Federal vs. State CBD Legislation

With recreational marijuana being illegal in most regions of the United States, it creates a lot of confusion for individuals regarding the regulations of cannabidiol (CBD). Especially as CBD oil products are growing in popularity, a great deal of people do not understand the difference between CBD and marijuana.


What Is the Difference Between CBD And Marijuana?

Understanding the difference between CBD and marijuana will help clear up a lot of misconceptions around the two substances. Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is a plant that is known for inducing high-like effects. Numerous compounds within marijuana contribute to one’s experience once ingested.

These include compounds like CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for psychotropic effects. CBD and other cannabinoids are extracted from marijuana in the form of an oil. Cannabinoids possess beneficial therapeutic properties, such as the reduction in anxiety and pain, without producing psychotropic effects.


What is Federal Legislation?

Federal legislation or federal law is a law that covers every individual in the United States. This means that anyone within that territory is required to abide by the laws in place. “Federal laws are created by the US Congress. The House of Representatives and the Senate pass a bill which the President signs into law. Any conflicts that may arise under any laws passed by the US Congress, an executive order of the President, or a federal court decision.”


What is State Legislation?

State law is a law that only applies to a particular state, rather than the entire United States. “When a state law is in direct conflict with federal law, the federal law prevails. A state law can afford more rights to its residents than federal law, but is not meant to reduce or restrict the rights of a U.S. citizen.”


Is CBD Legal?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is legal, according to Federal law. In 2018 the latest version of the Farm Bill was released, legalizing hemp. According to the Food and Drug Administration, changes were made regarding “the production and marketing of hemp, defined as cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.), and derivatives of cannabis with extremely low (less than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis) concentrations of the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).


These changes include removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, which means that it will no longer be an illegal substance under federal law.” As long of the CBD is extracted from hemp, and not Cannabis sativa, the product is legal under federal law. Each state has the responsibility of carrying out their own regulation for hemp-based products and substances.

Where is CBD legal in the United States?

There are 11 territories in the United States where marijuana is entirely legal:

  1. Alaska
  2. California
  3. Colorado
  4. Maine
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Michigan
  7. Nevada
  8. Oregon
  9. Vermont
  10. Washington
  11. Washington, D.C.

If you do not live in one of the listed states above, the CBD laws differ, and can be a bit of a grey area. The following states have “regulations that permit the use of marijuana-derived CBD for a broad range of conditions.”

  1. Arizona
  2. Arkansas
  3. Connecticut
  4. Delaware
  5. Florida
  6. Hawaii
  7. Illinois
  8. Maryland
  9. Minnesota
  10. Montana
  11. New Hampshire
  12. New Jersey
  13. New Mexico
  14. New York
  15. North Dakota
  16. Ohio
  17. Pennsylvania
  18. Rhode Island
  19. West Virginia


Out of the 50 states, 3 states have stringent laws that pertain to CBD, whether extracted from hemp or marijuana. In these states “you are not allowed under any circumstance to consume, posses, or distribute CBD.

  1. Idaho
  2. Nebraska
  3. South Dakota


Before purchasing CBD it is highly recommended that you investigate your specific state’s legislation concerning these products. The laws regarding hemp and marijuana are ever-changing and this is why it is important to stay informed as your laws fluctuate. Ensure that you are not just examining the laws of your state, but also your CBD supplier to confirm they are abiding by their claims and state laws.