December 04, 2020 5 min read

A map zoomed in on Hawaii

People across the country are finding solace in CBD for managing conditions like anxiety and brain fog, but the industry is still mostly unregulated. Federal laws seemed to lift the ban on industrial-hemp derived products in 2018, but every state has the right to create their own laws about CBD.

If you’re wondering “is CBD legal in Hawaii?” you aren’t alone.

The Aloha State claims to align with federal law on hemp-derived products, but they offer a different interpretation than most. Technically, the state claims that CBD products are illegal (outside of their medical cannabis program) until regulated by the FDA.

People across the state are still accessing CBD, especially through the mail, but it’s important to understand Hawaii CBD laws before making a purchase.

Here are the details you need:

Table of Contents
Legal Concerns About CBD
What are the CBD laws in Hawaii?
Does Hawaii have a CBD possession limit?
Can doctors prescribe CBD in Hawaii?
Where to buy CBD in Hawaii?
Is CBD legal in all 50 states?
Resources 

Disclaimer: We’re always working to stay informed on the latest CBD laws and research. However, state laws are subject to change and we advise that you do your own research to verify the information you find in this article. This is not intended as legal advice.

Key Takeaways

  • Hawaii claims to align with federal regulations on industrial hemp, but the actual rules aren’t so clear cut. State officials have declared that CBD products are prohibited until declared safe and regulated by the FDA.
  • The state does make CBD accessible through their medical cannabis program, so those with various conditions (like pain or nausea) may be able to get a doctor’s recommendation for CBD.
  • Despite restrictions, CBD may be accessible at a variety of locations in Hawaii. The U.S. Postal Service has also declared CBD legal to mail, so many brands will ship CBD to the state of Hawaii.
  • In general, CBD is unregulated and the quality is in question. Certain practices, like buying CBD online and properly vetting your CBD brand, may reduce the risks of buying low-quality formulas.

Legal Concerns About CBD

It’s true that CBD gained its federal legal status in 2018. The Hemp Farming Act effectively removed industrial hemp and its natural derivatives (like cannabinoids) from the Controlled Substances Act.

But there’s a catch, and it complicates things:

Legal CBD products must come from industrial hemp.

This classification is designated to hemp material that meets a strict set of standards. The most significant is that it contains less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. If CBD products are made from any cannabis strain that contains more than 0.3% THC, it is not a federally legal product.

That’s not all—

The final product must contain less than 0.3% THC, too.

That means that even if a brand starts with legal hemp material, they need to carry out careful manufacturing procedures to produce a legal end product. It’s possible for certain cannabinoids to be “concentrated” during the extraction process, leading to higher THC concentrations than in the original material. Proper manufacturing and careful testing need to be employed to avoid this issue.

Because there is very little regulation in the CBD industry, it’s important to evaluate a brand carefully before you buy. It can be hard to tell if a CBD product is made from a legal hemp source and meets the federal guidelines for legal hemp products. The best way to ensure that your CBD products are legal is by checking the third-party lab tests for cannabinoid potency.

Of course, these regulations only apply on a federal scale. You must also ensure that your products meet the standards laid out by federal guidelines and those set by your state.

A bottle of CBD oil drops, which may only be accessible online in Hawaii

What are the CBD laws in Hawaii?

Hawaii has mostly refrained from imposing their own hemp and CBD laws, and instead has aligned all state laws to match federal laws. The state explicitly spoke out to warn consumers that all cannabis-derived products are prohibited within the state per FDA regulations.

The state’s Food and Drug Branch specifically warns that products containing CBD are unregulated and are not yet “generally considered safe” by the FDA. They clarify that CBD may not be added to food or drinks or be sold as a dietary supplement.

Other states, like California, Minnesota, and Washington, have also adopted a similar stance while awaiting new FDA regulations. These regulations generally only affect manufacturers and vendors, and Hawaii’s penalties are greater than many other states. The Hawaii Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act gives the state the right to fine businesses and vendors who illegally market CBD up to $10,000 per day.

Despite these restrictions, CBD is relatively accessible across the state, and the state has not imposed legal specific repercussions against the possession of CBD. If the products are considered high-THC marijuana products, possession may be punishable by fines up to $3000 and jail time.

CBD is accessible through the states medical cannabis program and can be purchased at any of the state’s dispensaries. Other consumers may or may not be able to find CBD products within the state, but the U.S. Postal Service declared that CBD is legal to ship through the mail, so CBD may be accessible online. Hawaii officials have also reported that CBD laws in the state have the potential to change, but will only change in accordance to federal laws.

Does Hawaii have a CBD possession limit?

Hawaii prohibits CBD products within the state and therefore has no declared possession limits. The only limits apply to patients with qualifying conditions who access CBD in accordance with the state's medical cannabis program.

Can doctors prescribe CBD in Hawaii?

In general, you do not need a prescription to access CBD products, but CBD products may still be illegal in the state of Hawaii. The state has had a medical cannabis program in place since 2000, so qualifying patients may be able to get a doctor’s recommendation for CBD products.

Where to buy CBD in Hawaii?

A dropper filled with CBD oil, considered a consumable product by Hawaii law

According to state officials, CBD cannot be legally sold in Hawaii. Still, many consumers report that the products are accessible throughout the state. It is unclear if these products are legal or safe. Many CBD brands also ship CBD products to Hawaii, leading many people to order CBD online.

Buying CBD online is a suitable option for most consumers, where it is legal. When you buy CBD online directly from the brand, you get better oversight of the brand’s manufacturing practices. Looking at the brand’s hemp source and lab testing procedures can help ensure that the CBD products you choose are clean, potent, and meet legal guidelines.

Buying CBD directly from a brand instead of from a third-party market may also be less costly since you won’t have to pay the extra fees that are often tacked on by the middle man. Of course, premium CBD can be expensive to manufacture, so you should also be wary of products that offer low-ball prices.

Finally, buying CBD online may be the best way to access many different types of CBD. The most common type of CBD product is an oil tincture, but you can find a variety of CBD edibles, topicals, and other specialty products when you shop online.

For more information on how to find high-quality CBD products, check out our CBD Buyer’s Guide.

Is CBD legal in all 50 states?

Thanks to federal updates, CBD has the potential to be legal in every U.S. state. CBD is legal only for medical use in Hawaii, but every state has different regulations regarding the manufacture and sale of CBD. Click here to find out where CBD is legal.

Resources

  1. “H.R.5485 - Hemp Farming Act of 2018” https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/5485
  2. “CBD INFORMATION” https://health.hawaii.gov/food-drug/cbd-information/
  3. “CHAPTER 328 FOOD, DRUGS, AND COSMETICS” https://cca.hawaii.gov/pvl/files/2013/08/HRS-328-DOH-0816.pdf

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