CBD is Legal!
A year ago, hemp and CBD were schedule 1 drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. The 2018 Farm Bill descheduled them. Does that mean there are no restrictions or regulations on growing or selling hemp products? Nope. Now that it’s legal, various other agencies get involved and get to regulate it. And if it’s something that you’re ingesting, a food, dietary supplement, or drug (like that CBD cookie you picked up at the grocery store), the FDA probably has dibs on it.
But Still Illegal Federally…?
However, the FDA is still working on its regulations (public comment closes 7/16/19). This means that although CBD is not a controlled substance, it is still federally illegal as a food product.
The FDA has issued some warnings to companies making health claims about their CBD products (Pro Tip: Don’t claim that your CBD tincture cures cancer). The FDA has also disclosed that it has tested CBD products currently on the shelves and some do not contain the levels of CBD stated on the label (Buyer beware: pending regulated testing and labeling, this is a market ripe for ripoffs).
And Still Kind Of Illegal in Massachusetts…
While cannabis (the plant that gets you high) is regulated by the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), hemp (the plant that gets you rope, t-shirts, and granola) is regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR). The CCC’s entire purpose is to regulate a state industry that is federally illegal and thus is not too concerned with the FDA’s lack of regulations, but MDAR appears to be less comfortable with conflicting federal law.
MDAR, and the Department of Public Health, recently issued a policy prohibiting for sale:
– Any food product containing CBD;
– Any product containing CBD derived from hemp that makes therapeutic/medicinal claims;
– Any product that contains hemp as a dietary supplement;
– Animal feed that contains any hemp products;
– Unprocessed or raw plant material, including flower that is meant for end use by a consumer.
Countless stores of all types in the Commonwealth are currently selling products that violate this policy, placing many small businesses in potential peril of legal action, revoked licenses, and seizure and destruction of product.
The irony of this policy is that a myriad of CBD edible and ingestible products are approved for sale in Massachusetts in licensed cannabis dispensaries because they are derived from plants containing THC and regulated by the CCC.
But There’s Hope For Change
In an effort to correct these regulatory contradictions, legislation has been introduced in the state House (H.D. 4339, presented by Mark Cusack) that would permit hemp derived CBD to be used in products ingested and consumed by people and animals, as well as permitting interstate transfers of such products. This bill is currently referred to the House Rules Committee. Stay tuned for updates.
See below for the MDAR document.