Is the hemp-based compound CBD oil legal to buy and use in the United States? Unfortunately, this is not a question that can be answered simply and it seems to change depending on who you ask.
CBD has undergone a lot of research and scientific studies to highlight its health benefits. Despite this work, and the ongoing studies that show how safe CBD is to consume, CBD still remains in a legal grey area across the country.
Many federations have conflicting opinions on the legal status of hemp and its components which result in a very confusing landmine for businesses and customers to manage.
The Drug Enforcement Agency is one of the federations who insists that CB oil is illegal on a federal level, whereas other legal experts, vendors, and producers of CBD argue that the DEA is overstepping the mark and causing unnecessary confusion. These groups argue that hemp extracts like CBD oil are legal and essential for customers due to its array of health benefits.
Despite all of this conflicting information, it seems pretty clear that individual consumers of CBD products are safe and protected. There is no indication that CBD-only extract companies or customers are to be targeted by law enforcement, although the same cannot be said for other components of hemp.
CBD is a separate compound to the elements of hemp that are used in recreational use. THC is the compound that creates the high in psychoactive cannabis or marijuana, and this is normally the element that is a concern for law enforcers.
CBD users certain;y have nothing to worry about in the states that have passed laws to legalize the compound. Now, of course, we at the Ministry of Hemp are not lawyers nor do we have a professional education in this field but we have done a lot of research into this argument.
In this article, we have tried to summarize both sides of the argument so it can be easily understood and contribute to the conversation about what we can expect from CBD in the future.
Although CBD enthusiasts certainly have a lot of research, benefits, and support on their side, the federal governments and courts will have the ultimate control over where CBD can be available in the future or if even at all.
The Legalization of Hemp Growth And Research
Even though many states across the nation are starting to legalize psychoactive cannabis due to its growing support from the public, on a federal level this substance remains illegal.
Under the rules of the Controlled Substances Act, cannabis is legally considered to be a Schedule 1 substance, which means it is a dangerous drug and provides no benefits. However, research into cannabis proves the exact opposite.
Hemp and its components like CBD and cannabis have been proven time and time again from various different studies to have countless health, social and environmental benefits to humanity and it is safe to consume.
All forms of hemp have been considered illegal in the United States in the past, including agricultural hemp. Until recently agricultural hemp, that is similar to cannabis but it does not have psychoactive properties- in fact, in most cases, the THC compound is removed in the production process – has been prohibited in the US.
It was 2014’s Farm Bill that saw agricultural hemp legal to cultivate and create. The only other time this had been possible was during World War 2 when farmers were encouraged to grow hemp to support the war effort.
The passing of the Farm Bill in 2014 allows states who have already legalized hemp to license hemp farmers for research. Crucially, this research clause was very broad and included market research and the sale of hemp products, including CBD cannabis capsules.
This movement was furthered by the additional Congressional Appropriations Act in 2015 and 2016 that forbade the government from prosecuting anyone involved in these legal, hemp-based programmes.
With these law changes in place, many successful hemp growers came into the market. This is particularly noticeable in the Southeastern states where crop farmers have embraced hemp as a profitable alternative to failing crops like those involved in the declining tobacco market.
Due to the remaining restrictions on hemp in the US, a majority of the CBD products available in the market right now rely on imported hemp from overseas. However, the highest quality of those who make the best CBD oil and products actually come from carefully controlled, domestically-grown hemp direct from our farms here in the United States.
As the acceptance of CBD increases alongside the word of its incredible benefits, the compound will grow in popularity results in more products to match the publics growing demands.
DEA Threats Create Confusion Around CBD’s Legal Status
Despite all of the tireless work from hemp supporters, growers and producers to get the plant and its components accepted once again in the United States, the DEA added a notice to the Federal Register that confused the whole movement.
On December 14, 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration began the process to classify CBD as a Schedule 1 drug, alongside its psychoactive cousin cannabis.
In their note, to the Federal Register, the DEA commented that CBD oil was already technically illegal due t the fact all products have the potential to contain trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound that is the main ingredient in cannabis that makes this substance illegal. But this new classification from the DEA will reach CBD-only products too.
Of course, when this notice was passed many media outlets ran with the story that CBD will be no longer accepted in America. A good example comes from Leafy, a top hemp and cannabis news and information website, who ran the article “New DEA Rule Says CBD Oil are Really, Truly, No-Joke Illegal” which basically sums up every headline at this time.
But the hemp industry and its supporters were not to be stopped and fought back by declaring that CBD products are protected by the 2014 Farm Bill and its subsequent Appropriation Acts.
Many business owners in the hemp industry have condemned this move by the DEA.
John Ryan the founder of Ananda Hemp, a company that grows hundreds of acres of hemp in Kentucky and Tenessee for CBD products, said;
“People need to understand that there are federal laws that the DEA cannot bypass. If they do, they can expect legal challenges from the industry.”
Likewise, Robert Hoban the managing director of the Denver-based Hoban Law firm said that the DEA’s classification was “an invalid rule” under the law.
DEA’s History of Overreach
This is not the first time the DEA has tried to prohibit the production of CBD. In 2001, the association tried to ban the manufacture, sales or importing of food or other products that were made from hemp seeds from overseas.
Their argument for the band was pretty similar to their own used today, as they claimed that these products could contain trace amounts of THC even though they didn’t make people high or were used for recreational purposes. In the cases brought to judges by the hemp industry, they ruled “that the DEA had exceeded its authority and struck down the rules as void,” as Rob Kight reports.
Kight is a lawyer who is an expert on drugs laws in the United States and is a supporter of the hemp movement. Kight runs a blog, Kight On Cannabis, where he informs readers on all the legal updates of the substance. On his site, he noted that now hemp cultivation is legal in the United States, early decisions surrounding the plant need to be reconsidered. He wrote:
“Marijuana extracts from non-psychoactive (industrial) hemp containing only trace amounts (or less) of naturally occurring THC is wholly legal.”
The release of their updated clarification of this rule may be a sign that the DEA is taking some of the threats from the hemp industry into consideration by acknowledging the limits to their authority and influence.
“It is the first time that the Federal government has explicitly stated that cannabinoids (aside from THC which is separately scheduled) are not in and of themselves illegal substances,” Kight wrote.
Hope For CBD And Hemp In The Future
As we have already explained, we at the Ministry of Hemp do not have professional knowledge of the law. But if our research and understanding of it are correct, the CBD extracts that are wholly free from THC are most likely to be legal and free from regulations by the Controlled Substance Act.
CBD products made from agricultural hemp should have no traces of THC and will, therefore, be legal to buy and consume.
We strongly believe that the customers of CBD products should feel safe both when buying them and when consuming them, even though we do acknowledge that nothing is 100% in our current political climate.
Members of our government, like Jeff Sessions the Attorney General continue to threaten to change the laws surrounding hemp once again in order to ban it. Sessions have repeatedly claimed that he will crack down on cannabis in those states who have legalized it as well as spreading misinformation about the supposed dangers of the substance. Cannabis and hemp are actually incredibly beneficial to users.
It seems that despite all of the issues surrounding hemp, the Justice Department could potentially face a lot of backlashes if they try to turn the tide away from legalization. On this note, it seems as though there are enough state and federal laws to protect CBD for the foreseeable future.
Despite all of the legal threats to CBD Oil Adviser, Ministry of Hemp are hopeful that good sense and education will prevail in the future and hemp-based products such as plus CBD gummies will be legalized.