CBD Legality Federal Level and State by State

CBD has exploded in popularity lately. Jumping into this conversation generally brings up lots of questions, concerns, and red flags.

We are not legal experts or lawyers - meaning you should not take this blog as a piece of legal advice. However, we have done our best to provide you with information on the legal status of cannabidiol in the USA.

Is CBD Legal?

Yes, it is legal but under very specific conditions. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production and sale of hemp and its extracts. Hemp, by federal law, cannot contain more than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Anything with more THC is classified as marijuana, is considered a schedule 1 drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration and is federally illegal.

Not All Cannabis Products Are Created Equal

There are two main types of cannabis - hemp and marijuana. Basically, these two are fraternal twins, but there is an important distinction to make as it is the most important factor to determine whether particular is legal or illegal.

Let’s cover each kind of cannabis in more detail.


Hemp is a type of Cannabis sativa that produces less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. This is the sole classification for a specific cannabis plant to be considered hemp. If a particular strain produces even 0.1% more THC than it is marijuana.

Hemp is not held to the same laws as marijuana. It has been legal in the United States for a long time but only through rigorous license applications and approval from US regulators.

After the release of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp can be grown as easily as wheat or corn crops throughout the United States. As a byproduct of this change, companies now have access to hemp as a source of dietary and nutritional products which falls under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA is yet to make any firm stance for or against the sale of hemp-derived CBD products in the USA.


This is another type of cannabis. This plant is a form of Cannabis Sativa that produces medium to a higher level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the primary psychoactive compound of this plant.

Marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 drug in the USA. It has been put to the same classification as fentanyl and heroin, which are considered the most dangerous drugs in the USA. It is not a deadly drug, but laws for marijuana have not changed on a federal level in 80 years. There is a difference between state level and federal level laws for Marijuana, which we will see in detail in this blog.

As a reminder:

While these two plants are closely related, they are considered very differently under the law.

Hemp Marijuana
Is it cannabis? Yes Yes
Chemical makeup Low THC
High THC
(5% - 35%)
Psychoactive No Yes
Cultivation Adaptable to grow in most climates. Requires minimal care. Requires carefully controlled atmosphere
Applications Body care, automobile, clothing, construction, food, etc. Medical & recreational use


There is still much to do in terms of clarifying the legal status of CBD in the United States. The only approved health or medical use of CBD is the seizure drug Epidiolex. The FDA prohibits the sale of CBD in any unapproved dietary supplements, food, or health products which simply means everything except for this epilepsy drug.

States Where Marijuana Is Fully Legal

As of today, marijuana is legalized in the District of Columbia and 11 states listed below. It is legal both the ways medically and recreationally for adult users.

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Washington

States where it is legal but only allow the medicinal use:

Medical use of marijuana is legal in the District of Columbia and 33 states.

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

States where marijuana of any form continues to be completely illegal:

  • Idaho
  • Nebraska
  • South Dakota

List of states with regulations that grant the use of CBD from marijuana under certain circumstances:

Limited use of medical marijuana includes cannabis extracts that are high in cannabidiol and low in tetrahydrocannabinol.

  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

    Kindly note that the regulations for the majority of the above states require patients to obtain a medical marijuana card in order to consume marijuana-derived CBD. The requirements to acquire a medical marijuana card in each of these states may vary depending upon the regulations of each state.

    Is CBD Oil Legal If Imported?

    There is so much confusion between federal laws, state laws, and different governmental departments. It is difficult to provide one clear answer about the legal status of CBD. Some businesses have gotten around the confusing legal rules by choosing to import products such as CBD hemp oil into the country.

    Yes, CBD products such as CBD oil is legal if sterilized and imported. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection department, "products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychotropic substance in marijuana, are illegal to import. Products that do not cause THC to enter the human body are, therefore legal products."

    Simply put CBD hemp oil is legal in all 50 states by state law and also if it is imported from out of the country. 

    USPS Guidance on Shipping CBD

    • The US Postal Service issued formal guidance on shipping CBD in 2019. There will be updates as CBD shipping laws change. 
    • As per federal law, CBD products must contain 0.3% or less THC to be mailed by USPS.


    • The mailer follows all federal, state and local laws about CBD production and distribution and keeps a record showing this.

    State Law

    • Federal agencies haven't finished creating regulations about interstate CBD shipment. Until they do, some states may continue to enforce state laws against CBD products.

    Is CBD Legalized Internationally?

    Below is the list of countries that have legalized CBD products. It is very important to understand that looking into the legal rules of each country is a necessity. There are different laws pertaining to the source of CBD and the amount of THC permitted in the products you consume.

    List of countries that permit CBD:















    Puerto Rico


    Hong Kong










    Republic of Slovenia

    Costa Rica


    South Africa







    Czech Republic


    Virgin Islands



    United Kingdom










    • In 2018, Congress made it legal to grow, sell and ship industrial hemp and hemp products with less than 0.3% THC. (Hemp Farming Act of 2018)
    • The legality entirely depends upon the source of the CBD.
    • CBD derived from marijuana is not legal federally.
    • CBD products made from industrial hemp are now legal in all 50 states.
    • You need to check the laws of your state for any restrictions.


    We hope this blog has helped you get a better idea of this complex subject, but we firmly recommend to do your own research before purchasing CBD products. Do not consider this information to take any action or make any purchase. Kindly seek legal counsel before making any decision related to Cannabidiol.

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