CBD laws are complex and have important but subtle nuances. They are also in flux. Fortunately, it is legal to buy and sell CBD, even across state lines, in certain circumstances. The important thing is to know what those circumstances are. Unfortunately, there is no United States law that specifically addresses CBD. Some states have enacted CBD laws; however, state laws in this area are trumped by federal law. Therefore, in analyzing the present legal status of CBD we have to take a look at various Federal laws, including the Controlled Substances Act, the Agricultural Act of 2014 (also known as “the 2014 Farm Bill”), the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2016, several Federal Court cases, and make certain reasonable inferences. Finally, once we navigate the Federal laws there are various state laws regarding CBD.
Here’s a summary of current CBD law: CBD obtained from the mature stalks of the cannabis plant is legal to buy and sell throughout the United States. Additionally, CBD obtained from the flowers of industrial hemp plants which are grown in states that are compliant with the 2014 US Farm Bill may be processed, sold, and transported throughout the state and the United States unless a state through which the CBD passes or is sold has laws barring CBD.
Since there are no federal CBD-specific laws and state laws regarding CBD are spotty at best, it’s important to know the factors that led to our conclusion that CBD is legal as set forth in the above summary.
First of all, based on the Controlled Substances Act and an important federal court case called Hemp Industries Association, et al, v. Drug Enforcement Administration, CBD derived solely from mature hemp stalks, whether from a state which has legalized hemp growth and cultivation or from overseas, is legal throughout the US. For the most part, this kind of CBD tends to be low quality due to its scarcity in the stalk and the methods necessary to extract it.
Additionally, CBD extracted from the flowers and leaves of the industrial hemp plant, which tends to be more abundant and easier to extract using non-toxic methods, is legal if produced, sold, and possessed in a state which has enacted hemp laws pursuant to the 2014 Farm Bill. This is good if you live in such a state, but not so helpful if you don’t.
Finally (and fortunately), based on the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2016 and a federal court case called the USA v. Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, industrial hemp may be processed, transported to, and sold in states that haven't enacted industrial hemp laws pursuant to the 2014 Farm Bill. (Of course, states without hemp laws may prosecute under their own state laws if the CBD passes through their borders.) Neither the Omnibus Act nor the federal court case mentions CBD; however, since CBD is a naturally occurring component part of hemp, it is reasonable to assume that CBD is covered by these laws.
This is an evolving area of law and no one can give any definitive answers regarding CBD at this time. We hope that our summary of the law will show you that we care about conducting business legally, ethically, and thoughtfully. It's important to us that you know how we came to our position regarding the sale and production of CBD.
Please note that everything in this article is for general informational purposes only. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice and reading this article does not create an attorney-client relationship. Additionally, we cannot and do not offer any warranties or guarantees about anything said in this article. It contains a basic summary of a detailed and nuanced legal position that we hold and was arrived at for our own purposes with our lawyer. If you have questions or concerns about CBD you should consult with an attorney.
Written by Rod Kight