Special Report: CBD Laws by State

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CBD products have begun to appear on store shelves across the country. However, this does not mean every product is endorsed by state regulators. Even in some regions where CBD is readily available, store owners are, often unbeknownst to them, in violation of the law. Below is a breakdown of the current state of industrial hemp and CBD laws in the United States. A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) public hearing is set for Friday, May 31, hopefully clearing up some of the confusion out there for CBD producers and shop owners.

Alabama – “Carly’s Law” and “Leni’s Law” were passed in 2014 and 2016 respectively, allowing an affirmative defense for CBD use and possession in some cases. In December of 2017, Attorney General Steve Marshall announced that hemp-derived CBD with less than 0.3 percent THC is legal to possess and sell.


Alaska – Although voters in Alaska approved recreational cannabis in 2014, the state has sparse regulations when it comes to hemp and CBD. Authorities have warned consumers against buying available unregulated products. A pilot program is expected to launch in the future examining industrial hemp.

Arizona – Last year, SB1098 was signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey. The bill approved a licensing structure for potential industrial hemp growers. Legal growing is expected to begin in the summer of 2019. Regulations are still being finalized by the Department of Agriculture.

Arkansas – The Arkansas Industrial Hemp Act was passed by Arkansas Legislature and became effective in August 2017. The act launched a pilot program. Industrial hemp in Arkansas requires hemp and CBD contain less than 0.3 percent THC.

California – Although medicinal and recreational cannabis use is legal in California, there is some confusion when it comes to CBD, especially in food. State Attorney General Javier Becerra, even after passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, reiterated edible CBD is not legal.

Colorado – Along with recreational legalization, voters in Colorado also approved industrial hemp regulations when they approved Amendment 64 in 2012. Any product containing more than 0.3 percent THC is considered cannabis by Colorado regulators and regulated as such.

Connecticut – A pilot program authorizing cultivation and sale of industrial hemp and CBD was approved by Connecticut lawmakers this year. The bill was passed, in part, to help struggling farmers as tobacco has fallen out of popularity.

Delaware – Last year, SB266 was passed in Delaware. The bill legalized industrial hemp for research but was set up to allow cultivation for reasons other than research once regulators feel federal law will allow them to do so.

Florida – CBD sales are not yet legal in Florida despite the state setting up a medicinal cannabis program. Although some stores sell CBD products, there have been high-profile arrests for CBD possession in Florida, though legislation could soon legalize the cannabinoid.

Georgia – Georgia allows cannabis oil with no more than 5 percent THC and an amount of CBD that is equal to or greater than THC levels. A regulatory commission has been established to eventually oversee production and sales of all cannabis products.

Hawaii – The use of CBD products in Hawaii is only legal for those with a medical prescription. Because CBD products have found their way onto store shelves anyway, the Department of Health has signaled it may get involved and set up specific regulations.

Idaho – Idaho has one of the strictest CBD laws of any state: No traceable amount of THC is permitted in CBD products, not even the 0.3 percent allowed by federal authorities. A recent bill to change this failed in the Idaho House.

Illinois – Last year, Illinois passed the Industrial Hemp Act. CBD products containing less than 0.3 percent THC are legal. Growers must pay a $100 application fee for a license to grow and $1,000 every three years to maintain the license.

Indiana – In 2017, Governor Eric Holcomb approved a law allowing CBD to be used only for treatment-resistant epilepsy. In 2018 he signed another law which expanded the use of hemp-derived CBD products containing no more than 0.3 percent THC.

Iowa – CBD is legal and regulated in Iowa. The state has an Office of Medical Cannabidiol under the Department of Health. Similar to medicinal cannabis programs in other states, cannabidiol is available to registered patients at approved dispensaries.

Kansas – Last year, Governor Jeff Colyer signed SB263, a bill authorizing the Kansas Department of Agriculture to create an industrial hemp research program. Institutions researching hemp must produce hemp that contains no more than 0.3 percent THC.

Kentucky – Patients with a physician’s recommendation or who are part of a clinical trial in Kentucky are permitted to use CBD but there is no distribution network in place for patient access. Patients may acquire cannabis from other states that recognize a Kentucky physician’s recommendation.

Louisiana – Despite passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in Congress, Louisiana still makes no distinction between CBD and cannabis. In a recent letter issued by the Board of Pharmacy, regulators said no one may possess or sell CBD oil.

