Is CBD Oil Legal? A Look at the Laws Surrounding Hemp

The world has gone crazy for CBD, so much so that everyone is trying to find out all the possible benefits it might grace them with. However, there is one question that’s been bothering potential users who have a deep-set fear of the police — is CBD oil legal at all?

Although you’d think it would be easy to determine if cannabis is finally out of the woods legality-wise, this question is a bit tricky to answer. Still, you need to know all the facts so that you may avoid an accidental brush with the law.

What Is CBD, and How Is It Different from THC?

The two most common terms you hear when talking about cannabis are hemp and marijuana. To understand why CBD might be legal but THC is not, you first have to differentiate between those two cannabis varieties.

By definition, hemp is a plant variety that contains 0.3% or less of THC. In contrast, marijuana is the variety that can most certainly make you high. Given that it should have more than 0.3% THC to be called marijuana, it has psychoactive effects. Hemp, however, doesn’t. Just a little bit of THC (0.3% or less) cannot make you high.

Because of these findings, even as far back as in 2014, there was a push to make CBD legal, mostly because of all its positive effects. Certain studies have shown it does wonders for anxiety (social, general, and performance) and may relieve pain that follows most chronic health conditions.

When Is CBD Oil Legal or Illegal?

There are two main factors that determine whether CBD oil is legal on a federal level, and they deal with the source, as well as the level of THC.

If you get CBD oil that was derived from a plant variety that has more than 0.3% THC, it is not legal. According to US law, CBD oil may be legal only if it comes from hemp with low levels of THC, i.e., no more than 0.3%.

However, here’s another tricky bit: to consider a CBD product federally legal, it has to come from a licensed business. In other words, it must come from industrially grown hemp and a business that has the state and federal government’s approval.

2018 Farm Bill

Pilot agricultural programs were put into motion back in 2014. However, only in 2018 did President Trump sign the 2018 Farm Bill, legalizing the production of hemp with no more than 0.3% THC.

Therefore, hemp-derived CBD products, as well as CBD oil, are legal on the federal level. However, the same doesn’t stand for CBD oil derived from marijuana. In 2018, hemp was removed from the Schedule 1 Controlled Substances list. But, that just goes for hemp with extremely low levels of THC. Anything above that is still illegal.

Where Is CBD Oil Legal?

Now, according to US law, CBD oil’s position in terms of federal law is quite clear. Nevertheless, potential users run into huge problems when they find out their respective states may not be so lenient.

The 2018 Farm Bill does legalize the production of hemp, and thus hemp-derived CBD oil. However, even though all 50 states could make it legal in accordance to the same bill, some of them have imposed stricter laws. So, CBD oil is legal nationwide, but your state might have made it difficult to use it.

States and the Legality of CBD

As of April 2019, the least CBD-friendly states in the US are Nebraska, South Dakota, and Idaho. In fact, the Attorney General of South Dakota even made a statement in March saying both CBD and hemp were completely illegal. So, if you ever find yourself there, tread with caution. You might be breaking the state law carrying a CBD tincture.

Other states, such as Texas and Mississippi, have very strict rules when it comes to using CBD oil. If it’s for medicinal purposes, you may get away with it. However, despite the latest federal guidance, some states are still reluctant to stop viewing CBD as marijuana, even if it has 0% THC.

On the other hand, there are some states where CBD has grown into a huge business. Those include:

  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Nevada

The biggest concern in these states isn’t whether you’ll get caught by cops and booked for a night in. What you have to worry about there is if the seller you’ve chosen is reliable. Even today, mislabeling is a huge concern. Therefore, before opting to buy CBD oil online (or from anywhere else, for that matter), remember to do your research thoroughly.

Finally, know that CBD oil is a top star in Washington, DC too. Some of the biggest hemp stores are based there. Given the fact they’re close to the president’s administration, there’s no reason to question their legality.

So, Is CBD Oil Legal?

The legality of CBD oil is still up in the air, despite the 2018 Farm Bill Act. On the federal level, you could say it is legal, as long as:

  • the manufacturer has the government’s approval
  • you’re looking into hemp-derived CBD oil that contains no more than 0.3% THC.

However, as you can see, every state has its own rules, so the question isn’t really is CBD oil legal. You ought to concern yourself with where it is legal and to what degree.

To stay on the safe side, always research the local laws before deciding to cross into a state that might be in the gray area of legality. Right now, you could face a federal charge in some states if you have some CBD oil on you.

Back in January, a man in Ohio had to face two felony drug charges because he was caught with CBD oil, even though it had very low levels of THC. Still, there is hope that one day, every state will make CBD legal. For that to happen, though, further research and studies are necessary.

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