Is CBD Legal in the States – Are we Clear Yet

This debate has been going on for quite a while and there still appears to be some controversy on CBD and THC and what is legal in the States and what is not.  You often see such statements as:



News today

But is this true? You have to wonder if these statements are accurate when you see headlines such as the following:

Great-Grandmother Arrested at Disney World over CBD Oil 

Let’s backtrack a bit.


Hemp CBD vs Cannabis CBD – They are both members of the cannabis family. There are significant differences, the biggest is Cannabis CBD contains significant amounts of THC (12% on average) which is responsible for the ‘high’ or euphoria, while the Hemp CBD contains little to no THC (0.3% or less).

Medical Cannabis vs Recreational Cannabis Medical marijuana uses the whole unprocessed plant which contains the psychoactive compound THC and is prescribed with various amounts of the THC ranging from very low to high and is used for a host of medical conditions. At present, the FDA does not approve or recognize the plant as a medicine.

Recreational marijuana is used for recreation as the name implies, is usually high in THC, and is used without medical approval.


There are 50 States (the United States also has sovereignty over 14 territories). Some people think there are 52. The District of Columbia is a federal district. The other area sometimes lumped in with the states is Puerto Rica. Puerto Ricans are by law citizens of the U.S. but as it is not a state, Puerto Rica does not have a vote in the United States Congress. Here, we will talk about the 50 states.


So to move on, let’s talk about Hemp CBD and THC and its legality in the States.

There are 16 states where the laws are specific – i.e. the amount of THC in CBD products, and specific conditions for which they can be treated. In a lot of cases, patients must register or have ID cards. Since 2018, there have been some changes, for example, an extension of conditions allowed.

They are:


Conditions: Debilitating epileptic conditions, life-threatening seizures, wasting syndrome (muscle and fat tissue wasting away), chronic pain, nausea, muscle spasms, or any other condition resistant to conventional medicine
THC: Below 0.3%

UPDATE: On December 12, 2018: A public notice updated by the Alabama Attorney General states that CBD derived from hemp and containing no more than 0.3% THC is legal to produce, sell and possess in Alabama. Epidiolex is now legal for a doctor to prescribe for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, to be regulated in the same way as any other prescription drug. CBD derived from Marijuana is still illegal under Alabama law, whether above or below 3% THC, except for the prescription drug Epidiolex.


Conditions: Near-death stage of cancer, ALS, MS, seizures, Crohn’s, mitochondria disease, Parkinson’s disease, Sickle Cell disease
THC: Oils below 5% with an equal amount of CBD

UPDATE: $25 low THC oil Registry Cards are available to patients with the following conditions: Cancer, ALS, MS (Multiple Sclerosis), Seizures, Crohn’s, Mitochondria Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Sickle Cell Disease, Tourette’s, Autism Spectrum Disorder (the patient is 18 or older or is less than 18 and is diagnosed with severe autism), Epidermolysis Bullosa, Alzheimer’s, AIDS, Peripheral Neuropathy, Hospice Program Patients, Intractable Pain and PTSD (patient is at least 18 years old).

April 17, 2019: Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill allowing in-state production and sale of marijuana oil and allows growing licenses for up to six private companies. This comes into effect on July 1, 2019.


Conditions: Resistant epilepsy
THC: minimum 5% CBD by weight; 0.3% or less THC by weight

UPDATE MARCH 2018: Distribution and retail sale of low-THC Industrial Hemp CBD was legalized for any use, however, products containing even small amounts of cannabis is a misdemeanour crime. Source Wikipedia.


Conditions: Intractable (hard to control) epilepsy
THC: A non-psychoactive cannabinoid that contains below 3%, maximum 32 ounces and free from plant material

Update: Registration Cards issued by the Office of Medical Cannabidiol requires licensed medical cannabidiol dispensaries to dispense to qualified patients by December 1, 2108. Qualified includes: Cancer, Seizures, Crohn’s, MS, AIDS or HIV, ALS, Parkinson’s, Terminal illness with a life expectancy of one year and untreatable pain. You can send petitions can to the Board for approval of illness, not on the list. 


