The details surrounding CBD legality are pretty grey, but we have made great strides as we move towards CBD legalization.
A main factor in determining CBD legality is where it is the source that it’s extracted from. CBD extracted from the marijuana strain is federally illegal. But, CBD extracted from proper domestic industrial hemp sources is legal.
CBD and the DEA: A Brief History of CBD Legality
To understand the current legal CBD landscape, we have to go back and look at the history of CBD. President Richard Nixon approved The Controlled Substance Act (CSA) on October 27, 1970. The CSA is the federal U.S. drug policy that monitors and regulates the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of certain narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, anabolic steroids and other chemicals.
Within the CSA, the following are used to categorize drugs:
- Risk for potential harm and abuse.
- Accepted medical applications in the U.S.
- Safety and potential for addiction.
The CSA classified the cannabis plant as a schedule I drug, making it federally illegal to buy or consume in the United States.
The issue with this ruling comes about when we look at the cannabis plant as a whole. There are many species of plant that make up the cannabis family – the two heavy hitters being marijuana and hemp. The compounds found in these species, THC and CBD respectively, effect the body in many different ways.
CBD has been shown to have no psychoactive properties associated with its consumption, so, it poses no danger to those who consume it.
Medical research started to show that CBD may have significant medical applications for certain conditions. With that, research needed to define a distinction between CBD and THC, so that both were not though to cause psychoactive effects.
CBD Laws Today
As time passed, many pro-CBD groups pushed for this distinction so that CBD legality could be possible throughout the U.S.
The 2014 Farm Bill is a declaration of policy about agriculture released by the federal government. Section 7606 of the bill, entitled Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research, reads that certain states would allow for the licensed growing of industrial hemp under supervision of each state’s department of agriculture.
This was followed up with the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015, which amends the CSA to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of “marijuana”.
This lawful distinction between hemp and marijuana has had many implications for CBD. Now, those against legalization won’t be able to use marijuana as a blanket statement to include hemp as well.
The DEA also released an internal notice on May 22, 2018 to all staff members and agents in the field. The notice confirmed that products and various materials containing cannabinoids are not illegal if they come from sources in line with the 2014 and 2015 Farm bills.
“Products and materials that are made from the cannabis plant and which fall outside the CSA definition of marijuana are not controlled under the CSA. Such products may accordingly be sold and otherwise distributed throughout the United States without restriction under the CSA or its implementing regulations. The mere presence of cannabinoids is not itself dispositive as to whether a substance is within the scope of the CSA.”
This clarification from the DEA goes hand-in-hand with the laws passed by congress. If the source of the CBD extraction is legal, then the product is also legal.
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- The DEA has recently classified cannabinoids as NOT illegal in the US
- CBD can be extracted from industrial hemp as long as it has a THC concentration less than or equal to 0.3%
- If the CBD is extracted from a legal source, then the product itself is legal