Maine – The CBD industry in Maine received a boost as lawmakers have approved a bill permitting edible products containing the cannabinoid. The bill aimed to clarify confusion after health inspectors told vendors to pull edible products off their shelves earlier this year.

Maryland – Maryland has legalized medicinal cannabis use and also is one of the easiest states in which to access CBD legally. CVS Pharmacies already have begun to sell CBD products such as topicals, lotions, and salves. CVS is not selling edible products or food additives containing CBD.

Massachusetts – Medicinal and recreational cannabis use are legal in Massachusetts. Any product containing over 0.3 percent THC is considered cannabis and is regulated by the Cannabis Control Commission. Products with less than 0.3 percent THC are not regulated.

Michigan – Up until this year, Michigan authorities made no distinction between cannabis and CBD. Now, any product containing less than 0.3 percent THC is no longer considered cannabis. The state is expected to begin issuing licenses to cultivate hemp.

Mississippi – For years, the University of Mississippi was the only institution permitted to grow cannabis for federal research. In 2014, CBD was approved strictly for those with debilitating epileptic conditions. The CBD must contain over 15 percent CBD and less than 0.5 percent THC.

Missouri – HB2238 legalized the use of CBD oil containing over 5 percent CBD and under 0.3 percent THC for intractable epilepsy. To qualify, patients must fail to respond to three alternative treatments before being approved for CBD use.

Minnesota – Hemp and its extracts are legal in Minnesota but may only be cultivated by licensed growers through the MDA Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. Industrial hemp and CBD must contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. Authorities in Minnesota defer to the FDA on edible CBD regulations.

Montana – The Montana State Hemp program was created in 2017. THC levels are capped at 0.3 percent. The license fee to grow hemp is listed as $400 on Montana’s official state website. However, the official application lists the fee at $450. CBD is available to consumers and is not regulated by authorities.

Nebraska – CBD is a Schedule I narcotic in Nebraska, viewed no differently than cannabis. In a memo to law enforcement in November, Attorney General Doug Peterson said CBD oil is illegal. Despite the Farm Bill’s passage one month later, Peterson’s office reiterated that stance from the fall.

Nevada – Sales of cannabis were quickly up and running once voters in Nevada legalized recreational cannabis in 2016. Customers and patients may purchase CBD products at dispensaries. Both hemp-derived and cannabis-derived CBD products are legal in Nevada.

New Hampshire – Medicinal cannabis was legalized in New Hampshire last year. A bill to set up state industrial hemp regulations has been debated among state lawmakers, but so far, hemp is not legal in New Hampshire.

New Jersey – Qualifying medicinal cannabis patients have access to CBD products at dispensaries throughout New Jersey. Non-qualified patients may purchase CBD derived from hemp, with no more than 0.3 percent THC, at shops across the state.

New Mexico – Medicinal cannabis use already is legal in New Mexico. A bill signed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham this year aims to establish hemp farming regulations. The bill would help farmers and producers produce hemp and CBD products.

New York – In 2015 New York launched the Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program. In 2017, the program was expanded allowing private businesses and farmers to grow for research. State authorities have cracked down on CBD infused edibles and beverages served in restaurants.

North Carolina – Qualifying patients in North Carolina may carry CBD products outside of their homes with a letter from the Department of Health and Human Services. Legal CBD must contain less than 0.9 percent THC and at least 5 percent CBD.

North Dakota – North Dakota Representative David Monson has been trying to set up a regulatory structure for hemp production for 20 years. He introduced HB1349 establishing framework for industrial hemp and capping THC limits at 0.3 percent. The bill passed the House in February and has been sent to the Senate.

Ohio – The Ohio Board of Pharmacy issued a statement in 2018 allowing CBD to be sold only in legal cannabis dispensaries and has issued warnings to non-dispensaries. Legislative action to regulate industrial hemp and CBD sales currently is being considered by Ohio lawmakers.

Oklahoma – HB2154, known as “Katie’s Law,” was passed in 2014 and allows CBD to be used in the treatment of severe forms of epilepsy. In 2015, several other qualifying conditions were added including MS, intractable nausea and vomiting, and loss of appetite for chronic wasting conditions.

