WHAT ARE THE LAWS AROUND CBD?
CBD LAW GUIDE
U.S, STATE & INTERNATIONAL CBD LAWS
The legality and regulations surrounding CBD vary from Country to Country and State to State.
Is CBD legal, Is it partially legal, what are the regulations, are the laws themselves legal? It’s true to say that the current laws and regulations make the legality of CBD confusing for many.
Here’s a guide on U.S.A CBD laws and International CBD laws to help you.
With the growing demand for CBD in the U.S and around the world, especially as research uncovering its massive range of medical benefits continues to grow at an unprecedented pace. Many of us are turning to the potential health benefits of CBD in place of potentially harmful and addictive prescription drugs.
However, the laws surrounding CBD do get understandably confusing. Although there are still strict restrictions against cannabis in many parts of the world, hemp-based CBD products are now “legal”, making it easier for many people to get their hands on wonderful natural medicinal CBD products.
Laws around Medical cannabis are becoming much more liberal throughout the world and the more importantly the United States. Marijuana and CBD is now entirely legal in Canada since legalization on October 17, 2018. CBD oil made from cannabis plants, and produced by Health Canada approved Licensed Producers are legal, both medicinally and recreationally
The 2018 Farm Bill in the USA made growing (under license), production and sale of hemp products across state lines legal on a federal level & freely available to purchase across the country. The bill clearly states the classification and separation of hemp cannabis from marijuana, legally classifying them as two entirely different legal entities. The classification indicates that any cannabis plant containing <0.3% THC are lawfully classified as hemp. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that; we will go into more depth later in the article.
Many European countries are also very loose about cannabis and hemp laws with some allowing CBD products to contain up to 1% THC.
Across the globe it’s now easier than ever for people to buy and use CBD in it’s many forms.
However, laws do vary from country to country and even within countries. These varying non standard laws make the legality of CBD confusing for many. To help you better understand the ever changing and confusing laws on CBD we have put together a simple guide on U.S CBD laws and International CBD laws to help.
NOTE: This guide does not intend to be used for any real life legal situations, is not an official statement of law and is for educational purposes only. You need to check the most up to date legalities regarding your country or state if you feel you may be in breach of any current laws. For further information and contacts refer to the list at the end of this article.
What are the laws around CBD?
QUICK GUIDE TO CBD
Before delving into the laws of CBD, it helps to know what it is and why people use it. Cannabis and hemp plants are made up of over 100 chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids. When these cannabinoids are extracted from the plants and consumed by humans, they work synergistically with our bodies endocannabinoid system to relive and cure many health issues.
The advancement of studies into our endocannabinoid system and the effects of all cannabinoids on the human body has resulted in CBD getting used in many health products. You can now buy CBD Oils, Edibles, Topicals, Vape Cartridges, and many other kinds of products freely online and over the counter in many towns and cities.
CBD and other cannabinoids can be extracted from both hemp and marijuana plants, hence why current regulations & laws can be tricky. There are still strict laws against marijuana in many parts of the world, which obviously also makes CBD products with THC content above each countries legal limit made with marijuana or hemp illegal, although they carry all of the same cannabinoid benefits regardless of which plant classification from which they are derived.
CBD LAWS U.S.A
UNITED STATES CBD LAWS
USA has some particularly convoluted and confusing laws on CBD, primarily as each state can regulate and legally classify as they see fit. There are now ten states where marijuana is entirely legal. There are also 33 states where marijuana is legal for medical use. Which also includes cannabis oils. What’s more, some States make exceptions for patients with certain conditions to use CBD Oil, providing the oil has lower than the legally defined levels of <0.3% THC.
However, recent changes to The Farm Bill make hemp products much more legally available. Under Federal law you can now legally produce, buy, ship and use CBD in all 50 states, providing the product is derived from legally classified hemp originating from a federally licensed grower, and has less than <0.3% THC.
The only difference is the legal classification of the originating plant material. Hemp cannabis products in the U.S are required to contain <0.3% THC, so they won’t make you high or give you any psychoactive side effects.
However, the FDA is still in debate on how to regulate CBD/Hemp derivatives and currently deem CBD in foods to be illegal. This has caused Senators to urge the FDA to update regulations to ensure that U.S. producers and consumers have better access to CBD products. Due to this lack of guidance around regulations, many states are still deeming CBD to be marijuana and regulating CBD as such. Baffling, frustrating and very confusing. This isn’t common and is slowly heading in the right direction.
While cannabis-based CBD Oil laws can vary from state-to-state, hemp-based CBD products are much more available. In the past, states such as Texas barred the use of CBD. Until very recently Texas has now signed a bill to remove CBD from schedule 1 and moved it to schedule 5.
At this time, as many states are still behind with the legalities and feel CBD is still federally a schedule 1 drug, which is entirely wrong. At best, but yet not official, CBD isolates could be deemed a schedule 5 drug whereas a full plant extract is difficult to legally define as a drug or even fall under scheduling regulations, largely due to the FDA approving the isolate seizure drug Epidiolex
Definition of schedule 5: Schedule V drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV and consist of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. Schedule V drugs are generally used for antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic purposes.
