Few topics in the contemporary cannabis industry pose a future as intriguing as cannabidiol, a compound simply referred to as CBD. Unlike the THC compound in marijuana which has psychoactive effects, CBD's active effect has many medicinal properties, able to relieve health issues ranging from chronic pain to anxiety to insomnia.
Broadly speaking, most CBD is harvested from hemp, the male plant of cannabis, which contains very little of the THC found in marijuana, the female plant. CBD's popularity has exploded in all forms, including CBD soda and CBD pet chews. But is CBD legal, and what are the restrictions on it through the United States?
Like so many other aspects of contemporary cannabis law, the answer to CBD's legality is: it depends, even after the 2018 Farm Bill. Many states allow some form of CBD product to be purchased and owned; states with legalized medical, recreational, or both types of cannabis have the most lenient laws; while in Idaho, South Dakota, and Nebraska, it is totally illegal. A person driving from state to state with a CBD product in their car, used or unused, may face serious penalties depending on which border they cross.
This range of laws is in part due to the individual drug policy pursued by each state, and in part due to the complexity of the laws themselves. CBD can be found on store shelves, yet on paper it is not legal to sell at all, as CBD products are not federally regulated in the same way as food, drinks, or medicine. So long as cannabis remains a Schedule 1 narcotic at the federal level, CBD's legality will remain shrouded in uncertainty.
Cannabis law in American history has long been less than certain. Prior to the 20th century, the use of hemp products was ubiquitous in the U.S.; George Washington even grew it on his farm, although his diary records indicate he didn't grow it very well. National cannabis prohibition began in 1937 and has seen a dizzying number of policy changes, some positive and some punitive, in the decades since.
As legalization policy accelerated in the early 2000s, CBD's use in a variety of medical treatments also accelerated. CBD-heavy and THC-light strains make up the multi-billion-dollar medical marijuana market, but have only done so thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill.
Congress passed stipulations that opened up hemp farming to allow larger-scale CBD production, distinguishing hemp from its sister plant. So long as CBD products are made from hemp and not marijuana, they can be treated with far greater legality.
Greater legality, however, is not the same thing as full, unrestricted legality, and most states that allow CBD put some sort of restriction on its use. No states support sales of CBD to minors, nor are CBD products allowed to have more than .03% THC, a far lower level than recreational cannabis.
In cannabis-friendly states like Colorado or Washington, customers can purchase as much CBD as they desire, with no limits. In cannabis-restricted states like Alabama, CBD users must have a valid medical issue, a medical license, and cannot own CBD products with more than .3% THC — about 100 times less THC than found in recreational cannabis.
Furthermore, while CBD treats like gummies and brownies are all the rage, it is not technically legal to sell CBD as an edible good. Officially, CBD vendors can only recommend that a CBD product be rubbed on a person's skin. However, the FDA cannot regulate how manufacturers and vendors make up and sell these goods, leaving them in a legal gray zone.
This lack of regulation has led to lack of trust among some consumers, as not all CBD products follow guidelines. As states adopt their own regulation, sometimes they make up for the deficits, and sometimes the red tape remains too murky for CBD businesses.
If you are looking to open a cannabis business and specialize in CBD products, it is likely you will face other hurdles in other areas, such as funding. CannaBusiness Financing can help you build your CBD business dreams by getting you the money you need to grow. You can get pre-approved in as little as 48 hours.
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