Years ago, when the United States Congress passed the 2014 Farm Bill, the mandate gave state governments the authority to grow industrial hemp and research its benefits only through agricultural and pilot programs that were also managed by the state.
The legislation went even further to reclassify industrial hemp and hemp-based products, such as CBD oil, separate from marijuana cannabis based on its shallow tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. And according to federal law, hemp cannabis can only contain 0.3 percent THC.
A few years later, a revised version of the statute – referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill – passed, which finally legalized the commercial growth, production, and manufacture of hemp. This federal ruling also allowed CBD oil and other products derived from hemp plants to become more accessible. But does that mean CBD oil is legal? And where is CBD legal? The answer isn’t black and white. Read on to learn about whether CBD is or isn’t legal in your state.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is a liquid substance that contains CBD isolates infused with a carrier oil, such as the coconut-based MCT oil or a palm kernel oil. The CBD isolates are extracted from raw hemp material broken down from cannabis plants. And there is a difference between CBD oil and tinctures, but for the most part, CBD oil tinctures share the same base ingredients.
So then, what is CBD exactly, and is CBD legal? Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid that naturally occurs in Cannabis sativa strains; it’s a non-psychoactive, organic compound that alone cannot induce any intoxicating side effects. It’s also one of the most studied cannabinoids because of its valuable benefits for maintaining wellness, and it is produced in both marijuana and hemp cannabis.
How Is CBD Oil Legal?
CBD oil in America is federally legal only if it derives from industrial hemp, which by law can only contain less than 0.3 percent THC. And because of the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp was removed from the national Controlled Substances List as a Schedule I drug.
Hemp-based CBD oil is the type of cannabis-derived product that follows closely to the regulations set by the federal government. It’s typically made from industrial hemp, which already has less than 0.3 percent THC. And some CBD manufacturers go even further, refining their hemp extracts to be virtually THC-free.
However, with 33 states already legalizing medical marijuana, there are CBD oils that may contain a more abundant THC-to-CBD ratio than allowed by federal law. These marijuana-based CBD oils may require specialized identification or a doctor’s authorization for access.
Even though CBD oil with higher THC levels may have medicinal uses, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved one form of CBD oil as an actual drug – Epidiolex. Its approval was in 2018 and is strictly for two kinds of epilepsy disorders.
So, is CBD oil legal? Ultimately, it comes down to how state governments perceive CBD and its legalized uses.
Laws for CBD Oil
With the enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD oil products containing less than 0.3 percent are fully legal for U.S. residents to buy, sell, possess, and consume; however, state governments can individually regulate the manufacture and distribution of CBD oil through their legislation.
The following are laws regarding CBD oils broken down state by state. These rulings from CBD legal states may or may not reference CBD as either hemp or marijuana-based, so you may still need to contact a state official or legal advisor to know what type of CBD oil, if any, is permissible:
Alabama – The state of Alabama currently allows the use of medical marijuana for adults and minors as long as it was prescribed by a doctor who has passed an exam on medical marijuana. Alabama does also follow the 2018 Farm Bill and allows CBD oil that is derived from industrial hemp and has a THC concentration of 0.3 percent or less to be legally made, bought, and consumed.
Alaska – The state of Alaska has laws implemented for adult use and medical cannabis; however, industrial hemp is under the authority of its Department of Natural Resources (DNR). They are currently establishing regulations for retailers to register before selling hemp-based products. Similar to the drinking age, you can only be in possession of marijuana if you are over the age of 21.
Arizona – The state of Arizona has legalized the use of marijuana for those over the age of 21, though there are some rules. While the drug is legal, you are not allowed to smoke or use marijuana in public spaces, and employers still have the right to maintain a drug-free workplace. CBD oil is allowed without any exclusions.
Arkansas – The state of Arkansas has also instituted programs for medical marijuana and industrial hemp; it has removed CBD from its controlled substance list and doesn’t require any special documentation to sell or distribute CBD oil products. However, residents are organizing in an effort to put a broader legalization initiative on the ballot in 2022.
