Does it seem like CBD seemed to go from nowhere to everywhere? If you think that’s the case, well…you’re more or less right. While CBD has been around for centuries, it only recently saw legal changes that allowed for its sale at the commercial level. These changes in federal law explain its massive boom, rapidly increasing economic expansion and explosion of popularity. As such, CBD has become a wildly popular product, one which studies show may have the ability to improve the health and wellness of its users.

So, is CBD legal in the United States? Yes. However, there are exceptions and qualifications to that blanket statement. Here’s a guide to CBD’s legality.

2018 Farm Bill

CBD’s journey to legality began with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in December 2018. This comprehensive piece of legislation dealt with all things agriculture-related. However, it also contained provisions that permanently altered CBD’s legal status in America.

Specifically, the 2018 Farm Bill made many changes to the CBD market. Most importantly,  it formally removed CBD from the Schedule 1 list of banned drugs. This allowed for hemp to be grown, processed into CBD and sold commercially. This means that hemp can be shipped anywhere in the United States, allowing for interstate trucking and commercial websites to sell the product. This also means that hemp farmers can be treated as any other farmer and protected by the same laws which govern any other product. Specifically, farmers can now apply for protection and insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act.

Qualifications to CBD’s Legality

The 2018 Farm Bill more or less made CBD legal in the United States. However, that’s not a blanket statement. Indeed, there are some exceptions to this rule. Most importantly: Manufactured CBD can contain no more than .3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the cannabinoid found in marijuana which is responsible for intoxication).

Furthermore, states are free to design their own regulatory limitations on CBD. However, in order to establish a formal hemp program, the states must create a regulatory plan which allows for the monitoring of hemp growth. Broadly speaking, this means that the state must design a way of ensuring that hemp plants are protected and that secured from theft. Within that broad framework, states are free to establish more formal regulations and monitoring. However, all plans must be approved by the United States Department of Agriculture before a hemp program can begin.

States still have broad authority to determine whether or not CBD is legal within their borders. Indeed, thus far, three states have chosen to not fully legalize CBD. These three states are Idaho (which has only legalized THC-free CBD), Nebraska and Idaho.

Current U.S. Regulations

As with any food or drug, the United States Food & Drug Administration has the ultimate regulatory authority to determine specific regulations governing the testing and sale of CBD.

Clearly, current law allows for CBD to be bought, sold and transported across interstate lines. However, there does seem to be a wide degree of confusion about what sort of regulations currently exist.

In a recent statement on their website, the FDA has said that it is working towards developing more comprehensive regulations about CBD. However, the FDA is notoriously slow, and its regulations can sometimes take years to develop. Their most recent update provides a cautious tone, noting that not enough research yet exists to label CBD as “Generally Safe For Use” and expressing concerns over numerous unanswered questions, including its drug interactions and worry over liver damage. However, it said that it is dedicated to determining CBD’s long-term safety and establishing appropriate regulations.

Of course, this leaves many questions. What sort of labeling requirements are there? How about testing to determine veracity of labels? Are there inspection requirements from the FDA? So far, the answer appears to be no, and those powers have devolved to the states.

Some states have taken relatively aggressive tacts when it comes to regulating and inspecting CBD processing. Examples include Florida, which recently announced extensive CBD regulations on inspection and labeling.

Unfortunately, these protections are absolutely necessary. A 2017 study by the University of Pennsylvania examined 84 CBD samples and found that nearly 70% were mislabeled. That’s why so many highly reputable CBD companies provide customers with their own Certificates of Analysis, performed by independent labs, which test the ingredients in a CBD product and list those in a lab report.

CBD’s Legality

Fortunately for consumers, as long as you purchase CBD legally, you should have zero legal trouble. CBD is now legally available and for sale in many highly reputable websites and retail establishments, with more looking to get into the game. Most of the legal risk is on the sellers of CBD, not the consumers. You should use caution when buying it in foreign countries or when traveling on airplanes with it, as those rules seem to constantly be in flux. However, if you’re going to purchase CBD and use it in your home, you will be fine.

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