Complying with federal and state law is important for companies who manufacture and sell CBD products. However, the laws can be very confusing even for people with years of industry experience. To clear things up, we compiled The Complete Guide to Compliance for Hemp and Hemp Derived Products.
HOW GREEN ROADS STAYS COMPLIANT IN THE HEMP INDUSTRY
While the federal legalities surrounding hemp and CBD continue to become more favorable, several states have initiated their own laws prohibiting the cultivation of hemp. Others have added to the federal restrictions on industrial hemp cultivation without completely prohibiting the practice.
For example, the state of Indiana requires that, for CBD products to be legally protected, the packaging must include a means of establishing that the product is indeed compliant with federal regulations. For this reason, we have added QR codes on all of our packaging which redirect to lab test results for each respective product.Read More
The Agricultural Act of 2014, more commonly known as the 2014 Farm Bill or just the Farm Bill, is a piece of sweeping legislation that controls nearly $1 trillion of government funding. Agricultural Acts such as this are passed every 3-5 years and make up the legal framework in which the U.S. Department of Agriculture operates. Farm Bills include the allocation of provisional funding for food stamps and other nutritional assistance programs.
Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill, titled “Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research,” addresses the cultivation and processing of hemp and hemp-derived products. Section 7606 provides two conditions that must be met in order for the growth of hemp to be federally legal.
Firstly, the grower must be working in partnership with either the state department of agriculture or a school of agriculture affiliated with a state institution of higher education.
Secondly, the growth or cultivation must be carried out for research-oriented purposes as opposed to commercially-oriented purposes.
Most notably, the Farm Bill quietly made an exception to the CSA definition of marijuana for what it terms “industrial hemp,” here defined as, “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a [THC] concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
Farm Bill hemp – cannabis with less than 0.3% THC by weight – is not a controlled substance.
The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) is an act that establishes a way for the federal government to control food ingredients and drugs that are considered unsafe or dangerous for human or animal consumption. The CSA utilizes a scheduling system to classify substances based on the inherent risk involved in their use. Schedule one is reserved for substances which possess “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Marijuana is a schedule one controlled substance, along with heroin and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). For comparison, cocaine and methamphetamine are both schedule two controlled substances.
Under 21 USC 802(d) (16), the Controlled Substances Act clearly designates marijuana, defined as “any part of the plant cannabis sativa L.,” as a schedule one controlled substance. Furthermore, it separately designates tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as a schedule one controlled substance. This is taken to presume that the separate designation of THC as a controlled substance in addition to marijuana refers to any and all synthetic THC but not naturally occurring THC which is not produced by marijuana as defined in the act.
Because THC is listed as a controlled substance in addition to marijuana (which obviously contains naturally-occurring THC) it is presumed that naturally-occurring THC not found in marijuana (i.e., THC found in cannabis plants that do not fall under the CSA definition of marijuana, namely, hemp) cannot be regulated by the DEA because non-psychoactive hemp is explicitly not a controlled substance.
This interpretation was upheld on February 6, 2004 in the final decision of HIA v. DEA.
It was also reiterated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in an internal directive issued on May 22, 2018. This directive unambiguously states that the “mere presence of cannabinoids” does not constitute a controlled substance and that instead, the DEA bases its scope of activity regarding cannabinoids on “whether the substance falls within the CSA definition of marijuana.”
The DEA cannot add substances to the CSA, and it can only regulate substances that fall within the CSA.
WHAT IS THE LEGAL DEFINITION OF HEMP?
According to the federal government, industrial hemp is defined as any plant, or derivative thereof, of the genus Cannabis, with less than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) by dry weight. THC is the compound in cannabis that causes psychoactive effects (the high). Read More
SOME BACKGROUND ON THE HEMP PLANT
There are three species of cannabis – sativa, indica, and ruderalis. Only sativa and indica are commercially practical commodities. Ruderalis is a low-growing shrub that produces small, weak stocks and almost no flowering tops. Indica and sativa, on the other hand, are both widely grown and cultivated for the diverse uses of virtually every part of the plant, from its seeds to its flowering top. Sativa plants usually grow tall and thin, and indica plants are generally short with lots of flowering tops. Read More
What is CBD?
CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol which is a chemical compound found naturally in the cannabis plant. It contains untraceable amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive element in marijuana, which means CBD will NOT get you high, and you will not fail any drug tests since these tests do not detect such low levels of THC. Over the past four decades, numerous studies have been conducted that highlight the potential benefits of CBD.
Users of CBD have found that CBD products help them with a wide range of health problems such as insomnia, physical pain, and anxiety. It also has anti-seizure properties and can combat brain damage caused by opioid addiction. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in the process of approving a CBD-based epilepsy medication which will make it the first cannabis-derived prescription medication in the United States.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
While the popularity and overall acceptance of CBD have skyrocketed in recent years, state laws on CBD vary widely. The most important factors determining CBD legality are whether it is derived from hemp or marijuana and if it is produced by a state-licensed grower.
Even though hemp contains virtually no THC, the answer to the question, “Is hemp oil legal?” is not that simple. CBD derived from hemp is legal in most states. This includes all hemp-derived CBD products like oils, edibles, and ointments. However, marijuana-derived CBD does not enjoy the same privileges as hemp. In some states, CBD derived from marijuana is completely legal; but in most states, its legality depends on a number of different factors and conditions.
Where is CBD Legal?
There are currently nine states where cannabis is completely legal for medicinal and recreational use. If you live in one of these nine states, you can use CBD that comes from hemp or marijuana. These states are Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
There are 22 states where cannabis is legal with a doctor’s recommendation. These are Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.
Fifteen states have limited-access laws that allow cannabis only as CBD oil, with restrictions on the levels of THC varying per jurisdiction. These 15 states are Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming, and Wisconsin.
As of 2018, there are only four states where all marijuana and marijuana-derived products are illegal. These are Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. If you are in one of these states, it is crucial that you know what kind of CBD extract you are using and where it comes from.
As mentioned before, if you are consuming hemp-derived CBD anywhere in the US, you are in good shape. But when it comes to CBD products derived from marijuana, laws vary greatly at the state level. If you are not sure about your state’s cannabis laws, navigate through our map to learn more.
The Future of Hemp: The 2018 Farm Bill
The Agricultural Act of 2014, more commonly known as the 2014 Farm Bill, opened up new doors for the hemp industry by legalizing some cultivation activities that have since allowed the industry to grow in unprecedented ways.
Following the success of various pilot programs made possible by the 2014 act, hemp is now widely accepted by the public and most lawmakers. Earlier this year, the US Senate introduced The Hemp Farming Act in its version of The 2018 Farm Bill. Among other things, the act seeks to make hemp an agricultural commodity, give states the power to oversee hemp production, and take away the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) authority over hemp.
The 2018 Farm Bill is currently in conference committee where the two legislative chambers must reconcile a few differences before approval. The bill is expected to be signed into law before the end of the year; and if The Hemp Farming Act survives in its current form, it will be the most important victory in the history of the hemp industry in the United States.