California – The state of California allows adult use and medicinal cannabis; there’s no special regulation for manufacturing or selling non-food hemp or hemp-derived products. However, its Department of Public Health has made CBD oil illegal to add to food, drinks, and other products.
Colorado – The state of Colorado has laws installed for adult use and medical cannabis; CBD oil is also fully legalized without any constraints.
Connecticut – The state of Connecticut has established laws as of 2021 for adult use and medical cannabis, which will be taxed similarly to alcohol. CBD is also fully legal without any exclusions.
Delaware – The state of Delaware is equipped with an industrial hemp pilot program and has approved medicinal cannabis for specific conditions; CBD oil products are fully legalized and have been since 2014. There is a legalization bill that will be addressed in January of 2022 allowing the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for those 21 and older and expunge those with past cannabis convictions.
District of Columbia – The District of Columbia a.k.a. Washington, DC recently passed laws that make marijuana legal for adults over the age of 21 and for medical purposes. Those who had past convictions and arrests in relation to cannabis will be expunged. CBD oil is also fully legal.
Florida – The state of Florida is currently creating an industrial hemp pilot program, and it already has a policy for medical cannabis; its Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has developed rules governing hemp, but nothing that regulates CBD oil specifically.
Georgia – The state of Georgia has a restrictive medical cannabis program, which grants the University System of Georgia to develop and research CBD oil with THC levels no higher than 5 percent. And its CBD content must be equal to or greater than the THC. It’s only available for patients with qualifying conditions and a low-THC registration card.
Hawaii – The state of Hawaii has legalized the use of CBD oil as long as it contains less than 0.3 percent THC, and it has a pilot program for medical cannabis.
Idaho – The state of Idaho has not legalized either medical or any adult use of cannabis; it also has no industrial hemp pilot program. CBD oil and any products containing trace amounts of THC are currently illegal.
Illinois – The state of Illinois has programs for industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis; it also has legalized adult use. The state governor signed its Commercial Low THC Hemp Extract Act, which authorizes CBD distribution and sale with proper documentation that it has less than 0.3 percent total THC. This law also removes “low-THC hemp extract” from its definition of cannabis.
Indiana – The state of Indiana has established a pilot program for industrial hemp, but has no laws regarding medical cannabis. With its Senate Enrolled Act 52, CBD oil is legal as long as it has no more than 0.3 percent THC and bottles that meet the proper labeling requirements. The effort to legalize adult use of cannabis has been pushed to 2022.
Iowa – The state of Iowa has a medical program specifically for CBD rather than medical cannabis; its Senate File 599 law allows CBD oil for medicinal uses that is sold from dispensaries only. Before the 2018 Farm Bill, the state’s Department of Public Health deemed over-the-counter CBD oil illegal, although enforcement was lax due to the 2014 Farm Bill. Several bills were introduced to legalize cannabis in 2021, but none received a vote. The bills will now carry over into the 2022 House of Representatives session.
Kansas – The state of Kansas has an industrial hemp pilot program and created a law that excludes hemp products without THC from its list of controlled substances. It passed another bill that provides legal defense for the possession of CBD oil with up to 5 percent THC. Neither law necessarily legalizes the production or sale of CBD, but they allow residents with specific conditions to possess the products. In 2021, a bill was approved by the House of Representatives that would legalize medical cannabis; this bill will continue to the Senate in 2022.
Kentucky – The state of Kentucky has laws governing medicinal CBD and an industrial hemp pilot program that allows state-regulated hemp cultivation specifically for making CBD oil. CBD-based products are fully legal to manufacture, own, and sell. In 2021 the House of Representatives passed a bill that would legalize medical marijuana, but the Senate adjourned before getting the chance to vote on it. The bill will pass to the Senate in 2022.
Louisiana – The state of Louisiana has laws regulating medical cannabis and industrial hemp. In 2021, Louisiana passed a bill into law that would reduce the penalty for those carrying 14 grams or less of cannabis. Instead of being incarcerated, people would only have to pay a $100 fine, similar to a traffic ticket.
