Is CBD legal in your state? Check this chart to find out
Is CBD legal? Probably—but maybe not. It all depends on where you are.
CBD has been federally legal since late 2018—if it’s derived from hemp. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s legal in your state. We’ve compiled a state-by-state table of CBD laws, below, that will help you gain clarity.
Note: The chart below applies to unlicensed CBD products only. State-licensed CBD products sold in adult-use and medical cannabis stores operate under different rules.
CBD Legal Status, State-by-State
|State||Is CBD legal?||Restrictions|
|Alaska||Yes||No CBD-infused food/beverage allowed|
|Colorado||Yes||No baked goods|
|Connecticut||Yes||Food/bev must be registered|
|Delaware||Yes||Hemp grower must be affiliated with Delaware State University|
|Florida||Yes||Labeling is regulated|
|Idaho||No||Illegal in every form|
|Indiana||Yes||Labeling is regulated|
|Iowa||No||Illegal in every form|
|Kentucky||Yes||CBD tea not allowed|
|Louisiana||Yes||Many product restrictions|
|Maine||Yes||OK only if CBD extracted from licensed Maine hemp grower|
|Massachusetts||Yes||CBD food/bev requires purity testing|
|Mississippi||Yes||Must be at least 20:1 CBD:THC ratio|
|Missouri||Yes||Age 18+ only. Sales require state registration.|
|Nevada||Yes||No food/bev; CBD sales allowed in cannabis stores only|
|New Hampshire||Yes||Regulations coming|
|New York||Yes||No food/bev; purity testing required|
|North Carolina||Yes||No food/beverage|
|Oregon||Yes||Label regulations coming|
|Pennsylvania||Yes||No food/bev; label regulations coming|
|Rhode Island||Yes||Label guidelines coming|
|South Carolina||Yes||No food/beverage|
|South Dakota||No||Not legal in any form|
|Texas||Yes||Label guidelines coming|
|Utah||Yes||Registration required for sales|
|Vermont||Yes||Can’t combine CBD with meat or dairy. Maple syrup has its own rules.|
|West Virginia||Yes||No food/beverage|
The basics on CBD
CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound derived from the cannabis plant. Cannabis has been federally illegal since 1937. As long as cannabis has been illegal, so has CBD—even though it has no intoxicating qualities.
That changed late last year.
Now that hemp is no longer a controlled substance, and CBD comes from hemp, all CBD must be legal, right? Not so fast.
In December 2018, President Trump signed the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (aka the 2018 farm bill) into law. That Act included a section removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis. The only difference is the federal government considers cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, the intoxicating cannabinoid, to be legally classified as “hemp.”
Now that hemp is no longer a controlled substance, and CBD can be extracted from hemp, all CBD must be legal, right? Not so fast.
Passage of the farm bill “legitimized hemp as an agricultural crop as opposed to a drug/controlled substance,” writes Bob Hoban, one of the nation’s most experienced hemp attorneys. “However, while this legislation paved the way for the hemp industry’s expansion it in no way made the path to legal compliance any clearer for those in the hemp industry.” And by extension: It’s no clearer for those in the CBD industry, either.
As with all things having to do with cannabis, it helps to know which laws are in play: Federal, state, and those we’ll call “mixed jurisdictional”—the rules and regs enforced by health departments and the like.
Federal law is now clear, thanks to the farm bill. Federal authorities are no longer in the business of arresting people for growing hemp, extracting CBD, or possessing either. The DEA is out of the CBD game.
More specifically, the farm bill removed hemp and hemp derivatives from the definition of “marijuana” in the Controlled Substances Act. The new law also specifically tasked the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with regulating hemp-derived food and drug products. (More on that below.)
Here’s where it gets complicated.
Federal legality doesn’t automatically confer state legality. Each state handles hemp and CBD differently. In Idaho, Iowa, and South Dakota, CBD is entirely illegal. In New Jersey, New Mexico, and North Dakota it’s legal without restriction. In Alaska, California, Washington, and many other states it’s legal but can’t be sold in combination with food or beverages—except in licensed cannabis stores.
In Vermont it’s legal, although when CBD is added to maple syrup it’s illegal to label the product “Pure Maple Syrup.” Ahh, Vermont.
FDA rules are coming
FDA officials are actively working to create federal regulations around CBD. After holding a highly publicized hearing earlier this year, their staffers have gone away to start crafting the regs. A first draft is expected in early 2020.
Those officials are in a bit of a bind. CBD has already been approved as a pharmaceutical drug in the form of Epidiolex, a drug created by GW Pharma to inhibit seizures. Epidiolex went through the FDA’s grueling drug approval process, and it took years.
