In the waning days of 2018, the Republican-led Senate enacted the newest update to the Farm Bill. This bill, which was first passed in 1933, has been updated roughly every 5 years since that date. In the past, like the shifting of the seasons, it came and went with little to no fanfare. That changed this year due to some revisions pushed by Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.
Cluttered amongst its 800+ pages, ranging from agricultural practices to emerging markets, were a few sections regarding the reclassification of hemp and hemp farming. While this may not seem like a big deal, it was, especially for the CBD industry. With this new classification, a soft legalization of CBD occurred at the federal level. The passing of the 2018 Farm Bill has the power to have a major impact on the CBD market as a whole, especially its availability. Below, we will discuss what this means for the legality of CBD products in all 50 states.
Hemp and Marijuana
For nearly a century, the hemp plant was lumped in and considered to be indistinguishable from the marijuana plant. As we now know, this was a false conflation, stemming from many lacking the understanding of the proper CBD definition. Although they may be cousins, sharing some similarities, there are distinct differences between the two that the Controlled Substances Act failed to recognize—namely the fact that hemp does not contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
THC is the psychoactive phytocannabinoid in cannabis that produces the euphoric, intoxicating, high. On the other hand, hemp is very low in THC levels, but high in CBD (cannabidiol). CBD has its own unique therapeutic properties, some of which include that it:
- May provide stress relief
- May help with anxiety relief
- May aid in pain relief
- May produce anti-seizure effects
Although THC, particularly medical marijuana, may replicate some of these effects, CBD is different in that it is not an intoxicant, making it an ideal substitute for many pharmacological alternatives. Prior to December, CBD remained on the Schedule 1 Classification list. This is defined as, “A substance with no currently accepted medical use in the U.S., a lack of accepted for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.” However, the passing of the Farm Bill changed that classification for CBD and hemp products.
CBD Availability by State
With the passing of the new legislation, many have wondered, is CBD oil legal in all 50 states, or what the regulations are around other CBD products as well. Cannabis laws and the availability of CBD by state can be separated into two categories: pre-Farm Bill and post-Farm Bill.
CBD Pre-Farm Bill
Prior to 2018, there was a concerted plea to the DEA to at least separate Marijuana from CBD, especially due to CBD’s efficacy at potentially helping reduce severe epilepsy. This, combined with the shift for states to legalize Cannabis, whether recreational or medical, increased the availability of CBD. Some states adopted this widely, such as California and Colorado – the California medical card rules are indicative of this. Despite that, the legal status in several states classified it as either illegal or made it incredibly difficult to obtain CBD, even if you were issued a medical card. State cannabis laws can be broken up into four categories:
- States with legal recreational and medical cannabis – In such states CBD (hemp-based or marijuana-based) or marijuana can be obtained at any recreational or medical dispensary. States include:
- Washington D.C.
- States with legal medical cannabis – In such states CBD (hemp-based or marijuana-based) and medical marijuana can be obtained if you are qualified patient. States include:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- States with legal medical CBD – In such states only CBD (hemp-based or marijuana-based) can be purchased and possessed by qualified patients. Even then, the supply or availability of CBD in certain states can be extremely restricted. States include:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
- States where any form of Cannabis is Illegal – In these states, even medical CBD is outlawed. States include:
- South Dakota
CBD Post-Farm Bill
The most recent Farm Bill shook things up by differentiating hemp from marijuana. The new bill redefines hemp by saying that it is part of the cannabis plant, but it cannot be composed of more than 0.3% THC in order to qualify as industrial hemp. The bill then reschedules industrial and removes it from the schedule 1 classification. That said, anything with a higher THC content is considered to be a marijuana-based CBD and is only legal in the particular states mentioned above.
In addition to this, the bill made provisions that lifted restrictions on cultivation, possession, sale, or transport of hemp-derived products—namely CBD—so long as they adhere to the bill’s strictures. Now, what this means for the cultivation, production, and sale of CBD remains to be seen and will likely vary on a state-by-state basis. However, your access to state-regulated CBD should dramatically increase in the near future.
It would be incorrect to say that all CBD has been fully legalized. Hemp-based CBD has been legalized, with some constraints. That said, the Farm Bill is a celebratory-worthy improvement, especially for people in completely illegal states. Although it may take some time for CBD state licensed dispensaries to open up, it is a shift in the right direction. There are also a wide variety of CBD products available on the market today, such as BioCBD+, that are able to be purchased online and shipped directly to your home. BioCBD+’s CBD hemp oil, vape and capsules are all high quality, natural CBD products made to help bring the relief and positive benefits that hemp CBD can have for people. Whether you’re interested in the topical treatments of hemp oil or other CBD oil products, there are a wealth of options available to you today to help reap the benefits of CBD.
BioCBD+ respects and appreciates the hard work the FDA does, and the disclosure below is required by The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from healthcare practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.
- Abbot, C. Successful Farming. Trump Signs 2018 Farm Bill. (2018). https://www.agriculture.com/news/business/trump-signs-2018-farm-bill
- U.S. Senate. Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. https://www.agriculture.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Agriculture%20Improvement%20Act%20of%202018.pdf
- Sung, M. Mashable. Here’s the Difference Between CBD and THC. (2019). https://mashable.com/article/difference-between-cbd-thc-marijuana-weed/