Maine – The state of Maine allows adult use and medicinal cannabis; state officials classify CBD as food rather than a drug, which makes CBD oil legal as long as there are no medical claims in its advertisements or displays.
Maryland – The state of Maryland has implemented an industrial hemp pilot program and a medical cannabis program; however, topicals are the only CBD-infused products that are fully legal to sell. In 2022, the house of representatives intends to pass a bill that would refer legalization to voters on the 2022 ballot.
Massachusetts – The state of Massachusetts allows adult use, medical cannabis, and the creation of a pilot program for industrial hemp. Its Department of Agriculture outlaws food containing CBD, any animal feed infused with CBD, any retail sales of raw hemp, and CBD oil advertising with medical claims.
Michigan – The state of Michigan allows the cultivation, marketing, and adult use of marijuana cannabis – along with medical cannabis and a pilot hemp program. CBD oil is fully legal without restriction.
Minnesota – The state of Minnesota has programs for industrial hemp and medical cannabis; it currently allows the sale of hemp-based CBD oil specifically throughout the area. In 2021, the House of Representatives voted to legalize cannabis, but the Senate adjourned before taking its vote. The Senate will pick up the bill where it left off in 2022.
Mississippi – The state of Mississippi has neither medicinal cannabis nor an industrial hemp program; it does allow CBD oil with a ratio of 0.5 percent THC and 15 percent or more CBD only for patients with severe epileptic disorders.
Missouri – The state of Missouri has an industrial hemp pilot program and established a medical cannabis program as recently as 2018; it allows CBD oil products containing less than 0.3 percent THC and at least 5 percent CBD. Any CBD products beyond those limits require a hemp extract registration card and can only be purchased from a state-licensed facility. A new 2022 campaign will aim to place an adult-use legalization proposal on the ballots.
Montana – The state of Montana has a program for medical cannabis and industrial hemp, but it currently has no law in place that prohibits, legalizes, or regulates CBD specifically.
Nebraska – The state of Nebraska has a pilot program for industrial hemp, but no law that legalizes cannabis for medicinal or adult use. Its Hemp Farming Act excludes hemp and hemp-derived products from its controlled substance list. But the state law claims that only FDA-approved CBD is legal, and there are no legal protections for the retail sale of CBD.
Nevada – The state of Nevada has legalized the adult and medicinal use of cannabis, and it also has a program for industrial hemp. CBD products are legal within the area, but using CBD as a food additive or selling any CBD-infused edibles is prohibited by law.
New Hampshire – The state of New Hampshire has established programs for medicinal cannabis and industrial hemp; CBD is legalized, but under FDA regulation, it is prohibited as a food additive. There have been bills introduced to legalize cannabis in 2021, but they were retained, thus delaying a vote until 2022.
New Jersey – The state of New Jersey has an industrial hemp program that is currently awaiting the final approval of USDA laws, and a medical cannabis program. Adult use of cannabis is now legal. No law directly regulates CBD.
New Mexico – The state of New Mexico has programs for medical cannabis and industrial hemp. In 2021, New Mexico legalized the adult use of cannabis as well. CBD and CBD-infused foods are permitted to sell.
New York – The state of New York has medical cannabis and industrial hemp programs. In 2021, New York became the 16th state to legalize cannabis. It allows CBD to be widely available, but the City of New York prohibits the use of CBD in food and drinks.
North Carolina – The state of North Carolina has an industrial hemp pilot program, and in 2021 it approved revisions to a medical cannabis bill that allowed the possession and consumption for those with debilitating medical conditions. There is a law in place that allows CBD use for patients with intractable epilepsy. In particular, hemp-based CBD is regularly sold within the state despite limited regulations.
North Dakota – The state of North Dakota has a program for industrial hemp and medical cannabis; state law still classifies hemp as a controlled substance but also allows CBD oil that has less than 0.3 percent THC. There was a bill proposed in 2021 that would legalize cannabis, but it fell short.
