CBD Laws

Is CBD legal in your state? Check this chart to find out

Is CBD legal? Probably – but maybe not. It all depends on where you are.

CBD has been federal since the end of 2018 – if it is derived from hemp. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s legal in your state. We’ve compiled a table below of CBD laws by country to help you get clarity.

Note: The table below only applies to unlicensed CBD products. State-licensed CBD products sold in adult and medical cannabis stores work under different rules.

Legal status of CBD, country by country

condition Is CBD legal? Limits
Alabama Yes None
Alaska Yes Foods / beverages containing CBD are not allowed
Arizona Yes No food / drink
Arkansas Yes No food / drink
California Yes No food / drink
Colorado Yes No baked goods
The Connecticut Yes The food / bev must be registered
Delaware Yes The hemp producer must be affiliated with Delaware State University
Florida Yes Labeling is regulated
Georgia Yes No food / drink
Hawaii Yes None
Idaho No Illegal in any form
Illinois Yes None
Indiana Yes Labeling is regulated
Iowa No Illegal in any form
Kansas Yes No food / drink
Kentucky Yes CBD tea is not allowed
Louisiana Yes Lots of product restrictions
Maine Yes Good only if the CBD is sourced from a licensed hemp producer in Maine
Maryland Yes Unclear
Massachusetts Yes CBD food / bev requires a purity test
Michigan Yes No food / drink
Minnesota Yes No food / drink
Mississippi Yes The CBD: THC ratio must be at least 20: 1
Missouri Yes Only age 18+. Sales require state registration.
Montana Yes No food / drink
Nebraska Yes No food / drink
Nevada Yes No food / bev; CBD sales are only allowed in cannabis stores
New Hampshire Yes A regulation is forthcoming
New Jersey Yes None
New Mexico Yes None
new York Yes No food / bev; purity testing is required
North Carolina Yes No food / drink
North Dakota Yes None
Ohio Yes None
Oklahoma Yes None
Oregon Yes A labeling regulation is forthcoming
Pennsylvania Yes No food / bev; label rules are coming
Rhode Island Yes Label instructions are coming
South Carolina Yes No food / drink
South Dakota No It is not legal in any form
Tennessee Yes None
Texas Yes Label instructions are coming
Utah Yes Sales registration required
Vermont Yes CBD cannot be combined with meat or dairy products. Maple syrup has its own rules.
Virginia Yes None
Washington Yes No food / drink
West Virginia Yes No food / drink
Wisconsin Yes No food / drink
Wyoming Yes None

The basics of CBD

CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound derived from the cannabis plant. Cannabis has been illegally illegal since 1937. While cannabis has been illegal, CBD is also illegal – although it has no intoxicating properties.

That changed late last year.

Now that hemp is no longer a controlled substance and CBD comes from hemp, all CBD must be legal, right? Not so fast.

In December 2018, President Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act 2018 (also known as the 2018 Agriculture Bill) into law. This law included a section on the removal of hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. Both hemp and marijuana are cannabis. The only difference is that the federal government believes that cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, the intoxicating cannabinoid, is legally classified as “hemp”.

Now that hemp is no longer a controlled substance and CBD can be extracted from hemp, all CBD must be legal, right? Not so fast.

The adoption of the farm bill “legitimizes hemp as an agricultural crop, as opposed to a drug / controlled substance,” wrote Bob Hoban, one of the country’s most experienced hemp advocates. “Although this legislation paved the way for the expansion of the hemp industry, it did not in any way make the path to compliance clearer for those in the hemp industry.” And as an extension: It is not clearer for those in the CBD industry .

As with all things cannabis, it is useful to know which laws are in force: federal, state, and what we will call “mixed jurisdiction” – the rules and regulations applied by health services and the like.

Federal law

Federal law is now clear, thanks to the farm bill. Federal authorities are no longer involved in arresting people for growing hemp, extracting CBD or possession. The DEA is out of the CBD game.

In particular, the farm bill removed hemp and hemp derivatives from the definition of “marijuana” in the Controlled Substances Act. The new law also specifically mandated the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate cannabis-derived foods and medicines. (More on that below.)

State laws

This is where it gets complicated.

Federal law does not automatically provide state law. Each country handles hemp and CBD differently. In Idaho, Iowa and South Dakota, CBD is completely illegal. In New Jersey, New Mexico and North Dakota it is legal without restrictions. In Alaska, California, Washington and many other states, this is legal, but cannot be sold in combination with food or drink – except in licensed cannabis stores.

In Vermont, it is legal, although when CBD is added to maple syrup, it is illegal to label the product “Pure Maple Syrup”. Ah, Vermont.

FDA rules are coming

FDA officials are actively working to create federal regulations around the CBD. After holding a public hearing earlier this year, their officials withdrew to begin drafting the rules. The first project is expected in early 2020.

These employees are a little in trouble. CBD is already approved as a pharmaceutical drug in the form of Epidiolex, a drug developed by GW Pharma to inhibit seizures. Epidiolex went through the grueling process of FDA approval and took years.

After a public hearing earlier this year, FDA officials withdrew to work out the regulations. The first project is expected in early 2020.

Once a compound is approved as a drug, the FDA generally does not allow it to be marketed over-the-counter. But now it is most often used as a dietary supplement, as vitamins.

If the FDA bans all forms of over-the-counter CBD, it risks opening up a huge illegal market – which would lead to criminal trafficking in unlicensed, untested and unregulated CBD. We have just experienced the real dangers of this with the illicit trade in THC vape cartridges, which led to the national outbreak of VAPI lungs, also known as EVALI.

While we wait for the FDA to release its proposed CBD rules, agency officials remind everyone that many of the CBD foods and beverages currently on the market are not technically legal. On June 16, the FDA released a document stating: “We are aware that there may be some products on the market that add CBD to food or label CBD as a dietary supplement. Under federal law, it is currently illegal to offer CBD in this way. At the same time, no federal agent is enforcing this particular law.

County health agencies also matter

Even within countries that allow the legal sale of CBD derived from hemp, there may be complications at the local level.

Some local health departments, for example, may choose to ban the sale of CBD in food and beverages in retail outlets.

A few years ago, some restaurants near the Seattle area began offering CBD cocktails to their visitors. This ended when local county health officials intervened and reminded restaurateurs that CBD is not a known and approved food or drink. (“They’re cautious,” a restaurant owner told me at the time. “They say they still don’t know what CBD is, so they want everyone to wait until they know it.”)

what you should Know

As of the end of 2019, the general rule for consumers is this: CBD is legal to own and consume everywhere except Idaho, Iowa and South Dakota. The rule for manufacturers and retailers is this: Check your local jurisdiction and check your business plan with a lawyer who knows the local CBD laws.

In 2019, Leafly editors tried to purchase more than 75 products to test their CBD content as part of our Leafly CBD Test series. To our surprise, it turned out to be harder than we expected.

National drugstores such as CVS and Walgreens offer CBD products in some states, but not in others. When we tried to order CBD products online, some companies agreed to ship to Leafly’s Washington office, while others refused. We know the reason is the location, because everything was fine with our order until the time we entered our zip code.

The bio image of Bruce Barcott

Bruce Barcott

Leafly’s senior editor Bruce Barcott oversees news, investigations and gaming projects. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America.

See Bruce Barcott’s articles

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