Are CBD Products Legal in All 50 States?
There's a reason we put "States" in the title.
Most of the brands will state that CBD can be purchased legally in all 50 States.
Then we get feedback from customers that Alabama's a no-go.
Some of this is due to confusion on exactly what CBD is.
Then, just to make it interesting, there's the whole legal status Federally and the new Farm Bill.
So let's clear some of the smoke.
There's is no smoke! This is CBD, not cannabis or marijuana.
We'll also touch on some of the contentious States and the Federal legal standing of CBD.
You don't have to be attorney to follow along but the goal is avoid needing one!
That should be easy with the right CBD.
We'll touch base on the following:
- Is CBD Legal
- The 2018 Farm Bill and CBD legal status
- What type of CBD is legal
- Hemp CBD versus Marijuana CBD
- Is CBD legal Federally
- Is CBD legal in all 50 States
- Is CBD legal in Alabama
- Is CBD legal in Ohio
- Is CBD legal in New York
- Is CBD legal in Florida
- Is CBD legal in Pennsylvania
- Is CBD legal in Texas
- Are CBD edibles legal in California
- The best legal CBD product to buy
Let's get started before the laws change (which they inevitably will...for the better).
Is CBD Legal
Yes but with caveats.
A quick introduction that's less legal and deals more with botany.
CBD derived from industrial hemp (a legal term) is treated as a food supplement by the FDA.
It does NOT have schedule 1 status like illegal drugs (including THC heavy cannabis).
The Farm Bill of 2019 which was passed further spelled out CBD's status legally.
In fact, it allowed all States to allow the legal production, sales, and distribution of legal CBD.
Before then, there were strange carve outs for Kentucky and Colorado with a (growing) patch of Nevada.
We'll get into specific States where they are slow to make the distinction of "legal" CBD.
First, let's spell out what hoops CBD must jump through to be legal.
Here's the botany section!
The 2018 Farm Bill and CBD legal status
The information above and below are all based on recent changes.
Basically, before Jan 1st, 2019, CBD products were available but their legal status was questionable.
The Feds still technically viewed an extract from industrial hemp as a schedule 1 drug.
That being said, the Feds and States (most of them anyway...see specific outliers below) did not go after CBD purchasers.
The States did occasionally go after retailers that sold CBD in coffee, beverages, and the like.
Most of this confusion came out of the original 2014 Farm Bill which designated the industrial hemp requirement but didn't specify CBD.
The 2018 bill aimed to clear this confusion and make extracts from industrial hemp legal.
This was the answer to CBD's legal question.
There has also been some contradictory comments from the head of the FDA.
We look forward to more clarification.
That's at the Federal level but some States may be slower to move.
See below on that front!
What type of CBD is legal
Get your green thumb ready.
It all depends on the legal definition of "industrial hemp".
CBD derived from industrial hemp is legal and treated as a food supplement (like vitamins or protein powder).
Industrial hemp is cannabis that naturally has less than .03% THC.
Cannabis that has more than .03% THC is Cannabis or Marijuana (it's coloquial name from Fast Times of Ridgemont High).
CBD from this type of plant is NOT legal federally.
In States that legalized medical or recreational marijuana, CBD may be available but is still not legal Federally.
These products still reside on the dreaded Schedule 1 list.
The Farm Bill did not change that.
That being said, states like California and Colorado have had burgeoning legal cannabis markets for a few years now.
More States are following this trend.
So...we want CBD to be derived from industrial hemp (like Indigo Naturals) to meet the Federal definition of legal.
IndigoNaturals is derived this way to make it legal Federally.
That's just the start (as we'll explain below).
We'll get into the States below where it gets a little more interesting.
Let's first address some key questions people have.
Hemp CBD versus Marijuana CBD?
This is just the delineation we mentioned above.
People talk about this plant family and that one.
It's all cannabis.
The THC to CBD ratios by different strains (Sativa, Indica, Ruderalis) have largely gone away with all the cross-breeding.
The plant has to be chemically tested now.
Ultimately the difference between these two legal designations is the amount of THC in the plant.
- Under .03% THC - legal Federally
- .03% THC and over - Schedule 1 drug Federally
That's the real difference between Marijuana CBD and Hemp CBD.
We focus on NO THC CBD at IndigoNaturals. Zero.
Many people are allergic to THC (roughly 70% of people with allergies) and THC has some drawbacks despite its growing popularity.
Especially for developing brains.
CBD doesn't show these issues and in fact, appears to protect against THC's negative impacts.
Learn all about the benefits of CBD here.
Another question that comes up…
Can CBD products have THC in them legally?
To be legal Federally, CBD cannot be derived from a cannabis plant with THC levels at .03% or higher.
