Three states still outlaw CBD, but it's allowed everywhere else. Check our chart to see where your state stands. Is CBD Legal? Read This Before Buying
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 Legal? Read This Before Buying
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Over the last few years, the demand for CBD products has skyrocketed, especially as a growing number of consumers seek all natural alternatives to common ailments such as poor sleep, anxiety, and chronic pain.
One of the first questions that people have in regards to CBD products is whether they’re legal or not. The short answer is yes, but only under specific conditions. CBD legality isn’t black and white. There’s a lot of gray area that causes a lot of confusion amongst those with a newfound interest in CBD.
Because there is so much misinformation about the legality of CBD, we’re here to help set the record straight. Here’s everything you need to know about whether CBD is legal or not, along with a list of five of the top CBD brands that meet all legal regulations.
Understanding Hemp vs. Marijuana
A lot of the confusion and misinformation comes from people not understanding that hemp and marijuana are two different plants. Therefore, the products made using compounds derived from each of these plants are also quite different.
Hemp and marijuana are two different varieties of the cannabis sativa plant. Both naturally produce CBD, along with other cannabinoids. Visually, hemp and marijuana look the same. However, the biggest difference is the level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC is the compound that causes people to get “high.” It’s known to create feelings of euphoria, and may cause confusion and anxiety. Hemp has a nearly non-existence amount of THC, with levels averaging below 0.3%. However, marijuana plants contain a much higher amount of THC, which can be as high as 30%.
Because marijuana has such a high THC content, which produces mind-altering effects, the plant is federally illegal in the U.S. along with many other countries around the globe.
Hemp-Derived CBD Is Legal
Understanding the difference between hemp and marijuana is crucial in understanding the legality of CBD products. Under the 2018 Farm Bill , hemp-derived CBD products are legal on a federal level. The bill removed hemp as a Schedule I substance and reclassified it as an “agricultural commodity.”
One of the most common misconceptions about this bill is that it legalizes all CBD products, regardless of whether the CBD was derived from hemp or marijuana. However, this isn’t true. According to the DEA, CBD is a Schedule I substance, which is illegal.
But, if the CBD is derived from hemp, and adheres to all of the regulations stated in the 2018 Farm Bill, then it’s no longer a Schedule I substance and is legal. In order for a CBD product to be legal, it must not only be derived from hemp, it must also:
● Contain less than 0.3% THC
● Must adhere to shared state-federal regulations
● Must be grown by a licensed grower
The bill also removed all restrictions on the sale, transportation, and possession of hemp-derived CBD products. This means that these products can be transported across state lines, as long as the product meets the above criteria.
Federal Legality Doesn’t Guarantee State Legality
Just because CBD is legal on a federal level doesn’t necessarily make it legal in all states. States can have laws that set forth further regulations, or ones that outright ban CBD products altogether.
Before buying any kind of CBD product, it’s important to check into any state laws that may be in place. For example, CBD products are considered illegal in Iowa. However, they are legal in neighboring states such as Illinois and Minnesota.
How to Confirm a Product’s Legality
Companies can advertise that a CBD product is 100% legal, but that doesn’t mean that what’s marketed is necessarily true. The only way to guarantee with total certainty that a product is legal is by reviewing the certificate of analysis (COA).
This is a document that’s created once a product has been tested by an independent third-party lab. A COA provides extremely detailed information about a product, including:
● Microbial contaminants (ie. mold, yeast, etc.)
Not only does a COA confirm the presence of these compounds, but it also provides a measurement. So when determining whether a CBD product is legal, you’ll want to look at the findings for THC. If the percentage is 0.3% or below, then the product meets all legal regulations.
If a product has a reading higher than 0.3%, or if a product doesn’t have a COA available, it’s best to steer clear.
Now that you know the ins and outs of the legality of CBD and how to determine if a product is legal, let’s take a look at the top 5 trusted CBD brands. These brands use the highest quality hemp-derived CBD and each product undergoes rigorous testing to ensure it meets legal regulations as well as quality, safety, and potency standards.
