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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, mostly, but it's complicated.

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 to 51 states, districts, and territories, with legal access to at least one cannabinoid. [1]

Is CBD Oil Legal?

The simple answer to this question is "Yes," according to the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The DEA recently issued an unambiguous internal notice to clarify their position on CBD, with clear provisions.

The notice basically states that if CBD is extracted from the stalks and sterilized seeds of Cannabis sativa L. plants, it is excluded from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) definition of marijuana and is therefore legal.

RELATED: Is CBD Oil Legal in Texas?

According to the DEA memo, the CSA states: "The term 'marihuana' means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin. Such term does not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination."

Their problem is with marijuana's psychotropic or intoxicating effect, only caused by THC, the other well-researched cannabis compound. [2]

But is CBD oil truly legal in all 50 states, even according to state law? Let's unpack a bit of history and research for further edification.

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 that they “will defer the right to challenge [state] legalization laws at this time.” [3]

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

Unfortunately, in early 2018, U.S. Attorney, General Jeff Sessions reversed this policy with the Marijuana Enforcement Memorandum. According to Politico.com, Sessions said in a statement that the department's earlier guidance "undermines the rule of law" by second-guessing the national drug laws Congress has passed. [4]

Does this decision change anything if you were concerned about CBD hemp oil legality in all 50 states? Well, as seen, according to the DEA you have nothing to worry about if the CBD oil was derived from certain parts of hemp.

This makes sense, as 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 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 are differences between marijuana products and those labeled as hemp. The term "cannabis" is normally used in more technical applications.

“Marijuana” usually refers to one variety of cannabis, grown as much for its therapeutic cannabinoids as for the psychotropic properties that recreational users chase. Marijuana flowers, especially, contain high enough levels of the THC cannabinoid to trigger the well-known high.

Although there are technically marijuana strains that contain mostly CBD, this is not the norm. Hemp, though, is a variety of cannabis grown primarily for its stalks, seeds, and fibers. It’s typically farmed on an industrial scale and contains little to no THC.

What Strain is CBD Derived From?

As pointed out, 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 by acknowledged researched facilities. Each state has chosen to implement this legislation in different ways, which it is legally allowed to do.

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 psychotropic substance in marijuana, are illegal to import. Products that do not cause THC to enter the human body are therefore legal products.” [5]

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

Sources:

  1. http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-medical-marijuana-laws.aspx
  2. https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/marijuana/m_extract_7350.html
  3. https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-announces-update-marijuana-enforcement-policy
  4. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/04/jeff-sessions-marijuana-policy-us-attorney-enforcement-324020
  5. https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/1751/~/importing-hemp-products-into-the-u.s.

 

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