Flip through a modern wellness magazine and the term CBD will jump out of the pages. Everyone from self-described health gurus to respected clinical physicians are touting its benefits. CBD is safe to consume, has no serious side effects, and can transform your health.
But is it legal?
Sources of CBD
CBD is derived from cannabis plants. Although legalization efforts are sweeping the country, cannabis is still listed as Schedule 1 drug. CBD is completely non-psychoactive but if it’s sourced from a plant that’s rich in THC, it’s federally illegal. To purchase it, you’ll have to visit one of the many recreational and medical cannabis markets that have popped up across the country.
There’s another way to produce CBD. Hemp plants are cannabis plants that have been bred to have an extremely low THC content. Hemp is extremely useful because of the oil it produces and its tough fibers. CBD that’s derived from hemp plants is on the verge of being legal thanks to a pending measure dubbed the “Farm Bill.”
The 2014 Farm Bill
Legislators and activists have been fighting for years to legalize hemp, in part because of its tremendous monetary value. The CBD market alone is potentially worth billions of dollars.
The first version of the Farm Bill, signed into law in 2014, legalized hemp grown for very specific purposes. Growers can plant hemp if it’s intended for academic research or if it’s part of a state pilot program.
While there probably is some CBD for sale that’s been sourced from research hemp, it’s unlikely that every manufacturer is following this rule.
Some states, like California and Colorado, have implemented robust hemp programs. Others have taken the opposite approach. It’s unusual (although not unheard of) to prosecute CBD consumers. However, some states are still targeting sellers and manufacturers.
In November 2018, Florida police raided a Tallahassee CBD shop.
“We believe these products are legal. I think there is a misunderstanding of the law,” Alex Petrick, a manager for the store explained.
The 2018 Farm Bill
An updated version of the Farm Bill that would legalize hemp nationwide is making its way through Congress. The House and the Senate have both passed versions of the measure, although they’re very different.
A compromise could be worked out by the end of this year.
Technically, CBD is not legal in all 50 states. However, consumers can feel pretty safe. Complete legalization is on the horizon. The federal government has indicated that it has no interest in going after people who are just worried about their health.
“They are not a priority for us … it would not be an appropriate use of federal resources to go after a mother because her child has epileptic seizures and has found something that can help and has helped,” U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Rusty Payne said.
“Are they breaking the law? Yes, they are. Are we going to break her door down? Absolutely not. And I don’t think she’ll be charged by any U.S. Attorney.”
In other words, you can take CBD anywhere and generally you won’t have to worry about the police. However, you won’t be completely secure until the Farm Bill is signed into law.