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CBD oil and products with CBD in them are popping up everywhere. The CBD market is expected to top $591 million this year, and according to cannabis research and marketing entity Brightfield Group could grow to $22 billion by 2022.
But are CBD products legal?
For a believer, this is an important question. Romans 13:1-7 talks in detail about obeying authorities, specifically government. Let’s look at verse 7 (NIRV), which states:
Do you owe taxes? Then pay them. Do you owe anything else to the government? Then pay it. Do you owe respect? Then give it. Do you owe honor? Then show it.
How do we apply this when we are talking about CBD? If we want to respect the authority of our government, then it stands to reason we want to obey the laws of the land. We must ask ourselves: are CBD products legal in the United States or not?
The answer is yes. And no.
Since 1970, all forms of cannabis and marijuana have been prohibited under the Controlled Substances Act. In fact, the 1970 CSA adopted language dating back to 1937, when the federal government enacted the Marihuana Tax Act. Under the CSA, cannabis was classified as a Schedule 1 drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), meaning it has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical treatment use in the U.S., and/or has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
The growing popularity of hemp-based products, CBD, and the movement toward legalizing marijuana prompted a passage in the 2014 Farm Bill that provided a way for states to allow legal cultivation of industrial hemp without a permit from the DEA. However, those who wanted to grow hemp had to register for their individual state’s hemp research pilot program. In short, growers could cultivate the hemp form of cannabis with no more than 0.3% of the psychoactive compound THC if they met all other requirements dictated by their state.
Vote Hemp, a national nonprofit advocacy group, calculated that approximately 77,731 acres of hemp crops were planted across 23 states during 2018. Forty universities conducted research on hemp cultivation, and 3,544 state hemp licenses were issued across the country. Clearly, the people of the United States felt hemp and hemp-based CBD’s day had come.
On December 12, 2018, Congress more broadly legalized hemp. President Trump signed the Farm Bill 2018. The difference in the newest Farm Bill is that it allows for broad cultivation of hemp rather than pilot or research programs. It also allows hemp-derived products to be transferred across state lines for commercial and other purposes. It does not restrict possession of hemp products or the sale and transport of them. This was seen as a huge victory by hemp and hemp-based CBD proponents. The Farm Bill ensures that any cannabinoid that is derived from hemp will be legal, if and only if that hemp is produced by a licensed grower in a manner consistent with the Farm Bill, associated federal regulations and associated state regulations.
That’s the tricky part. Some states allow cannabis products only for medical use and with a prescription. Some ban them altogether. And some, like Colorado, allow fairly unrestricted use. Believers need to research their state laws if they want to obey them regarding CBD use.
Finally, CBD still has legal hurdles to jump to be in the clear for ingestion by humans and animals. Currently, CBD has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration either as a supplement, a medicine, or something safe to put in food products. The Farm Bill 2018 made it clear that the FDA retains its authority in these areas.
The FDA states on its “FDA and Marijuana: Questions and Answers” website that CBD is not permitted in food (including dietary supplements), and there are currently few legal pathways for companies to comply with FDA regulations. The FDA says it is “committed to pursuing an efficient regulatory framework” for CBD product developers, but it is not in place yet.
Christians who want to obey authority regarding CBD products should do their own due diligence. Believers should research the products want to use, investigate the claims those products make, and know their individual state laws.
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