Since it isn’t the psychoactive component in marijuana, you may expect that CBD would be treated differently in the eyes of the law. But that would be too simple and too sensible for most governments, apparently. In the U.S. there is a lot of confusion about the legality of CBD, owing to differences between how marijuana and hemp are treated under the law.
This is explained in an article from High Times, but the short version is that the DEA considers all CBD products cannabis extracts, which in turn means they’re Schedule I controlled substances under federal law.
There is often confusion around the Farm Bill defining “industrial hemp” as being anything with less than 0.3% THC, but this rule was only intended to allow universities and farmers working with state agriculture departments to grow it. It unfortunately doesn’t make hemp-derived CBD oil legal in all 50 states.
However, state laws tend to treat CBD differently. Overall, only six states – South Dakota, West Virginia, Kansas, Indiana, Nebraska and Idaho – treat it like the federal government does, with essentially any component of the plant being illegal. The 28 states with medical marijuana laws allow CBD on those grounds, and 16 states have CBD-only laws, which allow people to use CBD for specific medical conditions. And of course, states which have legalized marijuana don’t restrict CBD at all.
But it’s really even more complicated than that. Even if CBD oil is considered illegal in your state, the truth is that enforcement of any rules around it has been very lax. In fact, there are hardly any instances of people being arrested for selling CBD oil, and apparently no examples of people being punished for possessing it.
Outside of the strict, codified legal world – where “marihuana” (spelled like that for unpleasant historical reasons) is pretty much anything you derive from the main parts of plant. The non-psychoactive nature of CBD makes it a low priority for law enforcement. But it still could be enforced.
In a nutshell, you’re able to get CBD oil and hemp oil in most places around the country, and while you’ll technically be breaking federal law, you’re very unlikely to be punished for it unless you’re selling CBD products. And even then it doesn’t seem to be that likely — for now anyway.