Ohio – The state of Ohio has laws that govern industrial hemp cultivation, medical cannabis, and CBD; it currently allows CBD from state-regulated dispensaries but also has a pending proposal that may legalize CBD sales outside of these dispensaries. Adult use of cannabis may show up on the 2022 ballots.
Oklahoma – The state of Oklahoma has industrial hemp and medical cannabis programs that weren’t fully operational as recently as 2018. It has a law that permits CBD use for minors with severe epilepsy and allows CBD-only shops to operate. The state also requires that CBD oil labels contain the country of origin and a natural or synthetic designation.
Oregon – The state of Oregon permits cannabis for adult use and has programs for industrial hemp and medicinal marijuana; it requires CBD to be tested and certified from a state lab for legalization.
Pennsylvania – The state of Pennsylvania has implemented medical cannabis and industrial hemp programs. It fully allows hemp-based CBD oil, but products derived from marijuana cannabis have to go through the medical cannabis program.
Rhode Island – The state of Rhode Island has also incorporated programs for industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis; it allows CBD oil with low THC. Any CBD products with significant amounts of THC are accessible from dispensaries only. There has been some movement to start the full legalization of cannabis in 2022.
South Carolina – The state of South Carolina has a pilot program for industrial hemp and a law regulating medicinal CBD use; it legally protects residents who must use CBD for specific conditions. The state also follows federal law by allowing CBD products that contain less than 0.3 percent THC. South Carolina still does not allow the use of medical cannabis.
South Dakota – The state of South Dakota has no industrial hemp program, but they have started implementing a medical cannabis program as of July 2, 2021. The state passed a law removing CBD oil from its definition of marijuana and only allows CBD products that are approved by the FDA.
Tennessee – The state of Tennessee has a law regulating medicinal CBD and has initiated a pilot program for industrial hemp. It has legalized CBD oil with up to 0.9 percent THC and allows major retail stores to carry CBD. Medical cannabis still has not been legalized in 2021, but advocates will continue their effort to pass an effective medical cannabis bill in 2022.
Texas – The state of Texas has an industrial hemp program that offers legal protection for hemp and hemp-based products, and it also created a law regarding medical CBD that protects residents using CBD with up to 1 percent THC for specific conditions. There is still no medical cannabis program in place.
Utah – The state of Utah passed its Hemp and Cannabidiol Act that legalizes CBD and grants the Department of Agriculture and Food the ability to regulate products based on ingredients and proper labeling. This enactment was soon followed by a law governing medical cannabis.
Vermont – The state of Vermont has legalized limited adult use of cannabis and has established programs for industrial hemp and medical marijuana; it also allows CBD oil to be legally produced and sold.
Virginia – The state of Virginia has an industrial hemp pilot program and a medicinal cannabis law that allows CBD oil and THCA oil for specific conditions; it also permits the sale of hemp-derived CBD from many retailers. In 2021, Virginia became the 17th state to legalize cannabis use for adults over the age of 21.
Washington – The state of Washington has legalized adult use and has programs for both industrial hemp and medical cannabis; it permits CBD oil sales from licensed marijuana stores.
West Virginia – The state of West Virginia has passed a law for medical cannabis and has a pilot program for industrial hemp; CBD oil is fully legal to be purchased.
Wisconsin – The state of Wisconsin has a medicinal cannabis law and an industrial hemp pilot program; it used to allow only doctors and pharmacies to distribute CBD, but currently, farmers that cultivate hemp can legally make CBD oil.
Wyoming – The state of Wyoming has an in-depth medical cannabis law that allows CBD for residents with qualifying conditions; it also has an industrial hemp program and currently permits CBD for legal use and possession. Voters may get the chance to vote on both medical cannabis and decriminalization of cannabis in 2022.
The Legal Status of CBD Oil
While it is crucial to understand CBD’s legal status in your area, there are other factors to look for when buying CBD oil, such as ingredients, manufacturing methods, and lab test results. And even though CBD oil is federally legal, many states have additional stipulations or restrictions within each territory.
You should still consult an attorney for the best legal advice regarding CBD oil in your state, as the material shared here is for informational purposes only.