Is CBD Legal? Federal & State Laws [2019]

With so much random information being thrown around the internet, it can be very difficult to differentiate what is true and what is false. New laws and bills are constantly being passed that create a great deal of confusion in the cannabis world.

Is CBD legal in all 50 states? Is it legal in the federal government? Do I need a prescription in order to consume CBD?

In this article I’m going to update you on the legal status of CBD, and only CBD, in the United States.

I will not cover the legal status of marijuana or any other substance.

What is CBD?

Surely, you’ve heard of the world-famous cannabis plant. Well cannabis comes in different forms such as potatoes at your local grocery store. One variation of cannabis is called hemp.

All cannabis plants contain cannabinoids, which are a group of similar compounds. The industrial hemp plant happens to contain large quantities of special cannabinoids known as cannabidiol or CBD for short.

Unlike marijuana which contains large quantities of the cannabinoid THC that is responsible for making you feel high, CBD will not make you high. CBD is completely non-psychoactive. Therefore, you will not experience feelings of hunger, uncontrollable laughter, or the perception of time slowing down.

However, CBD will provide many medicinal benefits including reducing inflammation, pain, anxiety, stress, migraines, seizures, depression, and the ability to obtain a much deeper sleep so you can wake up well rested and ready to tackle your daily tasks.

CBD is now offered in a wide variety of forms ranging from gummies, gel caps, tinctures, creams, and e-liquids.

Is CBD Legal Under Federal Law?

The short answer to this question is…it depends.

On December 12, 2018 Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill that removed hemp-derived products from the Schedule 1 list under the Controlled Substances Act.

The bill was passed by a Republican majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate with the intention of providing relief for farmers by allowing them to apply for insurance and grants.

Schedule 1 drugs are substances, chemicals, or drugs considered by the federal government to have no medical use and a high potential for abuse such as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy.

Although the DEA refuses to remove marijuana from the schedule 1 list, the Farm Bill is considered to be the most important victory in the history of U.S. cannabis. This does not however, mean that all CBD products are now legal.

Only CBD products produced in compliance with the Farm Bill would be legal by federal law. This means that in order for a CBD product to be federally legal, it must meet all of the federal and state regulations, be THC free, and have used hemp derived from a licensed grower.

Nevertheless, the FDA made a statement that it reserves the right to regulate any and all cannabis compounds as it wishes, regardless of the Farm Bill.

Only one product known as Epidiolex contains the FDA’s approval and is classified as a schedule 5 drug, indicating the lowest risk for abuse or addiction.

Is CBD Legal in all 50 States?

CBD is not legal in all 50 states. State governments have the right to establish their own laws that govern the use of CBD within their borders.

Most states have different laws and regulations individually pertaining to CBD and marijuana.

There are currently three states that prohibit the use of any type of cannabis plant.

If you reside in any of the following three states, you are not allowed under any circumstance to consume, posses, or distribute CBD.

  • Idaho
  • Nebraska
  • South Dakota

Ten states and Washington D.C. have completely legalized all forms of cannabis:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C.

The remaining 36 states allow the use of CBD. However, of those 36 states, 15 have strict regulations pertaining to CBD.

If you reside in any of the following 15 states, there are laws stating certain conditions must be met in order to legally obtain CBD.

  • In order to legally posses CBD in Alabama, you must be in accordance to Leni’s Law which states you must be diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition and be undergoing treatment or you are part of a state-sponsored clinical trial.
  • Georgia only allows patients diagnosed with cancer, ALS, seizures, and other serious medical conditions to legally possess CBD. You can find the list of medical conditions here.
  • Indiana passed a law in March of 2018 stating that anyone can buy, sell, or possess CBD oil products as long as it contains no more than 0.3% THC.
  • In Iowa, the Department of Public Health has legalized CBD for individuals suffering from debilitating medical conditions. If you reside in Iowa and you suffer from a serious medical condition that is not yet approved, you can submit a petition to buy CBD here.
  • In 2018, Kansas passed the Senate Bill 282 allowing any adult to legally purchase CBD as long as the product contains 0% THC.
  • In 2017, Kentucky approved the House Bill 333 that legalized the consumption and retail sale of CBD containing up to 0.3% THC .
  • In 2014, Mississippi legalized CBD for epileptic patients. However, the products must contain more than 15% CBD, cannot exceed 5% THC, have been obtained or tested from the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi and dispensed by the Department of Pharmacy Services at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
  • North Carolina has legalized CBD containing less than 0.3% THC for patients who suffer from severe epilepsy and is produced in compliance with the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission regulations.
  • Oklahoma legalized the consumption of CBD for patients of all ages suffering from spasticity, paraplegia, nausea, vomiting, and appetite stimulation under the condition that it is recommended by a doctor. Unfortunately, no laws have been passed allowing individuals to distribute CBD.
  • In 2014, South Carolina passed Julian’s Law which legalized the possession and use of CBD for epileptic patients who obtain a recommendation from a physician.
  • In 2016, Tennessee legalized the use of CBD containing no more than 0.9% THC for epileptic patients who have been properly diagnosed and individuals who possess a legal order.
  • Texas allows the use of CBD for epileptic patients. However, the product must contain at least 10% CBD and 0.5% THC.
  • Virginia legalized CBD oil to treat any medical condition as long as the patient was diagnosed by a licensed practitioner.
  • In 2017, Wisconsin legalized the use of CBD with a physician’s approval for any medical condition.
  • Wyoming has legalized CBD use but only for patients with epilepsy who have been unsuccessfully treated with various alternatives. Their petition for the possession and use of CBD must be approved by the state’s Department of Health.

If you look at the image below, you can obtain a much better visualization of the state laws regarding CBD

is cbd legal?


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