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legal status of cbd in usa

Definitive Guide to: Is CBD Legal in All 50 States?

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Is CBD Legal in Your State?

CBD is everywhere! Suddenly, no household in the USA seems to be able to avoid it. Whether it is used in the form of CBD oil, cereals, lozenges, tinctures, chocolates, vape juice, dietary supplements, sleep aid, soaps, or shampoos, it is found in every virtually every home in one form or another.

The Global Market Insights, Inc predicts that the total volume of the CBD market around the world will cross $89 billion by 2026.

However, do you have thorough information on whether it is even legal in your state or not? This has to do in part with where it is derived from.

What is CBD and Where does it Come from?

CBD or cannabidiol is one of the hundred cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis plants. The cannabis genus of plants has three broad species;

  • Cannabis Sativa
  • Cannabis Indica
  • Cannabis Ruderalis

The hemp plant belongs to the Cannabis Sativa species whereas the notorious marijuana may belong to either cannabis Sativa or Cannabis Indica species. What differentiates hemp and marijuana is the percentage of THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is another one of the cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. THC has its own set of benefits to offer to the human body. However, unlike Cannabidiol, THC is psychoactive. This means that it can get you psychologically high. It makes you feel stoned.

It is this intoxicating property of THC which gives marijuana a notorious image and hemp a noble reputation. This is because THC falls on the list of controlled drugs. Marijuana is high in THC whereas the hemp plant contains only 0.3% or lower concentrations of THC. To know more in-depth about how CBD derived from marijuana and hemp may differ, refer to this resource.

What is CBD? Everything You Should Know

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The legal History of CBD

Since 1937, the cultivation of the entire cannabis genus and the extraction of any compound from it to be sold in any form was legally prohibited in federal law. This implies that CBD had also been illegal since 1937.


However, it was in the last year that things changed and hence the market witnessed a sudden unprecedented boom in the CBD industry. Towards the very end of the year 2019, a law was passed by President Trump. It is known as the Agricultural Improvement Act which was initially presented in 2018. It is also called the Farm Bill 2018. This act changed the legal status of hemp in the following ways;

Previously, hemp cultivation was regulated under the Drug Enforcement Administration. After this law, it is now being handled by the US Department of Agriculture instead.

Now, since hemp has been declared legal, it is only sensible to believe that the CBD derived from hemp is also legal. Isn’t it? Actually NO! not completely.

Although hemp is being declared legal, the products derived from it to be sold commercially have varied legal statuses. These are being regulated on different grounds. Besides, there is a difference between what is legal federally and what is legal at a State level. To eliminate this confusion, read below.

Federal Law Regarding Hemp and CBD

Since the enactment of the Farm Bill, the authority handling hemp and CBD-related matters has changed. From the Drug Enforcement Administration, these matters moved to the US Department of Agriculture. Moreover, the federal agencies now won’t take any legal steps against anyone growing hemp or extracting CBD from it.

Besides, hemp is no more being alternatively used for marijuana. The term cannabis means both marijuana and hemp. But hemp no longer is the same as marijuana. This is an important differentiation. The cannabis plants containing 0.3% or less CBD are legally recognized as hemp. Whereas, anything above that means you are referring to marijuana, not hemp.

Since hemp and CBD derived from it is no longer in the list of Controlled Substances, the law holds the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as one in charge of the products derived from hemp. It is now given the responsibility to regulate the food and drug derivatives of hemp. Simply put, if the CBD products derived from hemp are sold as food, dietary supplement, drug, or cosmetics, beyond the state where hemp is being cultivated, FDA’s regulations will apply. And what is the stance of the FDA on such products? keep reading to find out.

is cbd legal in your state

Laws of Individual States Regarding Hemp and CBD

The legality of hemp and CBD products derived from hemp at the federal level is not the end of the story. It doesn’t automatically make hemp and CBD legal at the state level. Every state has its own set of rules regarding the cultivation of hemp and the commercial use of CBD products. Moreover, some states have not even come up with a final stance on hemp and its derivatives. They are still in process of reviewing some proposals.

Besides, even the states which have legalized it have some conditions attached to the sale of CBD products in many cases. For example, while many states allow CBD to be used for medicinal purposes, they have different rules for it to be used as food or cosmetics. So, partial or full restrictions are in place in many states. However, most states are clear about what would actually qualify as CBD and hence non-psychoactive. According to federal laws and most state laws, when the THC content in any hemp derivative is 0.3% or less, it can be labeled as CBD. This automatically implies that only the hemp-derived CBD is legal.

To find out more in detail about whether your state legalizes the possession of hemp and the use of CBD products, refer to the table below.

