Is CBD Legal in New York?

by Kat Austin December 14, 2020 7 min read

Is CBD Legal in New York? - Vida Optima™

A map showing New York and surrounding states

New York has yet to fully legalize cannabis, but they have one of the most lenient medical programs in the country. The state fell behind on hemp agriculture but finally began enacting hemp laws in mid-2019. It can be kind of confusing to keep up with all the changes.

Is CBD legal in New York? And if so, do you need a medical card to access it?

Luckily, CBD may be accessible in New York even for people who don’t have a qualifying medical card. It’s legally sold in grocery markets and can be shipped to New York when you order online.

Still, the state may not regulate product safety or allow all types of products, so you should get a good grasp on New York CBD laws before you choose a new product to try. 

Table of Contents
Legal Concerns About CBD
What are the CBD laws in New York?
Is full spectrum CBD legal in New York?
Does New York have a CBD possession limit?
Can doctors prescribe CBD in New York?
Where to buy CBD in New York?
Can you buy CBD at 18 in New York?
Is CBD legal in all 50 states?

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

  • CBD is legal in New York, but the state’s stance on CBD edibles is still hazy.
  • The state’s hemp program does impose various regulations on hemp growers and producers. Many deal with testing and labeling in regards to the product’s THC content, but don’t necessarily regulate quality or safety.
  • The state has no age restriction and does not require a prescription for CBD access, but vendors may require you to be 21 to buy CBD.
  • You can order CBD online and have it shipped to New York, which may give you better oversight of product quality.

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 small selection of CBD oils, a popular type of CBD product in New York state.


What are the CBD laws in New York?

New York infamously has a medical cannabis program that makes cannabis easily accessible to many patients across the state, but access to CBD products is extended even to those who don’t have a state medical card. Originally, hemp and CBD possession in the state fell under the protection of the 2018 Farm Bill.

In June 2019, the state senate passed S6184A. The bill, which clarified methods for hemp production and marketing in the state was later signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The bill granted authority over state hemp agriculture to the New York State Department of Agriculture, but authority was later transferred to the New York State Cannabinoid Hemp program overseen by the Department of Health.

The program sets forth various regulations regarding hemp production, THC content, testing requirements, and labeling standards. It did not originally seem to restrict any type of CBD product or impose any testing standards that seriously impact product quality.

At one point, the state issued a statement suggesting that CBD could not be added to food or beverages, similarly to regulations in states like Georgia, Hawaii, California, and New Hampshire.

Now, the statement has since been removed, but has been replaced by a new final rule set to take effect in January of 2022. The state has placed a ban on hemp flower intended for smoking. It appears that hemp flower is still legal in the state, but must not be marketed in a way that suggests that it is intended to be smoked in a joint or by other methods. Hemp vapes will still be approved for those over 21 years of age, but must be labeled with appropriate health and safety warnings. 

At that time, penalties for breaking this law were aimed at vendors and manufacturers, not consumers. The state’s overall stance on CBD edible products is unclear, but they seem to be legal.

New York has also approved CBD for use in dietary supplements so long as they meet the other requirements laid out by the State’s Cannabinoid Hemp Program. There are no penalties in place for CBD possession in the state, so long as they meet the requirements laid out by the federal Farm Bill.

Is full spectrum CBD legal in New York?

It’s easy to assume that CBD isolate is legal in many places since it contains no THC, but many consumers are worried that the trace amounts of THC found in full-spectrum CBD products may cause trouble in states where cannabis is illegal. Luckily, New York has no laws restricting full spectrum CBD products that contain 0.3% THC or less.

Does New York have a CBD possession limit?

New York does not impose any possession limits for CBD products that meet state requirements. Products that contain more than 0.3% THC are considered cannabis products and are only legal for qualified medical users. These products are also subject to their own possession limits.

Can doctors prescribe CBD in New York?

You don’t need a prescription to get CBD in New York state. In fact, doctors typically cannot “prescribe” CBD products that are sold over the counter, rather they may “recommend” them. Even in states where medical marijuana is legal, access usually requires a doctor’s recommendation, not a prescription.

CBD is still new, and only one CBD product has been approved by the FDA to date. This product, GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex, is designed to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy. Aside from this product (which comes with stringent usage guidelines), many doctors are still learning about CBD. If you’re interested in the benefits of CBD, you may need to spark a conversation with your doctor.

Where to buy CBD in New York?

A handful of CBD softgels, which are legal and accessible in New York state

New York allows CBD to be marketed across the state, and you may find a variety of CBD products in local grocery markets and convenience stores. Cannabis-derived CBD is also available in local dispensaries, but you need a medical card to access them.

The state imposes various testing and labeling requirements, but not many of them impact product quality or safety. In general, safety regulations are scarce in the CBD industry, and you should do your research before buying CBD in New York.

Buying CBD online is a suitable option for most consumers. 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.

Can you buy CBD at 18 in New York?

New York does not outline any legal age for purchasing CBD. In theory, CBD should be accessible to people of all ages, especially since it gained popularity as a treatment for various childhood illnesses. Of course, some products may not be suitable for people of all ages, like smokable hemp flower or CBD vaporizers.

Although there are no statewide laws that impact purchasing age, laws may vary by local jurisdiction, but generally, the minimum age for purchase is decided by the vendor. The legal age for buying tobacco has been increased to 21, and it's possible that most CBD vendors will require buyers to meet this minimum age requirement as well.

Many CBD brands allow customers who are 18 or older to order online and will ship legal CBD products to New York.

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 in New York, but every state has different regulations regarding the manufacture and sale of CBD. Click here to find out where CBD is legal.


  1. “Hemp Farming Act of 2018”
  2. “New York Senate Bill S6184A”
  3. “The Cannabinoid Hemp Program”

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