Top 5 Trusted CBD Brands
Penguin CBD products are powered by nature and inspired by earth. The company is run by a team of specialists from a variety of fields that work together to create quality CBD products. Penguin products are inspired by the calm, cool-under-pressure personality and lifestyle of penguins. The brand believes that everyone should be able to have a life that is balanced and chill.
All Penguin CBD products are made using GMO-free Oregon-grown hemp plants. These plants are raised and farmed without the use of pesticides or any other harmful chemicals.
Extract type : CBD isolate and broad spectrum (product dependent)
COAs : Lab results are available for each product on the Penguin website
2. Verma Farms
Verma Farms creates premium CBD products that are inspired by Hawaii. All CBD is sustainably sourced from the highest quality hemp plants grown throughout the United States that are grown without the use of harmful pesticides. Ingredients are carefully selected to ensure only the safest, highest quality options are used.
Though best known for their tropical paradise flavored collection of gummies, Verma Farms also offers a line of performance gummies that are uniquely formulated for improved recovery, sleep, and energy.
Extract type : Broad spectrum
● Pet products (oils and treats)
COAs : Lab results are available for each product on the Verma Farms website
FOCL is a premium CBD brand based out of Los Angeles and Denver. The team at FOCL (short for Focus) is passionate about wellness and obsessed with producing plant-based products that actually work.
Alongside its overarching belief in plant-powered wellness, FOCL has impressive third party testing standards and clearly does not cut corners in terms of quality. FOCL hemp is grown in the USA using organic and sustainable practices, and all FOCL products are non-GMO, THC-free and vegan. With fair prices and high quality ingredients, FOCL really is a go-to for all things CBD.
4. R+R Medicinals
As we routinely write about R+R Medicinals becoming one of the leading brands in the US, their gummies are no exception. They continue to impress by having created a 25mg gummy, available in both full and broad spectrum (THC-Free) with an amazing taste.
What’s even more amazing is that their gummies are USDA Organic, making them one of the only options available in that category worldwide! Furthermore, they’re completely Vegan, and they taste awesome, as they’ve partnered with a local candy manufacturer to create these delicious rings. So many other brands use artificial flavors, dyes, and other funky ingredients to achieve great tastes at the sacrifice of unnatural ingredients. R+R is truly delicious and a much more pure product.
20% off your first purchase with code: RRWORKS20 , 15% off all subscriptions!
5. Colorado Botanicals
Colorado Botanicals offers surprisingly affordable, premium, THC-free, broad-spectrum CBD with sustainability in mind. Their organic Colorado hemp is tested and uses no synthetic chemicals or potentially dangerous pesticides throughout the growing process. Although they’re yet to have any issues, their unique, vertically-integrated quality control offers multiple layers of protection.
Colorado Botanicals offers the usual range of hemp-derived CBD products, but their maximum potency is above and beyond their competitors.
Extract type : Broad spectrum
COAs : Lab results are easily accessible on each product’s page or their Lab Reports page
Bonus: Sunday Scaries
Sunday Scaries products are created to keep away the the impending doom of Monday that most people experience every Sunday. These top notch products are infused with premium CBD extract to calm the mind, improve your focus, relieve work pressure, and to reset your equilibrium so that you feel more balanced.
Sunday Scaries products deliver all of the whole-plant benefits offered by terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, and minor cannabinoids. Whether you want to have a truly relaxing bath or want to partake in some delicious CBD candy, this brand has got just the product for you.
Extract type : Broad spectrum
COAs : Lab results are available for each product on the Sunday Scaries website
The legality of CBD products isn’t as clear cut as many people would hope. However, by understanding the regulations at the federal and state level, it should be much easier to navigate the ever-changing and ever-growing landscape.
Buying CBD products from reputable brands that embrace third party testing is the best way to ensure that you’re investing in a legal product. The five brands on our list are well known in the CBD industry and go above and beyond to meet legal, quality, and safety regulations.