CBD: Legal or Illegal? Where We Stand Today

Find out about the how legal or illegal CBD really is.

CBD is legal and illegal in many different forms and states across America which can be confusing. Image Credit: By Checubus on shutterstock.

I am a rule follower by nature, and I always have been. As a high school teacher, this suits me well. When I teach my students the procedures and guidelines that lead to success in my classroom, I see them accomplish more than they ever thought possible. In my own life, once I met Jesus, I wanted to honor Him in my actions and decisions, so following the law to the letter was my practice.

One time in college, I desperately needed a car to be able to keep my job. I had a friend who told me that he could take me to an auction to get a car I could afford. I was so excited. Several times I asked him if I was allowed to go to the auction. I told him, “I don’t want to lie. I know God doesn’t honor lying.” It turned out that I was not allowed to go. He was lying to get me in, and there could be consequences if the deception was discovered. I told him I couldn’t do it. I felt bad because he had pulled some strings and was truly trying to help me, but the bottom line was that if I couldn’t be honest and have integrity about my actions, then I wouldn’t do it. I walked away from a sure thing that day and trusted God to provide a car before I went back to college. As I stepped out in faith, He did just that.

CBD Oil and Its Legalities

Honesty and rule following are guiding principles in my life. I would never knowingly do anything illegal or suspect. My foray into the CBD industry tested this conviction in ways I didn’t expect. Not because I was trying to get around the law or be sneaky. Because the laws regarding CBD oil have been so confusing, inconsistent, and contradictory. These laws have made it difficult to figure out and follow the truth.

When I first began investigating CBD oil, it was legal in my home state only in one specific circumstance: with a doctor’s prescription to treat childhood epilepsy. In fact, this has been one of the most promising uses of CBD oil from the very beginning. Most stores could not and did not sell CBD oil off the shelf, but there were three stores within driving distance that could and did sell it. Apparently, these particular stores received a special waiver that made it okay for them to sell CBD oil. However, the stipulations regarding that were never clear. However, even if I couldn’t buy CBD oil from a store, it was completely legal to buy it online and have it delivered to my house. This is because CBD oil wasn’t classified as a drug. It was considered a food product, and it could therefore be sent across state lines. At least that’s what I was told in the beginning.

Hemp and the Farm Bill

Hemp has suffered under an outright ban for decades since it was erroneously connected to marijuana and its psychoactive elements. Then the 2014 Farm Bill passed, and it made hemp federally legal in certain situations. This bill stated that hemp was now legal to be grown and cultivated, albeit under strict guidelines. The agricultural department of each state had to sign on to manage and regulate the growing of hemp in their state. Kentucky, with the yawning void left by a dramatic decrease in tobacco farms (largely because the federal government decided to stop subsidizing tobacco crops), jumped on this golden opportunity immediately. The hope was that hemp would become the new cash crop of Kentucky. By and large, it has.

Other states, however, didn’t pursue the hemp farming route. Hemp farming licenses were not issued, and because hemp was not legal to grow otherwise, the crop remained banned in those states. The farm bill is considered and amended every four years, so as 2018 came to a close and CBD oil was skyrocketing in popularity, many people hoped that the 2018 Farm Bill would make industrial hemp federally legal once and for all. It did. The president signed it into law at the end of December.

CBD: Legally Free and Clear?

This seemed to clear up the murky gray area that made CBD oil such a challenge. I was overjoyed that people would be able to enjoy the health benefits of CBD oil without worrying about an obscure law or limitation. CBD oil shops started popping up all over town, and everyone who avoided CBD oil before because they weren’t sure it was legal now felt confident that it was.

Then, our local news station did a story about the legality of CBD oil in my state. The conclusions were shocking, and they created such a stir that the news station followed up with three more stories. It was reported that hemp was still considered illegal because our state laws had not yet caught up to the federal laws regarding hemp. Worse, district attorneys from neighboring counties were interviewed about CBD oil, and one DA said she would go after CBD oil users and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law just as she would other drug users. I was crestfallen.

How could this issue be so confusing and unclear? Why was it nearly impossible to get a straight answer about CBD oil? Why did I now have to call the DA of the county if I wanted to sell CBD oil at an event to make sure I wouldn’t be arrested by someone who didn’t understand the federal law? How could CBD oil still be considered and prosecuted as a drug if the federal government took it off the Schedule 1 drug list? How could the law regarding hemp be so inconsistent and illogical that whether or not I could be prosecuted is determined simply by what county I am in?

I am not the only one upset by the constantly changing, and constantly confusing, news about hemp in our state. I started following a hemp lobbying group who hired lawyers to comb through the 2018 Farm Bill and our state laws. Buried in our state laws is a provision that explains that once a drug has been deemed legal at the federal level, then our state has to acknowledge and abide by that legality. When contacted, state government officials admitted this provision did apply to hemp and CBD oil. This was great news, and long overdue.

CBD, Honesty, Integrity and State Laws

So this is where we are now with the issue of CBD oil in my state: CBD oil is technically legal because hemp is federally legal, though some who are unaware of the state law provision may still claim that CBD oil is illegal on a state level. Right now, there are numerous bills presented to the legislature seeking to clarify the issue of hemp on a state level for good. I am still a rule follower, and I still strive to honor God with every decision and action I make. I choose to live my life honestly with my integrity in place. And I am also involved with the CBD oil industry as a user, educator, and seller.

It is unfair to move the finish line as runners are running a race or change the expectations in a classroom and punish kids for doing things they didn’t know are wrong. In the same way, the confusion about the CBD oil industry has done just that to good, law-abiding people seeking an alternative to prescription meds for their depression, chronic pain, or autoimmune disease. Hopefully, because hemp is legal on the federal level, they can experience the relief they’re looking for without feeling the least bit guilty.

The bottom line for consumers: check your own state’s laws regarding hemp. It is considered federally legal, but that does not guarantee each state recognizes that legality. I pray for the day when these legal and mental calisthenics about CBD oil are a thing of the past, and we can just get on with the business of health and healing.

Kim Nelles
Kim Nelles
Kim Nelles
Kim Nelles is an English teacher, a wife, and mom of two beautiful girls. She lives in Texas and is helping her family heal naturally with the help of CBD oil. If you would like to connect with Kim and learn more about CBD oil, you can reach her at [email protected]

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