After holding a highly publicized hearing earlier this year, FDA officials have gone away to craft the regulations. A first draft is expected in early 2020.
Once a compound has been approved as a drug, the FDA typically does not allow it to be sold in over-the-counter mainstream markets. But it’s currently being used most often as a dietary supplement, like vitamins.
If the FDA bans all non-prescription forms of CBD, it risks opening up a massive illegal market—which would result in a criminal trade in unlicensed, untested, and unregulated CBD. We’ve just experienced the real dangers of that with the illicit trade in THC vape cartridges, which led to the national outbreak of VAPI lung, also known as EVALI.
As we wait for the FDA to release its proposed CBD rules, agency officials are reminding everyone that many of the CBD food and beverage products currently on the market are not technically legal. On June 16, the FDA released a document that said: “We are aware that there may be some products on the market that add CBD to a food or label CBD as a dietary supplement. Under federal law, it is currently illegal to market CBD this way.” At the same time, no federal agents are enforcing that particular law.
County health agencies matter, too
Even within states that allow the legal sale of hemp-derived CBD, there may be complications at the local level.
Some local health departments, for example, may choose to prohibit the sale of CBD in food and beverage products in commercial establishments.
A few years ago some restaurants near Seattle area began offering CBD-infused cocktails to their patrons. That ended when local county health officials stepped in and reminded restauranteurs that CBD was not a known and approved food or beverage. (“They’re erring on the side of caution,” one restaurant owner told me at the time. “They say they don’t quite know what CBD is yet, so they want everyone to hold off until they figure it out.”)
What you need to know
As of late 2019, the general rule for consumers is this: CBD is legal to possess and consume everywhere except Idaho, Iowa, and South Dakota. The rule for manufacturers and retailers is this: Check your local jurisdiction and vet your business plan with a lawyer who knows local CBD laws.
In 2019, Leafly editors tried to purchase more than 75 products to test their CBD content as part of our Leafly CBD Test series. To our surprise, it turned out to be more difficult than we anticipated.
National drug stores like CVS and Walgreens carry CBD products in some states but not in others. When we tried to order CBD products online, some companies agreed to deliver to the Leafly office in Washington state, while others refused. We know the cause was location, because everything was well and fine with our order right up until the point we entered our ZIP Code.
Is CBD Oil Legal? Legal Status of CBD in 50 States in 2022
Cannabis has had a rocky history in the United States. Starting in the 1920s, various states banned the use of the herb, which eventually leads to the federal government banning the plant’s use under any circumstances for several decades.
Only in the 1970s did regulators consider the medical applications of the plant and began rolling out medical programs around the country. CBD wouldn’t be recognized as a medicinal agent for quite some time, and regulators saw all forms of the cannabis plant as a drug — including hemp.
Now, as we inch our way towards a new decade, the landscape is much different.
The federal government recently passed a bill that clearly differentiated two forms of the cannabis plant — hemp and marijuana — arguing that the hemp variety can’t produce the psychoactive high inherent to marijuana. They crossed hemp off the list of restricted substances, giving people open access to the plant for the first time in over 80 years.
But the landscape is continually changing, each state has its own laws to work out in response to this federal change — and some are much slower than others.
In this article, we’ll discuss what makes some sources of CBD legal, while others remain a Schedule I controlled substance.
Let’s get started with an overview of what CBD actually is.
What Is CBD and Is It Legal?
CBD is short for cannabidiol — it’s just one of over 400 other compounds found in the cannabis plant and arguably the most relevant for medical use.
The cannabinoids are a unique class of compounds not exclusive to the cannabis plant, you can also find it in plants like Echinaceae or Helichrysum, but none as abundant as Cannabis.
Cannabinoids are classified by their ability to interact with a specialized system of receptors and hormones in the body aptly named the endocannabinoid system. End– meaning “inside the body”. Conversely, cannabinoids that come from plants such as cannabis are called phyto-cannabinoids.
The endocannabinoid system is a regulatory system — meaning it indirectly controls a variety of processes in the human body by either turning them up or dialing them back down. This is why compounds like CBD have such a long list of benefits and uses.
The Endocannabinoid System Regulates the Following Processes:
- Energy metabolism
- Immune function
- Pain transmission
- Temperature regulation
What Is CBD Used For?
Working through the endocannabinoid system, CBD offers a wide variety of benefits on the human body. It’s used to regulate the stress response, promote sleep, regulate metabolism, and even reduce the transmission of pain signals headed to the brain.
The reason CBD has so many uses comes down to its ability to interact with this centrally-regulating endocannabinoid system. This has a trickle-down effect on the rest of the body, assisting in the regulation of other organ systems all around the body.