Some examples of Schedule V drugs are:
Cough preparations with less than 200 milligrams of codeine or per 100 milliliters (Robitussin AC), Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, Parepectolin. (source)
Many U.S States are currently trying to regulate, ban or stop the sale of CBD over the counter. Some States are making flavored CBD illegal, some are making all CBD, and some are trying to prohibit access without prescriptions. Please check your current state laws.
The battle isn’t over yet, with confusion from the FDA, state law, federal law, miss information and so on, it’s still very much a grey area in the few remaining “illegal” States. However, it’s technically legal!
CBD LAWS CANADA
CANADIAN CBD LAWS
Canada has very loose laws on cannabis and CBD. Across the country, you should have no problem using any cannabis product. Recent changes in the law from 2018 make it legal for adults 19 years of age or above (18 in Alberta and Quebec) to buy cannabis in all forms.
You’ll be able to find cannabis oils, edibles, and other products with high CBD in stores across the country. Some provinces currently have more stores than others. The only requirement is that you have proof of age to be able to use hemp-based CBD products.
The use of industrial hemp has been legal in Canada for decades. Which means, technically, you will have no problem buying hemp-based CBD products. All in all, Canada CBD laws are very liberal, and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding and buying CBD in any form. However, yep, you guessed it, it’s not that simple!
Stores are getting raided, shipments are getting ceased, companies banned from shipping, importing and selling or shut down, and in some areas, you need a prescription to gain access to a legal product. *Sigh*
CBD LAWS UK
UNITED KINGDOM CBD LAWS
The UK still has strict laws against the use of cannabis. Cannabis is a Class B drug, meaning there are severe penalties for those who possess, grow or distribute the drug. These laws also make it hard for people to use cannabis oils. However, there are some exceptions.
Recent legal changes in November 2018 allow medicinal cannabis for some Patients. The GW Cannabis-based medicine Epidiolex was recently approved for use in the UK for patients with epilepsy. Certain patients should also be able to use cannabis oils. Well, they should, but you guessed it, it’s not that simple. Even with CBD now legal and medical access available via prescription, no one can get a prescription without paying a private Dr. CBD is deemed a very last resort to people with incurable seizures, only to be prescribed when all the 100s of other prescription drugs have failed.
However, despite the strict laws on cannabis, hemp-based CBD products are much easier to obtain. It’s legal to produce, sell, buy and possess CBD as long as it’s below the UK legal limit of <0.2%THC. In fact, the legalization of CBD in the UK has created considerable industry growth of CBD companies and the use of CBD in the UK. CBD is technically not a controlled substance in the United Kingdom. As long as oils and other CBD products have low levels of THC, they are legal for anyone to use.
CBD Oils, Vape Products, and other forms of treatment are available to buy in stores across the UK. These will generally be produced from hemp, so there are no legal barriers to stop people from obtaining them.
Reports show that CBD use is growing fast in the UK. The use of CBD doubled between 2017 and 2018 according to estimates from The Cannabis Trades Association UK. It is also expected to grow by up to 700%, and the CBD market could be worth $2.1 billion by 2020.
UK Government announces that medicinal cannabis is legal – read more
Breaking News: Food Standards Agency (FSA) announced plans to reclassify CBD products as ‘novel foods’ rather than ‘food supplements’. More
European Union’s Novel Foods Catalogue
AUSTRALIA CBD LAWS
Unlike the countries above, Australia has strict laws on both cannabis and CBD itself as a substance. In fact, up until 2017 CBD was a schedule 9 drug. These are drugs that are only legally allowed to be used for research. In other words, CBD was categorized with drugs like heroin and MDMA and required a license to carry out research.
A change to the law in 2017 lowered CBD significantly to a schedule 4 drug. While it is still publicly unavailable, it is legally available to patients with a prescription. However, it is still tough for Australians to use CBD as these prescriptions are only given out in very limited circumstances.
Further legal changes in 2018 made certain hemp products legal, albeit still with restrictions. Products made with hemp seed oil are seen as food products and therefore not illegal. Products should only have 75 mg/kg of cannabidiol or less and THC levels of 50 mg/kg or less.
These regulations makes CBD laws a bit murky in Australia, although citizens of some states may find it easier to use hemp CBD products. As the popularity of CBD grows worldwide, it’s likely it’ll also become bigger in Australia.
NETHERLANDS CBD LAWS
Bizarrely, the Netherlands has some unique laws regarding cannabis, CBD, and other drugs. The country is well known for having a very relaxed attitude towards marijuana. In fact, you can even order cannabis joints and edibles in places such as coffee shops.
