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Is CBD Hemp Oil Legal in All 50 States?

Is CBD Hemp Oil Legal in All 50 States?

Understanding the ever-evolving intricacies of CBD's legal status across the United States doesn't come easily. It takes a bit of digging and a lot of patience with the often contradictory nature of the legislative system. Is CBD hemp oil legal in all 50 states? The short answer is yes, but that short answer has some baggage associated with it.

At the time of writing, 32 states, districts, and territories have legalized the medicinal or recreational use of marijuana. A further 19 have approved limited access to medicinal CBD oil. If you are keeping track, that equates 51 states, districts, and territories, with legal access to at least one cannabinoid. [1]

Is CBD Oil Legal? The Federal Government Vs. The State Legislatures

Increasingly, states have been taking cannabis legislation into their own hands because there seems to be little to no motivation or impetus to change the rules on marijuana at the federal level. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) still labels marijuana as a Schedule I substance, on par with heroin, ecstasy, and LSD. A Schedule I classification means “substances or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” On top of this criteria, any substance or compound derived from a Schedule I drug is also classified under the same regulation. [2][3]

RELATED: Is CBD Oil Legal in Texas?

Is CBD oil legal? In the opinion of the DEA, CBD oil as sourced from marijuana plants is still considered a Schedule I drug. This is despite the fact that cannabidiol (and all other cannabinoids except THC, for that matter) are entirely non-psychoactive.

What does the distinction between the federal and state government mean for marijuana laws? In 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice clarified their stance, encouraging states to create “strong, state-based enforcement efforts”. The Department of Justice confirmed they “will defer the right to challenge [state] legalization laws at this time.”

Is CBD Oil Legal? The Federal Government Vs. The State Legislatures

Unfortunately, in early 2018, U.S. Attorney, General Sessions, reversed this policy with the Marijuana Enforcement Memorandum. He has urged all U.S. Attorneys to, “weigh all relevant considerations, including federal law enforcement priorities set by the Attorney General, the seriousness of the crime, the deterrent effect of criminal prosecution, and the cumulative impact of particular crimes on the community.”

Does this decision change anything if you were concerned about CBD hemp oil’s legality in all 50 states? Any cannabidiol activist will tell you that it all comes down to what plant the CBD was sourced from in the first place. There are major legal and physiological differences between CBD sourced from a medical grade marijuana plant, and CBD sourced from industrial hemp.

RELATED: What is Going on in Idaho? Is CBD Oil Legal?

Marijuana Vs. Hemp: The Great Debate of Definition

In today’s exploding cannabis marketplace, it’s completely understandable that there is still confusion about the terminology. Not everyone has settled on the same definitions, and this has led to different suppliers labeling their products under a wide variety of descriptions.

Marijuana vs. Hemp: The Great Debate of Definition

Words like marijuana, cannabis oil, CBD hemp oil, and even straight hemp oil, float around with little standardization. What is the difference, if any, between marijuana, cannabis, and hemp, and how does it affect the outcome of the question: "Is CBD legal?"

There are many CBD oil companies out there, using all sorts of terminology and labeling to sell their goods. No matter what you find on the label, there most definitely are differences between marijuana products and those labeled as hemp. The term cannabis is usually used in more technical applications, as cannabis is the family of plants which encompasses all strains.

Marijuana usually refers to the medicinal variety of cannabis, grown as much for its therapeutic cannabinoids as for its psychoactive properties. Marijuana contains high enough levels of the THC cannabinoid to trigger an associated high. Although there are technically marijuana strains that contain mostly CBD, this is not the norm. Hemp is a strain of cannabis grown primarily for its stalks, seeds, and fibers. It’s typically farmed on an industrial scale and contains little to no THC. In fact, legally it must contain under 0.3 percent THC.

What Strain is CBD Derived From?

Cannabidiol oil, perhaps confusingly for some people, can be derived from either marijuana plants or industrial hemp plants. Under federal laws, marijuana is an illegal Schedule I drug, but the Controlled Substances Act, “does not define hemp; it merely exempts certain parts of the cannabis plant – stalk, fiber, and sterilized seeds (and preparations made from them) – from the definition of ‘marijuana.’”[3]

What Strain is CBD Derived From?

Furthermore, hemp sourced products are legal under the 2014 Farm Bill, Section 7606, which approved the cultivation, processing, and sale of hemp (containing under 0.3 percent THC), for research. Each state has chosen to implement this legislation in different ways, but the 2014 Farm Bill seemed to make CBD hemp oil legal in all 50 states when it was put into place.

Confusingly, the DEA has chosen to disagree with the changes proposed in the Farm Bill. It still considered hemp a Schedule I substance, and any cultivation must be done only when licensed, and only for very specific purposes.

RELATED: Is CBD Oil Legal?

Is CBD Oil Legal if Imported?

There is so much confusion between state laws and federal laws, as well as between the different governmental departments, that it’s hard to give one, clear answer about the legal status of CBD oil. Some companies have gotten around the confusing legal complexities by choosing to import industrial hemp products, such as CBD hemp oil, into the country.

Yes, CBD oil is legal, if imported and sterilized. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection department is of the opinion that “products containing TetraHydroCannabinol (THC), the hallucinogenic substance in marijuana, are illegal to import. Products that do not cause THC to enter the human body are therefore legal products.” [4]

Plain and simply put then, hemp-derived CBD oil is legal in all 50 states, also if imported from out of the country. CBD legality remains a contentious and confusing issue, though, with much clarity needed on especially the federal level.

---------------

Sources:

[1]  http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-medical-marijuana-laws.aspx

[2]  https://www.dea.gov/druginfo/ds.shtml

[3]  https://ac.els-cdn.com/S1525505016305856/1-s2.0-S1525505016305856-main.pdf?_tid=3f36476d-ab26-473f-9464-448b3f88c1fd&acdnat=1521421575_087899d3e61ee684eee6ff846e9f1b2e

[4]  https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/1751/~/importing-hemp-products-into-the-u.s.

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