StateLegal StatusConditions
AlaskaLegalIllegal in the form of CBD foods and beverages
ArizonaLegalIllegal in the form of CBD foods and beverages
ArkansasLegalIllegal in the form of CBD foods and beverages
CaliforniaLegalIllegal in the form of CBD foods and beverages
ColoradoLegalIllegal as baked products
ConnecticutLegalOnly the registered CBD foods and beverages are legal
DelawareLegalAffiliation of hemp farmer with Delaware State University is mandatory
FloridaLegalOnly certain forms of labeling are allowed
GeorgiaLegalIllegal in the form of CBD foods and beverages
IdahoIllegalIllegal in every form
IndianaLegalOnly certain forms of labeling are allowed
IowaIllegalIllegal in every form
KansasLegalIllegal in the form of CBD foods and beverages
KentuckyLegalCBD tea is illegal
LouisianaLegalMany product restrictions are in place
MaineLegalLegal only if CBD is extracted from licensed Maine hemp grower
MarylandLegalLaws are still not decisive
MassachusettsLegalOnly those foods and beverages are allowed which have been tested for purity
MichiganLegalNot legal in the form of CBD foods and beverages
MinnesotaLegalNot legal in the form of CBD foods and beverages
MississippiLegalMust be at least 20:1 CBD: THC ratio
MissouriLegalAge must be above 18. State registration is mandatory for sales.
MontanaLegalNot allowed in the form of CBD foods and beverages
NebraskaLegalNot allowed in the form of CBD foods and beverages
NevadaLegalNot allowed in the form of CBD foods and beverages.CBD sales are allowed in cannabis stores only
New HampshireLegalRegulations are still in the evolution phase
New JerseyLegalNone
New MexicoLegalNone
New YorkLegalNot allowed in the form of CBD foods and beverages. Purity tests are mandatory.
North CarolinaLegalNot allowed in the form of CBD foods and beverages
North DakotaLegalNone
OregonLegalRegulations regarding the labeling are under consideration
PennsylvaniaLegalNot allowed in the form of CBD foods and beverages. Regulations regarding labeling are under consideration.
Rhode IslandLegalRegulations regarding labeling are in the evolution phase.
South CarolinaLegalNot allowed in the form of CBD foods and beverages.
South DakotaIllegalNot legal in any form
TexasLegalRegulations regarding labeling are under consideration.
UtahLegalRegistration is mandatory for sales
VermontLegalCan’t combine CBD with meat or dairy products. If CBD is added to maple syrup, it cannot be labeled as pure maple syrup.
WashingtonLegalNot allowed in the form of CBD foods and beverages.
West VirginiaLegalNot allowed in the form of CBD foods and beverages.
WisconsinLegalNot allowed in the form of CBD foods and beverages.

How FDA Regulates Hemp and CBD?

As mentioned earlier, the enactment of Farm Bill 2018 puts cannabis and its derivatives under the regulations of the FDA. However, FDA regulations regarding CBD are still continuously evolving. They haven’t yet reached a conclusive decision about the hemp cannabis derivative. There are a few important points though, which have been made clear so far by FDA;

  • The two acts under which FDA regulates the CBD products are the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act, and the Public Health Service Act. These acts prohibit the interstate sale of CBD products when they are labeled as food or dietary supplements.
  • When hemp is being grown in a state where it is legal, the products derived from it can be sold in the same state if labeled as food products and dietary supplements. However, these food products or supplements cannot be sold across the state of their origin.
  • Products that aren’t labeled as food or supplements can be sold throughout the country no matter where they were extracted. For example, labeling your product as “active hemp extract” makes it legal to be sold in all 50 states.

FDA itself has explicitly made CBD legal to be used in medicine called Epidiolex. It is used specifically to treat two rare forms of epilepsy. It has shown promising results when it comes to controlling the seizures resulting from these two forms of epilepsy.

Although CBD products are prohibited by FDA to be sold in the form of food and dietary supplements, these are being sold as over-the-counter supplements widely. FDA doesn’t, at the time, enforce its regulations fiercely. This is perhaps because of the risk of paving the way or a huge illegal market of CBD just like the one that exists for THC vape cartridges.

Moreover, it is really easy for the CBD product suppliers to get a bit tricky with their labels and hence get their products sold across the states even as food and supplements. However, though serious action is rarely taken by the FDA, it keeps reminding the users that all CBD products available in the market may not be legal.

CBD and Sleep: is there a Promising Relationship?

cbd packaging store


If you’ve decided to join the tribe of rapidly growing CBD users, make sure you are well acquainted with the laws of our state of residence. Moreover, bear in mind that since the over-the-counter CBD drugs are not regulated by FDA right now, there might be a misrepresentation of ingredients and their percentages. It is imperative that you stay vigilant and make a learned purchase. Moreover, for first-time users, it is important to start with a lower dose and consult a physician as CBD does have the capability to interfere with certain medications.

Where CBD does show promising results in treating certain ailments, it is always better to stay within the boundaries of legality, especially when it comes to the laws of the states.


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