Science has come a long way in recent decades to track the benefits of the cannabis plant and its chief cannabinoids — CBD and THC (the main psychoactive cannabinoid).
The most popular uses of CBD include:
- Managing chronic pain
- Reducing inflammation
- Alleviating high-stress levels
- Boosting immune function
- Protecting cognitive health
- Promoting optimal skin health
Over the years, it’s become harder to deny the benefits of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, especially CBD. Thousands of scientific studies have been published highlighting either the benefits of CBD for a specific condition or defining its safety.
Even the World Health Organization recently stated that “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
In light of these reports, the world has started opening up to the use of CBD as a health supplement. But with some caveats related to the psychoactive compounds in the cannabis plant — namely THC.
Let’s explore this important distinction in more detail.
A Brief History of Cannabis’ Legal Battle
The marijuana plant has had a long and challenging history regarding legal status in the United States, as well as the rest of the world. To this day it remains banned in most countries.
As times change and more people begin to understand the usefulness of this plant, laws are slowly starting to revisit the status of marijuana country by country.
Marijuana’s long and tortuous legal battle began in the mid-1930s in the United States. The United States government began campaigns against its use. They associated it with insanity, aggression, and criminal activity through propaganda films like Reefer Madness (released 1936).
Prior to this, marijuana was sold freely in pharmacies across the world.
The 1936 Geneva Trafficking Convention was a treaty aimed at a worldwide ban involving the cultivation, manufacture, and distribution of cannabis products. This treaty also included coca and opium. Although some countries chose to disregard this project, it’s what lead to the regulation of marijuana in much of Europe, as well as Canada, and Australia.
In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act was passed in the United States, which banned marijuana from all forms of use, including medical.
It wasn’t until recent years that marijuana regulation was revisited. The first changes were to support medicinal use and research. In 2014, then-President Barrack Obama passed the Agricultural Act of 2014. Section 7606 of the Act outlined the legal classification of hemp and allowed the use of industrial hemp for research purposes.
This was followed by changes that included recreational use of all Cannabis products in certain states like Colorado in early 2014. This included both CBD and THC-containing extracts.
Controversy Over the Legal Status of CBD
There’s a big problem regulators face with the cannabis plant — some of the compounds it produces are powerfully medicinal, while others make users high.
Historically, regulators around the world simply axed the benefits of the cannabis plant to keep the intoxicating parts illegal — but times have changed. People want access to the numerous health benefits of cannabinoids like CBD. After decades of lobbying and protesting, the legal status of cannabis is finally being reevaluated around the world.
In the United States, the change is slow and frustratingly complicated. Cannabis laws are different on a federal level to a state level and can differ significantly from one state to the next. Some states allow the use of CBD with medical approval only, others are completely legal for any reason — you can even buy products at corner stores, gas stations, and even vending machines. It’s not always limited to dispensaries.
While the laws on CBD’s legalities are loosening federally, in a select few states you can still be arrested and thrown in jail for having a bottle of CBD oil on you.
Because the laws continue to evolve around cannabis, it’s critically important that you pay attention to the local laws in your specific state and check for updates regularly.
Not All Cannabis Products Are Created Equal
There are two main kinds of cannabis — marijuana, and hemp. This is an important distinction to make because it’s the most important factor when determining whether a particular product is legal or illegal.
Although both types of cannabis are the exact same species (Cannabis sativa), they produce radically different cannabinoid profiles.
Let’s cover each form of cannabis in more detail.
The first type of cannabis — marijuana — is what most people think of when they hear the word “cannabis”. These plants are a form of Cannabis sativa that produces mid to high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — which is the main psychoactive compound in the plant. The THC is what makes users high.
Marijuana plants are considered a Schedule I drug in the United States — putting it in the same classification as heroin and fentanyl — two of the most dangerous drugs in America.
Don’t be mislead, marijuana is not a deadly drug — but the laws haven’t changed on a federal level in 80 years.
There are some exceptions on a state level, but if the federal government ever wanted to convict someone for using marijuana, it could.
Hemp is another type of Cannabis sativa that produces less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. This is the sole classification for a particular cannabis plant to be considered hemp. If a particular strain produces even 0.4% THC, it’s marijuana.
Hemp isn’t held to the same legal confines as marijuana. It’s been legal for a long time in the United States, but only through rigorous license applications and approval from US regulators.
Everything changed with the release of the 2018 Farm Bill, which lifted the ban on hemp and removed it from the controlled substances act as a schedule I drug.
Now hemp can be grown just as easily as crops such as corn or wheat throughout the United States. Most states honor this change and allow farmers in the state to cultivate hemp plants — some have been resisting.
