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Is CBD Oil Illegal?

August 25, 2018

CBD oil, also known as cannabidiol, is a compound that is made from the cannabis plant. Known to provide a number of health benefits, it’s currently being hailed as the solution for a number of chronic and other conditions. One question many people have is whether the product is legal or not. When it comes to laws in the United States, the best answer anyone can give is “it depends.” Here are a few things you should know about CBD oil and whether it’s legal for purchase and consumption in your state.

The Claim of Legality

Many manufacturers and sellers of CBD oil claim their product is perfectly legal in all 50 states. The claim is usually supported by noting that there are laws in place that allow hemp products with less than 0.3% THC to be sold on the open market. Most will then point out that their oils contain as little as 0.0% THC. This would seem to indicate that the product could be sold over the counter anywhere in the United States.

To further bolster the claim, some sellers will refer to the 2014 Farm Bill. Also known as the Agricultural Act of 2014, HR 2642 was introduced in the 113th Congress on 10 July, 2013. It’s true that the bill did address hemp cultivation and use, but the scope of the that cultivation and use is somewhat limited.

For example, the bill does allow the legal cultivation of hemp under the auspices of a state pilot program. It can also be grown as part of an educational study or research, provided the cultivation is conducted by a recognized institution of higher learning. In all cases, proper licensing and registration are required.

How Does This Impact Manufacturers?

CBD oil producers who obtain their hemp from authorized sources can legally produce their products. Unfortunately, not all producers obtain the hemp from this type of source. The result is there are products on the market that would not be in compliance with federal laws, even if the manufactures claim they do meet the stipulations found in the 2014 Farm Bill.

This creates a legal issue that could make things difficult for consumers as well as marketers. How do you know if the product meets legal standards? Along with that problem, the fact that the bill does not specifically address CBD oil, it’s left to the states to determine if the sale within their borders. That tends to make things even more confusing.

Different Laws Apply in Different States

Some may think that medical marijuana laws that some states have passed would pave the way for the use of CBD oil. That is not the case. For example, Colorado has legalized the use of marijuana among adults and also has an industrial hemp program in place. The two are not seen as being connected. Thanks to the approved hemp program and not the 2012 action to legalize marijuana within the state, it is possible to manufacture and sell CBD oil in Colorado.

By contrast, the state of Massachusetts has laws that allow private citizens to grow marijuana at home. There are no provisions in state laws for the cultivation of hemp without a state-issued license. As a result, the manufacturer producing the CBD oil could be committing an illegal act. In addition, the consumer who purchases the oil could be breaking the law.

While there are some hints that Congress will address this issue by creating a federal law that allows for the production and sale of CBD oil anywhere in the nation, that is not yet reality. In the meantime, consumers should acquaint themselves with state laws that may apply.

So How Do You Know If The Oil is Illegal in Your State?

The first thing to do is set aside any claims made by a manufacturer or a marketer. You want to find out what laws, if any, are in force in your state. This is sometimes easier said than done, since some state level laws are vague at best. That means depending on how those laws are interpreted, buying or selling the oil could be anything from legal to a misdemeanor to a felony.

As of 2018, 17 states have passed legislation that allows for the sale and possession of CBD oil under certain conditions. Within those states, there are clear conditions related to who may market and purchase the oil. For example, Carly’s Law in the state of Alabama allows prescriptions for the oil through the University of Alabama Birmingham for the treatment of various epileptic conditions.

In neighboring Georgia, state law now allows CBD that has less than 5% THC to be purchased and used to treat a wide range of conditions that include cancer, seizures, and Crohn’s Disease. In states like Kentucky, the laws are similar to those of Georgia, but do not specify where the hemp must come from or who the consumer must purchase the oil from, and often not even if a prescription is required.

The bottom line is that you will need to talk with your doctor and possibly check with a lawyer to determine the current status of CBD oil in your state. Doing so will tell you where the oil can be obtained, under what circumstances, and if using the oil could lead to any legal consequences.

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