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Cannabidiol (CBD) has grown in popularity at a rate in recent years that is mind-blowing.

Because CBD does not induce euphoria in those that use it and possesses many wellness benefits, people are consuming CBD products at record levels in the United States.

Media coverage about CBD has increased a lot in recent years. The rise in awareness about CBD's benefits has been great in some ways, but also problematic in other ways.

CBD products have flooded markets across the country, with some of the products being good and many others not. To make matters worse, the legalities surrounding CBD can be confusing.

Entities that sell CBD across the country will often state that CBD is legal in all 50 states, but is that true? A recent federal court decision sheds some light on the matter.

U.S. Appellate Court rejects a challenge to new DEA rule

In January 2017 the DEA published a new rule for 'marihuana extracts' which created a Controlled Substances Code Number. The code number applied to CBD oil, which resulted in an uproar from the cannabis and hemp communities.

Many in the communities perceived the creation of a new code to mean that CBD was being categorized as a Schedule I substance for the first time.

Members of the hemp industry filed a lawsuit against the new rule in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is considered to be the most liberal Court at the federal level.

Unfortunately, the Court rejected the lawsuit this week, hinging its legal reasoning on the fact that the members of the hemp industry did not provide comments during the public comment period for the rule and therefore they are not eligible to challenge the rule in court.

The end result is that CBD extracts, even if they are derived from hemp, are considered to be a Schedule I substance according to the federal government.

Is CBD legal in all 50 states?

Many people inside and outside of the cannabis and hemp industries will make the claim that CBD is legal in all 50 states. They are not entirely right or entirely wrong.

To know if a CBD product is truly legal in all 50 states in the eyes of the federal government, it all depends on where the inputs for the CBD product were sourced and where the final product was made.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, "Products containing tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), the hallucinogenic substance in marijuana are illegal to import. Products that do not cause THC to enter the human body are therefore legal products."

That would include finished CBD products. If a CBD product contains no THC, is derived from hemp, and is imported as a finished product from another country than it is legal in all 50 states.

Another way that a CBD product could be legal is if it is derived from a source that is not cannabis or hemp, such as from hops.

Outside of that, and the legality of a CBD product gets really murky at best. Unfortunately, CBD products like the ones described are of low quality and of little to no benefit to consumers.

Consumers should really be after domestic CBD products derived from whole plant extract processes. The inputs of those products are of a much higher quality, and since they contain some THC, it's more beneficial to consumers.

Unfortunately, those products are not allowed to cross state lines and can only be sold within the state borders in which they were produced according to the federal government.

What people can do to help make all CBD products truly legal in all 50 states

Some may argue that they feel that all CBD products are already legal in all 50 states, and so, therefore, there's no need to fight for CBD reform at the federal level. That is a harmful stance.

The DEA has made it clear that CBD is illegal and always has been. As I always say, who are you going to believe, the person trying to sell you a bottle of CBD oil or the small army of DEA agents that will arrest you and throw you in federal prison?

CBD-based raids have occurred all over the country, and while most people get away with selling CBD products, that doesn't in itself make those products or activity legal.

Consumers and CBD advocates must lobby Congress and urge lawmakers to support bills like H.R. 715 that would exclude CBD from the Controlled Substances Act.

A number of other bills in Congress would also result in CBD being removed from its Schedule I status, and they all deserve support.

Contact your lawmakers and let them know that you support such pieces of legislation and they should too. The future of CBD depends on it!


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