CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis that has gained prominence in recent years for its therapeutic properties. Cannabis advocates have hailed the cannabinoid for its promise in combating seizures, anxiety and myriad other ailments. CBD is “the new ‘it’ drug,” according to The Washington Post. It’s a “rapidly rising star for its capacity to deliver mental and physical benefits,” according to Quartz.
The 2014 Farm Bill is often cited as evidence that CBD derived from industrial hemp is now legal. But the legislation legalized only a very narrow set of hemp cultivation activities: It is legal to grow hemp under a state pilot program or for academic research. It is also legal to cultivate under state law “in which such institution of higher education or state department of agriculture is located and such research occurs.”
There are certainly CBD producers who source their hemp from cultivators that operate under the Farm Bill. But given how widespread these products are, it’s unlikely that all of them were sourced from research hemp. And state laws on CBD and hemp vary widely. Colorado, which legalized adult-use marijuana in 2012, has a robust industrial hemp program and is home to the first U.S.-bred certified hemp seed. But in Massachusetts, where you can now grow marijuana at home, it’s still a crime to grow hemp without a state license, reported The Boston Globe.
An Indiana man was overwhelmed with emotion this week when a county court dismissed his case.
“It would not be an appropriate use of federal resources to go after a mother because her child has epileptic seizures and has found something that can help and has helped. Are they breaking the law? Yes, they are. Are we going to break her door down? Absolutely not. And I don’t think she’ll be charged by any U.S. Attorney,” DEA spokesperson Rusty Payne told the Indiana news station.
The Cannabis Sativa plant encompasses many different varieties, but the two you’re most likely to hear about are marijuana and hemp plants. While very different in structure, hemp plants are bred for low THC and high CBD concentrations. In contrast, marijuana plants are cultivated for their opposite balance.
These states don’t have explicit prohibitions regarding how industrial hemp-derived CBD products are sold. But recent pronouncements and law enforcement actions raise a bit of risk.
What’s the Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana Plants?
In short, many states allow CBD usage for specific medical conditions. But laws may differ from state to state. But to stay within federal legalities:
1990s-2010s: Cannabis supporters push to reclassify hemp and marijuana, based on their medicinal purposes. In 1996, California becomes the first state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.
All in all, hemp and CBD oil are considered federally legal in all 50 states. Anyone in the United States can legally buy CBD oil on health store shelves, some pet stores, and the internet. In light of this new legality, consumer sales for CBD products reached over $350 million in 2018. Best of all, you don’t need a prescription or medical card to buy CBD.