CBD is a therapeutic compound extracted from the hemp plant. It’s chock full of health benefits and soothing effects, but it isn’t psychoactive. That means it won’t make you high like the THC in regular cannabis.

Because it’s made from the cannabis family of plants, many people aren’t sure about CBD’s current legal status in the USA or in their particular state. In this article, we’re going to explore CBD’s legal status both on a federal level and state by state. We’ll find out which states have legalized CBD and which states haven’t. We’ll also talk about the do’s and don’ts in states where it’s still a legal gray area.

Can we say sort of? The most recent specific federal law addressing CBD was 2018’s Agriculture Improvement Act, known as the Farm Bill. When it was signed into law, the Farm Bill made the hemp plant federally legal as long as it doesn’t contain more than 0.3% THC.

The bill also took hemp off the government’s list of controlled substances, expanded the plant’s legal cultivation for commercial purposes and moved all its regulations from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) over to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Essentially, it told U.S. government officials that they could stop looking at hemp as an illegal drug and start looking at it as agriculture and medicine.

Even though these new regulations don’t specifically give all hemp extracts legal status, current operating procedure of most hemp producers assumes that if hemp is federally legal, its derivatives must be too.

Just like the USDA is now in charge of regulating hemp production, the FDA is now in charge of regulating compounds derived from cannabis and products that contain cannabis. This includes CBD and any products containing CBD.

Officially, CBD is still slowly plodding its way through the FDA evaluation process. One of the relevant rules they’ve released is that, while you can sell food that contains CBD within your state, providing it’s legal there, interstate commerce is still illegal.

This means if you grow your hemp in California, you can only sell your CBD food products in California. You can’t sell them in Colorado, for instance, even though cannabis is legal there.

These regulations are still being hashed out, and there are a lot of gray areas. Many companies have begun labeling their CBD food products as ‘active hemp extract’ or using other creative names to try to bypass the specific wording in the FDA’s regulations.

If you don’t market your CBD products as food or dietary supplements, you’ll be exempt to these federal regulations. As far as the U.S. federal government is concerned, you can produce and sell your medicinal CBD products in any state where it’s legal. You’re allowed to grow hemp plants, extract CBD and transport CBD oil across state lines.

Even though the federal government has officially decriminalized CBD products, you can still get in trouble if your state happens to feel differently. It’s federally legal to cultivate, transport and consume CBD in the United States as a whole, but specific states are still allowed to override the federal government inside their borders.

That brings us to individual state laws. States are allowed to criminalize CBD and punish its sale and use, and a few still do. Within state lines, the state government has the final say over the legality of CBD products.

State laws are evolving quickly. It seems like every time I turn the news on, another state has legalized cannabis and its extracts. For now, CBD products are legal in most states, complicated in quite a few and downright criminal in only three.

What do the individual states have to say about CBD products? Let’s dive into the messy world of state-by-state CBD legislation.

If it weren’t already complicated enough to have different states with different CBD policies and laws, various states’ situations are still changing rapidly. The legal landscape around cultivating, distributing, manufacturing, selling and possessing CBD products is under review in many states.

A number of state legislatures are still debating their CBD legislation and proposing amendments to current laws. Many state regulatory agencies still haven’t fully crafted their CBD regulations and procedural details.

Here’s what we know so far. We’ve put together a list of states color-coded by their CBD freedoms. Let’s start with the green-light states.

The following states and one district have fully legalized cannabis and all related products, including CBD. There are still minimum age requirements, just like with tobacco and alcohol, which vary from state to state.

As long as you aren’t a minor, you can buy and sell CBD products in these locations:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Nevada
  • Vermont
  • Maine
  • Washington D.C.
  • Michigan
  • Massachusetts
  • Alaska

In these states, you can only buy and consume cannabis and products made from cannabis for medical purposes. You’re allowed to sell and use CBD oil as long as you fulfill certain medical conditions. This may mean you need a signed prescription from your health provider or a card authorizing you for medical marijuana use.

Here are the reluctant states where CBD commerce and consumption requires a medical excuse:

  • Ohio
  • West Virginia
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Hawaii
  • Pennsylvania
  • Oklahoma
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Arizona
  • Montana
  • Utah
  • Rhode Island
  • Florida
  • Delaware
  • Louisiana
  • Connecticut
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Illinois
  • Arkansas
  • New Hampshire
  • Maryland

We’ve designated these states with a flashing yellow light, which means you should proceed with extreme caution. All cannabis and cannabis products are illegal in these except for CBD products with strict conditions:

  • Georgia: You can’t use CBD oil unless you suffer from one of the specific debilitating or degenerative conditions on the state government’s list. The product may not contain THC content above 5%, and you must have an official prescription.

  • Texas: You can buy, sell and consume CBD oil with 0.3% THC or less. Chemical levels and purity must be tested by an independent lab.

  • Indiana: Private CBD oil consumption has been legal since 2018 as long as THC levels don’t surpass 0.3%.

  • Tennessee: Marijuana is illegal, but CBD products derived from hemp plants are legal with conditions. You have to have legal proof that you obtained them legally outside of Tennessee, and the THC content must be below 0.9%.

  • Kentucky: You can use CBD oil with THC content below 0.3% and a prescription from a licensed doctor. State-sponsored medical studies of CBD products are also legal.

  • Wisconsin: CBD products are legal for medical use as long as your condition has been officially diagnosed by a physician and you have a valid certification from them that CBD is part of your treatment.

  • North / South Carolina: CBD oil is only legal if you suffer from a severe epileptic condition like Dravet Syndrome. The CBD may only be extracted from hemp plants, and any THC content must remain below 0.9%.

  • Iowa: You can get CBD oil from a medical dispensary if you suffer from one of the listed medical conditions. These include epilepsy, ALS and cancer.

  • Alabama: You can only access CBD oil if you have a medical diagnosis that you suffer from severe chronic seizures. Alabama also allows state-sponsored medical studies of the effects of CBD products.

  • Mississippi: You can use products with CBD content above 15% and THC content below 0.5% if you suffer from epilepsy and are being supervised by a licensed doctor.

  • Kansas: CBD oil was recently decriminalized as long as it contains 0% THC.

  • Virginia: Virginia has a list of diseases and medical conditions for which doctors may prescribe CBD oil. THC content must be under 5% and CBD content above 15%.

  • Wyoming: If you suffer from epilepsy and have tried other treatments with no success, your neurologist may present a referral on your behalf to the state’s health department. If accepted, your doctor is allowed to prescribe you CBD oil made from the hemp plant with under 0.3% THC content.

States Where CBD Is Completely Illegal

In these states, all cannabis products are 100% illegal. That includes CBD even if it contains no THC and you have a medical condition.

  • Nebraska
  • Idaho
  • South Dakota