Conditions: Although CBD oil is exempt from the definition of marijuana, THC is still banned and CBD is not readily available as it can contain traces of THC.
THC: None; only CBD


Conditions: Intractable seizure disorders
THC: None; only CBD

UPDATE: Hemp-derived CBD products are legal in Kentucky pursuant to 40 KRS 218A.010 Item #27 states the following – the term Marijuana does not include:

  • Industrial hemp that is in the possession, custody, or control of a person who holds a license issued by the Department of Agriculture permitting that person to cultivate, handle, or process industrial hemp;

  • Industrial hemp products that do not include any living plants, viable seeds, leaf materials, or floral materials;

  • The substance cannabidiol, when transferred, dispensed, or administered pursuant to the written order of a physician practicing at a hospital or associated clinic affiliated with a Kentucky public university having a college or school of medicine;

  • For persons participating in a clinical trial or in an expanded access program, a drug or substance approved for the use of those participants by the United States Food and Drug Administration;

  • A cannabidiol product derived from industrial hemp, as defined in KRS 260.850; or

  • A cannabidiol product approved as a prescription medication by the United States Food and Drug Administration;

Even though hemp is removed from the controlled substance list (2018 Farm Bill), no person can grow, handle or process hemp plants,  seed, leaf or floral materials without a hemp license issued by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.


Conditions: Debilitating epilepsy
THC: Processed cannabis plant extract, or resin that contains 0.5% THC or less; more than 15% CBD or a dilution of the resin that contains at least 50 mg of CBD per ml


Conditions: Intractable epilepsy that has not responded to three or more options from other treatments
THC: Hemp extracts 0.3% THC or less and at least 5% CBD by weight


Conditions: Intractable epilepsy
THC: Hemp extracts 0.9% THC or less by weight; at least 5% CBD by weight (must contain no other psychoactive substance)

UPDATE: The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced on February 8, 2019, that it is taking the same stance as the FDA with regards to CBD products and will be targeting manufacturers and retailers selling products containing CBD oil. Source Bradley.


Conditions: Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, Dravet Syndrome, or any other form of refractory (unmanageable) epilepsy not adequately treated by conventional medicine
THC: CBD or derivative of cannabis that contains 0.9% THC and over 15% CBD, or at least 98% CBD and 0.90% THC by volume that has been extracted from marijuana in a laboratory


Conditions: Intractable seizure conditions
THC: Cannabis oil with 0.9% or less as part of a clinical research


Conditions:  Intractable epilepsy
THC:  Cannabis with 0.5% or less and a minimum of 10% CBD by weight

UPDATE JUNE 14, 2019: Texas Governor Abbot signed Bill HB 3703 which allows conditions to include Medical Seizure Disorders, MS, Spasticity, Terminal Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Autism and ALS.


Conditions: Intractable epilepsy that has not responded to three or more treatments suggested by a neurologist
THC: Hemp extracts with 0.3% or less by weight and a minimum of 15% CBD by weight and contains no other psychoactive substances

UPDATE DECEMBER 3, 2018: Legal possession of hemp extract or CBD oil containing less than 3% THC no longer requires a registration card. However, those in Utah who cultivate, possess or sell these products need a license from the Department of Agriculture and Food.


Conditions: Intractable epilepsy
THC: Cannabis oils with 0.5% or less and a minimum of 15% CBD or THC-A (non- psychoactive form)

UPDATE 2018: Bill HB 1251 expanded the conditions significantly. Also, the Virginia Board of Pharmacy has approved five companies to open dispensaries sometime in 2019.


Conditions: Seizure disorders
THC: Levels of THC and CBD are not defined; allows for possession of CBD in a form without a psychoactive effect

UPDATE 2017: Bill SB 10, Section 4, #13 replaced the condition “seizure disorder” with “medical condition.”

In February of this year, Governor Tony Evers announced that he would include a proposal to legalize medical cannabis, decriminalization of possession up to 25 grams and establish an expunction procedure for criminals involving less than 25 grams in his proposed budget.

However, the Joint Finance Committee removed the medical provisions from the proposed budget with every Republican member voting to discard the compassionate program.


Conditions: Intractable epilepsy or seizure disorders
THC: Hemp extracts with 0.3% or less and a minimum 5% CBD by weight

UPDATE 2019: Bill HB0 171 /HEA No. 0110 (Page 4 was signed by Governor Mark Gordon legalizing the cultivation and sales of Hemp derived CBD with a House vote of 56-3.


Twenty-two states that fully legalize the Medical use of all CBD products derived from either hemp or Marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation are as follows:

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 Washington.


Currently, there are 9 States where the Cannabis plant, including both marijuana and hemp, are completely legal for recreational and medicinal use. These states are Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont (July 1, 2018) and Washington.