As a byproduct of this evolution, supplement companies now have access to hemp as a source of nutritional products — which now falls under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate as a nutritional supplement.
The FDA has yet to make any strong stance for or against the sale of hemp-derived products in the United States and the market has become a bit of a wild West in this regard.
Most CBD products like CBD oils, CBD capsules, edible gummies, or CBD E-liquids are made using hemp-derived CBD in order to sell these products legally.
The Major Differences Between Marijuana & Hemp
|Species||Cannabis sativa L.||Cannabis sativa L.|
|Legal Definition||Cannabis sativa plants with less than 0.3% THC by dried weight||Cannabis sativa plants with more than 0.3% THC by dried weight|
|Psychoactivity||Completely non-psychoactive (doesn’t produce a high)||May have psychoactive effects (may produce a high)|
|Federal Legal Status||No drug scheduling (completely legal)||Schedule I drug (completely illegal)|
|State Legal Status||Legal in most states, with some exceptions||Legal in select states recreationally and most states with medical approval. Some states, it remains completely illegal.|
The Legality of CBD Products by State
When the federal government in the United States comes out with a change to certain laws — the states have the ability to honor this change or produce their own state legislature to challenge the laws.
There’s no better example of states exercising their right to challenge federal laws than in the realm of cannabis laws.
After the farm bill was released, some states chose to honor this change, allowing their citizens to access hemp-derived CBD products. Others resisted, enacting laws that made possession of the non-psychoactive hemp plants illegal.
Over the past few months, many of these states have since reverted. Below is an up-to-date list of American states divided into two main categories — legal and conditionally legal states.
In the past, we had a list for illegal states, which included North Dakota, Nebraska, Idaho, and Iowa — but these states have since changed their laws to allow CBD either medicinally or over the counter as a health supplement.
There are no longer any states outright banning the use of CBD.
1. Legal States
These states honor the changes in the 2018 Farm Bill completely — in these states, you’re free to purchase, possess, and use hemp-derived products including CBD oils and capsules.
You’ll find CBD at your local dispensary, supermarkets, online, and sometimes even at local gas stations. There are no restrictions to CBD use in these states.
Most of the American CBD companies operate out of these states, especially in places that adapted their laws ahead of the curve — like Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and California.
2. Conditionally-Legal States
These states allow citizens to buy hemp-derived products but there are some caveats.
In some states, such as North Dakota or Minnesota you’ll need a doctor’s approval and licensed medical card in order to buy cannabis products including CBD.
In other states, like Michigan or Nebraska, CBD is both legal and illegal. The legislature in these states has yet to work out the details of the recent 2018 Farm Bill changes — making it unlikely to be able to buy CBD in these states anywhere but online.
We consider these states a legal grey area, which is more common than you’d think. It can take a long time for local governments to adapt to changes on a federal level. Right now, we’re caught in the transition period for these states.
In all conditionally legal states, you can expect it to be a little harder to find hemp-derived CBD products locally.
Legal Status of Hemp-Derived Products State-By-State
What Does the Future Look Like For CBD Products In the United States?
CBD is now available in all 50 states of America — to varying degrees. Most citizens can access the supplement in-store legally but may be hard-pressed to find it in some of the stricter states requiring medical cards.
The best bet is to source CBD products online and have it sent to your home, office, or PO box instead.
Moving forward, we expect the laws to continue to change across federal and state legislature as more people demand access to this safe and effective supplement.
Already the landscape is changing, as the regulation of legal nutritional products now falls into the regulation of the FDA — who have yet to make any official statements for or against the sale and use of CBD as a nutritional supplement. People are suspecting an FDA crackdown coming to companies operating in the CBD space.
Stay tuned, we’ll be sure to keep you posted as the landscape continues to change.
Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.
Leave a comment Cancel reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
CBD Legal States 2022
CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not get a user “high;” however, its legality is still a gray area for some people because it is derived from the cannabis plant. CBD must be legal on both the federal level and the state level in order for it to be legal in your state. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized, on the federal level, the regulated production of hemp, or any part of the cannabis plant with a THC concentration below 0.3%. States, however, have the final say in whether or not cannabis-derived products are legal within their state lines.
Is CBD Legal in my State?
Marijuana legality varies by state, as does CBD legality. There are 17 states called that legalized both medicinal and recreational use of marijuana as long as you meet the minimum age requirement: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, nIllinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
The following states have legalized CBD, some only for specific medical purposes: Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Some of these states only allow CBD below certain THC levels. CBD and CBD products in Idaho are legal only if they contain zero THC and are derived from the mature stalks of the plant. In Tennessee, possession of CBD products is legal if they contain less than 0.6% THC. In Alabama, the maximum THC level is 0.3%.