Amsterdam drug laws define cannabis as a soft drug. Henceforth, the use of cannabis products are widely tolerated, and you won’t get prosecuted for using cannabis oils (or even strains and other products). They’re sold in many places, although only to adults with proof they are over 18.
Interestingly, hemp extract is illegal in the Netherlands. Changes to The Opium Act in 1999 allow the use of hemp for fiber hemp products, enabling the growth of hemp plants with THC contents of less than 0.2%. However, the production of CBD remains illegal as it involves extraction from hemp plants.
CBD products are tolerated in the Netherlands providing they have 0.05% of THC or less. You can find CBD products in certain health stores and online shops.
However, you will most likely need to find THC-free CBD products. While the laws are murky, and you should have no problem using CBD products in Amsterdam providing they fit specific guidelines.
JAMAICA CBD LAWS
Jamaica is another country known for having a considerably liberal cannabis culture. In 2015, Jamaica legalized the medical use of marijuana. Allowing both citizens and visitors to obtain marijuana with permission from a doctor. Many tourists even visit Jamaica to sample their marijuana. You also won’t have much of a problem using CBD Oil in Jamaica.
The use of CBD Oil is growing in the country for treating pain, seizures, neurological disorders, psychological disorders, and various other issues. Considering its low levels of THC, it is not seen as a harmful substance and is available for purchase in many places.
However, CBD Oil can be hard to find in various parts of Jamaica. While the production and sale of CBD is legal, there aren’t many stores which sell affordable, premium CBD products. Visitors may even have an easier time finding marijuana than CBD products.
SWITZERLAND CBD LAWS
In Switzerland, drugs are controlled under the Swiss Narcotic Act, while this covers various substances, CBD isn’t one of them, making CBD products available for sale and use in the country. The only stipulation is cannabis/hemp CBD products in Switzerland must contain less than 1% THC.
Growers are also able to grow certain high-CBD strains, providing they have very low THC levels. The change in laws has seen an explosion in stronger extracts getting produced with aims of treating severe diseases like cancer, so you shouldn’t have a problem buying and using treatments such as THC-free CBD Oil.
CBD products can also get legally labeled as medical cannabis in Switzerland. CBD and medical cannabis is often sold in tobacco stores and are widely available.
FRANCE CBD LAWS
Cannabis is still illegal in France (albeit the illegal use of marijuana is still highly illegal), while you won’t be able to grab your favorite cannabis strains, the laws on CBD products are much more relaxed.
Laws in France allow the use of cannabis products which contain less than 0.2% THC. This allows for the sale and use of various hemp products. You can find hemp-derived CBD Oils, topicals, edibles, and other such products with low levels of THC to use in specialist stores.
However, the laws around CBD in France are still complicated. According to a report from Connexion France, many CBD stores in France face pressure from the government. Despite hemp CBD products being technically legal, many local governments still question the legality of these sales. Meaning, although legal, you may have a hard time getting CBD in France from stores but will have minimal issues buying CBD in France online.
EU CBD LAWS
Many countries in Europe allow for the sale and use of CBD following restrictions by the European Union. EU regulations will enable the growth of certain cannabis plants, providing they don’t exceed a THC content of 0.2%.
While cannabis laws are still stringent in most of Europe, many countries allow for the sale of hemp CBD products. For instance, medical cannabis products are popular in countries such as Austria, Belgium, Denmark, and Luxembourg.
The laws can vary from country to country. However, most places in Europe will allow you to buy legally compliant CBD products. These must have high levels of CBD without exceeding the 0.2% threshold of THC.
Most producers use hemp extract instead of marijuana extracts to create these products, making them more legally available.
To support CBD in Europe please visit: European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA)
CBD LAW CONCLUSION
It’s pretty clear that knowledge and popularity of CBD is growing at an exponential rate across the world, with Countries like Canada and the United States leading the way, with many places in Europe and the rest of the world following suit. While you’ll still have a hard time getting marijuana in many countries, hemp products are much more readily and legally available.
You may also need to avoid traveling with CBD products in many cases. Many places will allow you to travel with THC-free CBD products. However, those products produced using cannabis extracts may cross some legal boundaries. Be warned, some Countries classify CBD as a class A drug and carrying it over a boarder is deemed smuggling and can carry a life sentence, or worse. DO NOT Travel to foreign destinations without verifying the laws of all the countries you’re passing through and intend on visiting.
For us in the U.S CBD is technically legal for purchase and delivery in all 50 states with no legal restrictions, carry on a plane is typically legal, again, for peace of mind, just check the legalities of States you are visiting.
However, with regulations and laws changing almost daily, you need to check your current State laws to ensure you’re within legal boundaries.
Here is a list of authority sources of State level CBD legalities.
IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE-MENTIONED COUNTRIES, OTHER COUNTRIES WHERE CBD IS LEGAL (TYPICALLY CONTAINING LESS THAN 0.2% THC AS A BLANKET STATEMENT) INCLUDE:
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- Puerto Rico
- Republic of Slovenia
- South Africa
- Virgin Islands