Currently, there are three states where marijuana and marijuana derivatives are illegal. They are:

Idaho (vetoed by Governor), Nebraska and South Dakota.

UPDATE: This has not changed. Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota still consider marijuana and marijuana derivatives illegal.

Idaho:  According to Idaho’s Drug Policy, Marijuana is a Schedule 1 controlled substance under Idaho law and is illegal to produce, deliver or possess and is subject to specific penalties; refers to all parts of the plant.

Nebraska: Update January 10, 2019: The legislature introduces LOB 110.  The bill would allow Nebraskans the use of cannabis for certain medical conditions such as severe or chronic pain lasting longer than 3 months and could not adequately be treated by non-opioid medications, PTSD disorder where at least one other treatment failed and terminal illnesses (where patients had less than one year to live); create a system to regulate production and distribution for patients with these conditions.

South Dakota: Attorney General says “industrial hemp and all forms of CBD oil are still illegal in the state. The only exception to the CBD Law is Epidiolex.

Caution is recommended if using in these states.

Note: The Drug Enforcement Administration (FDA) stands by its position that marijuana and its derivatives remain illicit and that it is a Schedule 1 drug.

Still New to CBD. Download CBD Guide to Help you Understand.

Disclaimer:  This article does not constitute a legal or medical endorsement.  It is up to you to seek medical attention or advice of a medical practitioner. We strongly advise you to make sure CBD and medical or recreational marijuana is legal in your area of residence. See the full medical disclaimer here.

Do you agree with this? Have there been any new changes in your state? Feel free to share any comments or new information below.

8 thoughts on “Is CBD Legal in the States – Are we Clear Yet”

  1. Wow!! You sure put a lot of work into that article.  I am from Canada and you likely know that on or around the middle of October Marijuana became legal right across the country.  However there is still a lot of confusion as to what is legal and what isnt.  Like I understand edibles are not while you can buy a pack of joints.  Its definitely going to take education.

    • Hi Dale. You are absolutely correct. Education is definitely a key point. I too am from Canada so yes, I am aware. But like you said, just because it is legal, not everyone will understand the implications. What is clear though is that a lot of people will make money from this. If you are interested, read my last article “Recreational Marijuana and the Gravy Train – who stands to gain.”

  2. Hi there What a confusing subject, what’s allowed where in which form!!! I notice at the end of your post you advise people to do their own homework too…. and no wonder. Different allowed levels of THC allowed in different states. Some states making it legal for recreational use, others not. It’s a minefield. I wonder when all states will legalalize cannabis both marijuana and hemp, for both recreational and medicinal use. How do people go about gaining certification of an illness to enable them to use either for medicinal use?

    • Thanks Ann for stopping by. It is a very confusing topic made more so by the powers to be and the FDA’s stance on legality. The only real ‘legal’ hope anyone has to get ‘certification of an illness’ is to either have their doctor on board or a clinic somewhere that has the authority so they can get a medical marijuana license. For example, in my case, my doctor was ‘old school’ and would not refer me. So I went to a clinic in Ontario and spoke to a medical doctor via skype, had documents with me and we talked for a good part of an hour. So it  really depends on who is willing to help you and the laws of the state/country you reside in.

  3. Hi. This is a very helpful article and I’m sure I will have to revisit it again in the future so that I can re check the facts you have posted as there is so much quality information on your site. In the U.K. CBD oil has also been made legal and at last the world is waking up to the potential health benefits of this wonder plant. Thanks again, Kenny

    • Hi again, Kenny. I know that sometimes we get information overload and we have to revisit in order to absorb what we are learning. I do the same. A previous person mentioned that CBD was not legal in Wales. What part of the UK are you from? 

  4. Hello Mary,

    With CBD’s now legal in all 50 states, this certainly simplifies the regulatory side of these alternative medicines. I have have a family member that has been using alternative medicines similar to CBD to treat cancer as she says the traditional method of treating it is just too terrible in terms of side effects.

    I have a question though, will these product be offered in a supplement form to be taken daily to prevent certain illnesses or is this primarily focused on treating diseases when they are already there?



    • Hello Richard. Thanks for stopping by. 

      Your family member, no doubt, has experienced some terrible side effects from traditional medicine. I hope the CBD is better for her.

      It is difficult to answer your question. Some day it may be offered as a preventative, the same as the one-a-day aspirin for patients with heart issues but one thing is certain, there still needs to be more a lot more research and blind clinical studies done. 


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