CBD has been getting a lot of press lately — especially regarding its legal status. Consumers all over the U.S. have been buying CBD in retail stores for the past few years. It’s served in cocktails and coffee in major cities all over the country. You can even get a CBD massage in states where cannabis has been legalized.
But is CBD actually legal?
The short answer? Yes, CBD is legal. The long answer? It’s complicated but we will do our best to clarify it all.
What Is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it’s a non-psychoactive substance derived from the cannabis plant. It’s extracted from and used in oils, tinctures, food and topical products. Many CBD users find that it has a multitude of medical benefits. Fans of CBD use it for everything from relieving stress to easing sore muscles to reducing seizures.
While some CBD products contain THC, not all products contain the psychoactive substance. This has made CBD ideal for people who want to take advantage of the medical benefits of cannabis — without the buzz of THC.
You can purchase CBD in stores across America, including dispensaries, acupuncture shops, naturopath offices and specialty stores.
Is CBD Legal or Not?
Technically, most of the CBD sold in supermarkets and bodegas isn’t legal — though it’s sold and marketed throughout most of the 50 states. While its legality falls into a gray area, most states have no interest in prosecuting distributors and consumers who sell and buy the substance.
Has Anyone Been Arrested for Buying or Selling CBD?
Yes. An Indiana resident was arrested for possession of CBD in 2017. The man was pulled over on his way home from work and arrested when police found 2 ounces of CBD oil in his car. He wasn’t tried for possession of an illegal substance, but he was still handcuffed and jailed. He also had to deal with the fear surrounding a possible criminal trial. Luckily the Indiana passed a bill legalizing CBD with under .3% THC content, so the case was dropped.
2018 Farm Bill: Legalizing Hemp and CBD?
The official turning point for CBD was the changes made to the Farm Bill in 2018. President Trump signed a provision on the farm bill that legalizes hemp — the product from which non-psychoactive CBD is derived.
So, technically that legalizes CBD, right?
CBD must be sourced from legally grown hemp farms — unless it was sourced from hemp grown under the pilot program, the 2014 Farm Bill.
While the provision legalizes hemp, it’s up to each state to determine how they’ll deal with the legalization. This means that CBD is legal in certain states where cannabis is legal, such as California.
The Farm Bill and Hemp
Hemp is cannabis’s non-psychoactive cousin. It can be used to make everything from clothing to home goods to cars. It’s super durable, sustainable and inexpensive. Basically, it could be a potential cash cow for many American farmers (and the government for taxation purposes).
Even though hemp doesn’t contain the same levels of THC that cannabis contains, it remained in the Drug Enforcement Administration gray area since cannabis was outlawed in 1937. The 2018 Farm Bill reclassified hemp as a legal substance.
This was huge news for the hemp world.
But since the Farm Bill is still so new, it’s unclear exactly the impact it will have on the industry — and how the Food and Drug Administration will police the products produced from hemp.
The Farm Bill and CBD
Forbes published the results of a Brightfield Group 2018 report that stated:
“The CBD Market will likely grow 40 times its current size by 2022.”
That’s mostly thanks to the Drug Enforcement Administration classifying CBD as a Schedule V substance, clearing it for prescription use in September 2018.
The Legalese: Where Does That Leave CBD?
Right now, CBD is still in a serious gray area. It’s not fully legal — but its legalization is on the horizon. Meaning, law enforcement agents are probably not going to start targeting CBD consumers anytime soon.
The Indiana case also creates possible precedence for users of CBD in the state. Most law enforcement officers won’t waste their time (or the legal system’s time) arresting and prosecuting these select cases.
Does that mean you should run out and experiment with CBD?
If you plan on buying CBD in a state where cannabis isn’t legal, you might want to press pause on your plans for the time being. While you’re probably not going to be arrested or tried for possession of CBD, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible. You might also want to stick to CBD marketed and sold by big-name supermarkets and brands (like Sprouts and Keil’s) to be on the safe side.
If you thought this article was interesting, you will definitely want to read the Ultimate Guide to Cannabis Oil.
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