The Legal Status of CBD in the USA (2019)
Are you confused whether CBD is legal in the United States? What about your home state? Well, industry lawyers say:
- If the CBD product is from HEMP and includes less than 0.3% THC then YES, it is 100% legal to use and own anywhere in the United States.
- If the CBD product is from MARIJUANA, or you are unsure what plant it is made from, then the answer becomes less clear…
That is the quick answer. Owning, using, and buying CBD online is 100% LEGAL anywhere in the United States if the product is made from hemp. All Daddy Burt Hemp Co. CBD products are made from hemp. If you still have other legal questions about CBD, this article simplifies the confusing legal status of CBD by reviewing the popular questions. We are not lawyers, so we are not giving legal advice. Instead, we are compiling information from across the country so people can make sense of their own legal questions.
Note: The information on our website and any other communication of Daddy Burt Hemp Co. is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.
Overview of CBD
What is CBD? Cannabidiol (commonly known as CBD) is one of the 80+ chemical compounds found in cannabis plants and is highly concentrated in hemp (up to 40%). CBD has attracted interest in the health/wellness industry due to its potential for a wide range of health and wellness conditions.
Before we get deep into the legal status of CBD, we want to make sure that we are clear that there is a difference between cannabis, hemp, and marijuana. Although some other sources use these terms interchangeably, they have different legal standing under Federal and State laws – don’t be misguided. Cannabis is a family of plants that includes both marijuana and hemp. But, marijuana and hemp are different plants with unique properties and characteristics.
The 2018 Farm Bill¹ differentiated hemp from marijuana based on their chemical makeup, specifically focusing on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the chemical in marijuana that is responsible for the intoxicating high. According to the 2018 Farm Bill, to be considered hemp, the cannabis plant is required to have less than 0.3% THC. Marijuana, on the other hand, may have up to 30% THC or 100 times that of hemp.
Federal Law: What does The Law Say About CBD?
On December 20, 2018, President Trump enacted the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (commonly known as the 2018 Farm Bill). This removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act (1970) and officially recognized hemp as an agricultural crop. Therefore, regulation of the crop is under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rather than the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). This is why industry lawyers claim it is legal to buy CBD and have it shipped anywhere in the United States.
However, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA²) released a recent statement reminding Americans of the FDA’s responsibility to oversee all dietary supplements, cosmetics, drugs, and foods. This includes products that contain CBD derived from hemp. In the statement, former FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb claimed “we recognize the potential opportunities that cannabis-derived compounds could offer and acknowledge the significant interest in these possibilities. We’re 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.” This simply means that the FDA is still developing its plan for how to regulate CBD products made from hemp.
Who Enforces CBD Laws across the United States?
The FDA enforces laws related to consumer CBD products and reserves the right² to regulate any food, drug, supplement, or cosmetic containing CBD. The United States Department of Agriculture is responsible for enforcing the laws of the plant and enforcement of hemp industrial applications.
Hemp-derived & Marijuana-derived CBD are Different
As you now know, the source of the CBD is an important factor in determining if it is legal federally. There is a legal difference between CBD made from hemp and CBD made from marijuana. If the CBD is hemp-derived, like all Daddy Burt CBD products, then it is federally legal. If the CBD comes from a plant with more than 0.3% THC, then it is considered a marijuana product and is illegal on the federal level. But, this is not the same on the state level for all 50 United States. Different states have different laws on the use and distribution of cannabis products – including some forms of CBD.
State by State Laws on CBD
While federal laws are clear for CBD from hemp and CBD from marijuana, individual states may have additional laws. The strictest states may prevent retail stores from selling CBD and local laboratories from producing it. But, even in the most strict states, you are allowed to use, own, and buy CBD online – as long as it is made from hemp.
State Laws on Cannabis
States are treating cannabis plants, in various ways. In some states, marijuana-derived CBD is illegal, but hemp-derived CBD is legal. In other states, medical marijuana is legal while recreational marijuana is illegal. Ten states have legalized all forms of cannabis for recreational use for anyone over the age of 21.
There is a growing push by lobbyists and activists to legalize cannabis. This is in line with the changes seen in the neighboring countries of Mexico³ and Canada⁴. So, what is legal and where is it legal? We have written up a detailed legal review for Kentucky, where our headquarters, farms, processing, and shipping is located. For all other states, we recommend this website⁵ for their detailed overview of the state-level laws on CBD and cannabis. Although the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp-derived CBD nationally, you are still required to follow your state-specific laws as well.
Can CBD be Delivered and Shipped to my State?
Jonathan Miller is the general counsel for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable⁶. He claims that he has never come across a case involving someone arrested for purchasing CBD from online stores. Therefore, CBD products can be delivered to you if the relevant FDA regulations are followed by the supplier. Daddy Burt’s CBD products can be bought online and shipped to anywhere in the United States. Our products follow FDA regulations and are processed in FDA-approved, food grade bottling facilities.
Due to state regulations, CBD may not be available for purchase in retails stores in some states. To deeply understand the legality of buying cannabis products across border lines, you should refer to the legal status of the product at the federal and state levels.
CBD Court Cases, Legal Battles, & Stories
- In a recent Wyoming story covered by the Star Tribune⁷, a woman was jailed for possession of marijuana. Her case was dismissed after it was established that the product was, in fact, CBD hemp oil and not marijuana oil.
- A mother and her son were arrested on December 14, 2018, for running a CBD oil retail shop in Scotts Bluff County⁸, which violates Nebraska state regulations. The case was dismissed in January when Dave Eubanks, County Attorney General claimed that “his office has more pressing matters than prosecuting an oil that can’t get you high.”
- On January 31, 2019, NBC⁹ published an article on the case of a young man arrested for possession of CBD. While the man was traveling in Tarrant County (Texas), CBD oil was found by officers during a routine traffic check. The charge was eventually dismissed. The Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office reminded the public¹⁰ that his CBD oil was illegal unless someone complied with the Texas Compassionate Use Act. Despite this recent statement, a former Fort Worth law enforcer claimed that several of his colleagues in the police force are frequent customers at his CBD oil retail store. His sentiments were echoed by other retailers and CBD users who claimed: “We don’t care what the county district attorney says.”
¹United States Congress. (2018, December). Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018: Conference report to accompany H.R. 2.
²Office of the Commissioner. Food and Drug Administration. (2018, December). Press Announcements – Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on signing of the Agriculture Improvement Act and the agency’s regulation of products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds.
³Mexico Supreme Court says ban on recreational marijuana unconstitutional. (2018, October). Reuters. Webpage.
⁴Berke, J. (2018, October). Canada has officially legalized marijuana for all adults. Webpage.
⁵United States – State Info. (2019). NORML Foundation. Webpage.
⁶Miller, J. (2019) U.S. Hemp Roundtable.
⁷Felony CBD case won’t be prosecuted (2018, September). Star Tribune. Webpage.
⁸Earl, D. (2019, January). Nebraska prosecutors to drop case against mother and son who own CBD store. ABC News – KETV Omaha. Webpage.
⁹Friedman, S. & Douglas, J. (2019, January). Healing Power or a Dose of Trouble? CBD Oil Takes Law Enforcement By Surprise. NBC News – 5 FW. Webpage.
¹⁰Mitchell, M. (2019, February). ‘We don’t care what the district attorney says,’ CBD oil buyers in Tarrant County say. Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Webpage.