While we are definitely moving in the right direction, the legality of CBD as a whole is still very unclear due to different laws in different states. What's the legal status of CBD after the midterms? By Jenni Avins November 11, In recent months, cannabidiol, or CBD—the non-psychotropic chemical. Exploring the legal status of CBD with the passing of the Farm Bill. Note that the federal definition of hemp requires that it contain less.
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To appreciate the impact of the Farm Bill on the legality of hemp-derived CBD, it is necessary first to address the current legal landscape and relevant federal agencies.
Marijuana versus Industrial Hemp Under federal law, marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance and illegal for any reason. Industrial hemp is a subspecies of cannabis characterized by fibrous stalks and very low levels of THC.
It is an agricultural commodity with many uses and was widely grown throughout human history as a cash crop until the s when various states and eventually the federal government made all forms of marijuana illegal. After years of debate, in via the federal Farm Bill, Congress authorized state pilot programs to study the cultivation of and commercial market for industrial hemp as a viable agricultural crop.
The currently accepted legal definition of industrial hemp is any part of the cannabis plant that has no more than 0. Cannabis is therefore regulated by the federal government within three broad categories, including 1 marijuana regulated under the CSA, 2 exempted parts of the cannabis plant under the CSA and 3 industrial hemp under the Farm Bills.
Whether CBD is classified as a controlled substance is based primarily on the part of the plant from which the CBD is derived and whether it is derived from hemp as authorized by the Farm Bill. Senator McConnell, a hemp advocate from Kentucky, later decided that the HFA would have a better chance of passage within the Farm Bill rather than as an independent bill.
A companion bill also was introduced in the House of Representatives. After approval and reconciliation by the Senate and House, the final language within the Farm Bill will make drastic changes to the current laws concerning industrial hemp. It repeals section of the Agricultural Act within the Farm Bill, which mandated that hemp be grown under the auspices of a state agricultural pilot program or institution of higher education.
All products made from industrial hemp, including CBD oil, will be legal under the CSA if they contain no more than 0. State agriculture departments and Native American tribes will be free to regulate hemp in the same manner that any other agricultural commodity is regulated. The Farm Bill also should end the debate on the extent to which private businesses are allowed to engage in the commercial sales of products derived from industrial hemp, and whether hemp-derived products may be sold through interstate commerce into states that do not have industrial hemp agricultural pilot programs.
It is hard to see how the DEA will have a legal basis to make this argument given the language of the Farm Bill. The FDCA forbids adulterated or misbranded food and drugs from entering into interstate commerce.
The FDA does not differentiate the source of CBD — whether derived from cannabis or hemp — but rather considers all CBD to be an illegal food ingredient, regardless of source.
Since , the FDA has sent a number of letters to companies that sell CBD-infused oils and food products in interstate commerce, warning against making impermissible health claims. No formal challenge has been made to date, however. Future GRAS applications certainly will be made for CBD, but this must be done in accordance with the scientific process and will take time. In its June 25 press release, the FDA states: Unfortunately for those who want to capitalize on the booming demand for hemp-derived CBD food and supplement products, this is largely a distinction without a difference and underscores the new regulatory hurdles for federal approval of cannabis- and hemp-based products.
Regardless of the source of CBD, the FDA has concluded that CBD is a drug with a real health benefit that is used to treat certain epileptic seizures and is being investigated for other medical uses. Because the FDA has made this determination, CBD cannot be freely added to food or supplements that are sold to the public. We caution, however, that regardless of whether a state has taken a specific position on the issue, all states are obligated to refrain from enacting state food and drug laws that directly conflict with FDA regulations.
On the other hand, CBD sourced from industrial hemp is not permitted in any food product under any condition. Other States Weigh In Several other states have recently clarified their respective positions on CBD under state law, though most do not distinguish between CBD that is derived from hemp versus marijuana.
Many states do have exemptions under controlled substances state laws that mirror federal exemptions under the CSA. In a September email, the state's Department of Environmental Conservation wrote "there are no lawfully approved sources of CBD" available in Alaska. As a result, the substance cannot be sold or used in permitted food establishments.
Arizona has a medical marijuana program, but state law enforcement has interpreted the law to exclude cannabis extracts, including CBD.
There is a dispute heading to the state's Supreme Court. In late August , Governor Rauner signed a bill legalizing industrial hemp. The bill legalizes the farming of industrial hemp for commercial, research or pilot programs. It also permits the use of industrial hemp in health food. The definition of marijuana under Kentucky state law exempts hemp-derived CBD products. Any possession or transfer of industrial hemp must be done in compliance with Michigan's Industrial Hemp Research Act.
The Act authorizes growing and cultivating of industrial hemp for research purposes only and does not authorize its sale or transfer. This is a very rapidly developing industry. There is actually very little regulation of it.
The sellers will say this is a dietary supplement, the FDA has actually said no. Under Montana's Hemp Pilot Program, approved products include alcoholic beverages, including beer and distilled and infused spirits, and cannabinoid oils, including CBD for food, cosmetic and health products. He has issued a memo to law enforcement stating that CBD remains illegal to possess, manufacture, distribute or dispense. Cigarette smoking has dropped sharply in the U. At the same time, U. Four years ago, as part of a state agricultural department pilot program, Cornett decided to try industrial hemp as a new crop.
He says that even an average yield can earn profits similar to an excellent tobacco crop. All other agricultural commodities—corn, soybeans, and tobacco—have federal crop insurance, he adds.
While hemp production may eventually be a boon for U. Indeed, FDA commissioner Gottlieb emphasized that though hemp growing is now legal, the agency—under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act—still has authority to regulate the use of compounds from the plant, including CBD. Gottlieb said that could mean regulating CBD products as prescription drugs, which would require them to first undergo rigorous studies for safety and effectiveness.
Or, Gottlieb said, the agency could issue a regulation allowing the compound to be used in foods or dietary supplements. The agency intends to hold hearings on that question "in the near future," he said. In the meantime, the agency noted that it will continue to go after companies that make unapproved health claims on their products.
Since , the FDA has cracked down on dozens of companies selling CBD products online for making unsupported health claims. It noted in letters to the companies that CBD can't be sold as a supplement because it was introduced into clinical trials as an investigative new drug. Michael DeAngelis, a CVS spokesman, says the drugstore is continuing to monitor how the legislation evolves on federal and state levels before the chain stocks CBD products.
As a dorky kid, I spent many a Saturday at the Bloomington, Ind. Now, as a much bigger kid, that's still my job! Identifying products and services, especially in healthcare, that are safe, effective, and affordable—and highlighting those that aren't—is my top concern. Please call Member Services at Welcome to Consumer Reports. You now have access to benefits that can help you choose right, be safe and stay informed. Farmers can now grow hemp, but regulatory questions about the cannabis compound remain.
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Farm Bill Sets the Stage for Legal CBD Across the Country
You'll have to go on a state-by-state level to see if CBD oil is legal where Oklahoma also voted to legalize medical marijuana earlier in In the remaining 37 states, CBD derived from hemp is legal as a result of the Farm Bill. However, specific state laws surrounding marijuana-derived. To appreciate the impact of the Farm Bill on the legality of hemp-derived CBD, it is necessary first to address the current legal landscape.