Is CBD Legal in California?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a non intoxicating, non-psychoactive substance derived from the cannabis plant. CBD can be extracted from the hemp part of the cannabis plant (aka industrial hemp), or the marijuana part of the plant.

When derived from hemp, it is usually known as “Hemp CBD” or simply “Hemp Extract.” Unlike THC (marijuana), also derived from cannabis, Hemp CBD does NOT get you high. It is said to relieve pain and anxiety, and possibly has other health benefits, although the studies have not clearly confirmed this yet.

Although CBD seems to be everywhere in California right now, its legal status is unclear. While Congress did legalize the production and sale of Hemp CBD in December 2018, it cannot be marketed for certain purposes. For example, it can’t be sold as an over-the-counter (OTC) dietary supplement (such as CBD oil), or as an additive in foods, drinks, and makeup and cosmetics. These products especially run into trouble when they claim any therapeutic or health benefits, as the FDA has not yet verified the accuracy of such claims.

Is it legal to grow hemp in California?

Yes it is legal to grow hemp and produce hemp CBD in California.

Is it legal to sell CBD in California?

It is legal to sell CBD derived from marijuana (“marijuana CBD”), in licensed pot shops. But it is NOT yet legal sell hemp CBD at all in California, whether as a drug or dietary supplement, or as an additive to food or drinks.

Legislators are working on allowing retail stores and food and drink establishments to use hemp CBD, without a license, in legislation known as AB 228.

If CBD is not legal without a prescription, how are all these businesses selling it?

Lax enforcement. But the California Department of Public Health is starting to take products off the shelves.

See more about CBD law.

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Photo credit: Photo by Caleb Simpson on Unsplash

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