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Laws surrounding the possession and consumption of CBD in the United States remain murky. Many states and government entities are still trying to individually interpret what the declassification of hemp-based products and the legalization in some states of medical marijuana mean when it comes to CBD.
CBD is derived largely from hemp, a marijuana “cousin,” meaning it comes from the same plant family. To be classified as hemp, however, means it contains 0.3% or less of the euphoria-producing cannabinoid THC. It doesn’t get users high, but medical studies show CBD can have great health benefits. CBD products have exploded on the market in the last two years, far outpacing the government’s ability to regulate them.
The 2018 Farm Bill declassified hemp from being a controlled substance and allowed for the legal farming, harvesting, and production of hemp-based products. It also made room for those products to be transported legally for sale throughout the United States. CBD advocates claim that makes using CBD free and clear of any legal hassles. Yet a grandmother and great-grandmother visiting Texas and Florida were each arrested in the past month because they packed their CBD. The arrests were frightening, embarrassing, and costly, according to the two women.
While the Farm Bill 2018 makes it appear as if CBD products are legally free and clear, it kicks the matter back to each state to set its own rules and regulations over the production of hemp and hemp-based products. Some states do not have those regulations formulated yet. The Farm Bill also left plenty of room for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which sets the acceptable standards for medications, foods, beverages, and supplements, to regulate the CBD industry. To date, the FDA has not approved CBD products. A May 31 hearing held by the FDA showed signs the agency is moving in the direction of approvals, but for now CBD products sold in the US cannot legally make any health claims.
If you are planning summer travel, here’s what you need to know about packing your CBD. In the United States, public transportation is governed by the Transportation Security Administration or TSA. The TSA is part of the federal government and is under the Department of Homeland Security. Until late May 2019, CBD was a no-go, according to the TSA. It was specifically banned on their website, along with medical marijuana, as an item you cannot take with you on public transportation.
On May 29, 2019, the TSA changed its website to state this regarding CBD:
“Marijuana and certain cannabis infused products, including some Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law except for products that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis or that are approved by FDA. (See the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Pub. L. 115-334.) TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law to local, state or federal authorities.”
It goes on to say the following:
“TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers. Accordingly, TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, but if any illegal substance is discovered during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer. The final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.”
What does this new statement mean? It seems to say that CBD that is hemp-based (Marijuana-derived CBD is still illegal) and of no more than 0.3% THC is okay to pack. It also clearly says the TSA officers are not actively looking for your CBD if they search your bag. However, because the change is so new, if your bag gets pulled for a search at the airport and a TSA officer is not sure about your particular CBD product, you could face a legal hassle or, at the very least, an interruption of your vacation while it gets sorted out.
If you absolutely need to take your CBD with you, here are a few suggestions to help you have a smooth vacation:
While laws and regulations on a federal and state level are becoming more favorable towards CBD products, they remain unclear. For this summer’s travel, leaving your own CBD at home and purchasing new CBD products once you get to your destination may give you the most peace of mind and the smoothest vacation.
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