Under this amount, hemp derived CBD is legal Federally.
Over this amount, cannabis derived CBD is a Schedule one drug still (despite what the States do).
This is the heart of the definition of industrial hemp (under .03%) versus marijuana or cannabis (over .03%)
Is CBD legal Federally?
It is if it comes from the right plant according to the Farm Bill of 2018.
To be legal Federally, it must come from industrial hemp by licensed farms and have THC levels under .03%.
If so, it's treated as a food supplement like anything you find at GNC.
Is CBD legal in all 50 States?
Many sites will state that their products can be purchased legally in all 50 States.
That's not entirely accurate.
There are issues in Alabama and Ohio at the least.
The legal status of CBD (hemp derived) products is constantly in flux towards further acceptance.
Especially since the Farm Bill of 2018 made it legal Federally.
Some states have looked to Federal status to establish how they will treat CBD (reasonably so even if the Feds were slow to move on CBD research).
It's a process of education.
Most people have no idea of the difference between how CBD works in the body versus THC.
Check out our Exactly What is CBD article for more detail.
Make sure to check with your State's law to see where it currently stands.
Here's a great resource on CBD legal status by State:
Let's look at some specific States where there status is in flux.
Is CBD legal in Alabama?
We have heard of people being arrested for having CBD in Alabama.
To our knowledge, they did not prosecute once they realized what CBD was but you should double check the laws locally.
In 2018, the Alabama Attorney General stated that some CBD products are now legal.
Again, most of this will change following the 2018 Farm Bill treatment of CBD federally.
Is CBD legal in Ohio?
Another State that lacked clarity of CBD legality was Ohio.
Unfortunately, Ohio State law currently deems any extract from the Cannabis plant as subject to their medical marijuana status.
This means that CBD must be purchased through a licensed dispensary.
Whether this will be enforced remains to be seen especially in light of the Federal change but it's important to check with your local State for clarification on this.
Is CBD legal in New York?
New York followed the 2018 Farm Bill with clarity on when CBD is legal.
They specified that it was legal as a supplement but not for food and beverage consumption.
This goes after retailers, restaurants, and bars that add CBD to food and beverage products.
An issue that's been in the news with recent "raids" on bars and restaurants which add CBD.
This also goes after ready-to-eat food and beverage products infused with CBD.
CBD edibles would appear to fall within this category.
CBD oil like IndigoNaturals would fall under the supplement heading in New York.
You'll have to add it to your cookies or chocolate on your own!
We expect further refinement but for now, New York State is taking a more active role in regulating CBD bought through retailers.
Is CBD legal in Florida?
Florida appears to follow the same path as New York.
There is no legal protection for adding CBD to food and beverage items for retail.
In fact, CBD is turning up all over the place in restaurants and bars across Florida.
Technically, they should be using ZERO THC products which is not always the case.
We only focus on zero CBD Isolate extract to avoid the State issues with even low levels of THC (under the .03%).
We expect this to evolve over the next 12-18 months so definitely check with Florida legislators.
Is CBD legal in Pennsylvania?
Currently, in Pennsylvania, to purchase CBD products, you must do so through a dispensary.
You can also purchase online as there is not a specific ruling on doing so in Pennsylvania.
The other rules for what constitutes legal CBD follow Federal guidelines above
We recommend zero THC products (this usually rules out full spectrum products).
Is CBD legal in Idaho, South Dakota, and Nebraska?
In terms of State law, no cannabis product is legal in these States.
Many times, this speaks to purchasing CBD locally via retail.
We have not heard negatives from customers who purchase online in terms of how law enforcement is treating CBD.
Let us know if you have specific feedback below by State!
Are CBD edibles legal in California?
California is following the New York model (or leading it as the case may be).
Currently, CBD is legal in California if it meets the Federal guidelines.
There is a stipulation however that CBD-infused products cannot be sold for food or beverage consumption.
This is mainly to address restaurants and bars that are adding CBD to their products.
For now, this would preclude purchase of CBD edibles, beverages, and foods.
CBD oils, capsules, and topical applications would not be impacted in California.
We expect California to re-evaluate the edible issue once they've decided how to regulate it for retail use.
Evolving Legal Status of CBD
The 2018 Farm Bill brought some clarity to CBD legality.
The FDA still sends confusing signals on how they will treat it especially since CBD has been used in a licensed medication Epeliodex.
Make sure to check with your State.
Legally, online CBD retailers are allowed to ship to any of the States.
This was clarified with the Farm Bill in terms of Interstate trade of CBD.
With the list of CBD benefits growing, we look forward to the legislators catching up with the researchers (see how CBD works by health issue here).