Oregon – Recreational and medicinal cannabis use already are legal in Oregon. The state also regulates industrial hemp production. Growers and farmers must register with state officials before producing hemp and CBD. Officials have cautioned producers about shipping products out of state.

Pennsylvania – An industrial hemp program has been established in Pennsylvania. CBD products containing less than 0.3 percent THC may be purchased over the counter. Other products are available to registered cannabis patients. Hemp growers must apply for a license through the Department of Agriculture.

Rhode Island – Rhode Island began processing applications for hemp cultivation licenses in October 2018, two months before passage of the farm bill. The process requires farmers undergo a criminal background check and pay a hefty $2,500 fee for the license. Like many other states, plants may contain no more than 0.3 percent THC.

South Carolina – Patients with epilepsy may qualify for CBD use provided by the Medical University of South Carolina as part of a research study. The CBD administered must contain less than 0.9 percent THC and more than 15 percent CBD.

South Dakota – In 2017, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard signed a bill separating the definition of CBD from cannabis. However, state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg announced all forms of CBD were illegal in South Dakota earlier this year.

Tennessee – In 2016, HB2144 passed in Tennessee allowing patients suffering from epilepsy or their immediate family members to possess CBD oil with a recommendation or legal order. CBD must contain no more than 0.9 percent THC.

Texas – Texas lawmakers are currently debating HB1325, a bill allowing the manufacture of industrial hemp products. CBD products containing less than 0.3 percent THC would be permitted under the bill. Fines would be assessed to anyone producing CBD with higher than 0.3 percent THC.

Utah – Anyone over age18 who purchases a permit from Utah authorities may legally grow industrial hemp. The plants must contain less than 0.3 percent THC. Growers’ crops will be tested by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food before each harvest to ensure compliance.

Vermont – CBD products may be sold in Vermont legally as long as they do not include THC levels exceeding 0.3 percent. Vermont has established clear regulations regarding CBD products. Other than FDA-approved Epidiolex, CBD products are subjected to the same sales tax as other items.

Virginia – Patients with a physician’s recommendation are permitted to possess and use CBD products. The Virginia Board of Pharmacy has approved five companies to open dispensaries in Virginia. Actual sales of CBD could be underway before the end of 2019.

Washington – Recreational and medicinal cannabis use are legal in Washington. Customers and patients may purchase CBD products at approved dispensaries. A bill was signed by Governor Jay Inslee earlier this year loosening regulations on growing industrial hemp, though growers must still acquire a license.

Washington D.C. – Although recreational cannabis was approved by voters in 2014, Congress has been able to prevent dispensary sales from taking place. So far, there have been no specific CBD or industrial hemp laws for the District of Columbia.

Wisconsin – In 2016, Governor Scott Walker signed SB10 and expanded the law to permit CBD use for any medical condition if recommended by a physician. Wisconsin is currently running an industrial hemp pilot program and requires growers to register with the state.

West Virginia – West Virginia’s Board of Pharmacy is no longer prohibiting the sale of CBD items at licensed pharmacies. Beyond that, the board has decided to take no opinion on the legality of such sales in relation to federal law.

Wyoming – Earlier this year, Governor Mark Gordon signed HB0171 into law, removing hemp and hemp products from regulation by the Wyoming Controlled Substances Act. Hemp production and its extracts such as CBD are now legal under the state’s Department of Agriculture regulations.

U.S. Territories

Puerto Rico – Medicinal cannabis was legalized in Puerto Rico two years ago. CBD producers have been setting up shop in Puerto Rico and qualified patients are now using CBD for relief. About 100,000 patients are expected to join the program by the end of 2019.

Guam – Recreational cannabis has been legalized in Guam, though a regulated structure for sales has not yet been implemented. CBD is widely available and used in the territory, though specific regulations on CBD and hemp have not been created.

U.S. Virgin Islands – A medicinal cannabis bill was signed into law by Governor Albert Bryan earlier this year in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The bill also legalized industrial hemp with CBD already growing in popularity over the years.

Northern Mariana Islands – Last year, a bill to legalize both medicinal and recreational cannabis use was passed in the Northern Mariana Islands. Hemp was also a part of the bill meaning that a full CBD industry should be on the way.

American Samoa – Cannabis is illegal in American Samoa and penalties for possession are some of harshest among any U.S. state or territory. No laws have been passed that would legalize industrial hemp or CBD production.