, restaurants, and specialty stores. While these products remain illegal as of 2020, Washington is still a CBD legal state. You can buy CBD-infused foods and beverages in Washington provided that you’re over 21, and you’re shopping at a licensed cannabis retailer.
The Future of CBD Legality in All States
While the 2018 Farm Bill paved the way for worry-free access to hemp-derived CBD products, there’s still some legal murkiness to overcome in the year ahead.
Citing a lack of safety evidence, the FDA maintains that CBD-infused foods and beverages are federally illegal. However, that hasn’t stopped hundreds of companies from selling CBD products on thousands of store shelves nationwide. By using opaque sales language — such as referring to CBD as “active hemp extract” and shying away from unfounded health claims — these companies have found a grey-area niche for their products.
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