January 06, 2021 7 min read

A map showing Washington and surrounding states

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp across the nation, but some states were hesitant to pass their own legislation to approve the use of CBD.

With different laws in every state, its difficult to keep up with what’s legal and what’s not. That’s even true in states like Washington, where cannabis has been fully legalized for adult use for quite some time.

So, is CBD legal in Washington? And if so, where can you get it?

Technically, the answer is yes, but it may not be so easy to find legal CBD products in the state. CBD derived from hemp is legal, but the state prohibits the manufacture and sale of many different types of CBD products.

To find out how to access CBD in Washington, you first should familiarize yourself with Washington CBD laws:

Table of Contents
Legal Concerns About CBD
What are the CBD laws in Washington?
Is full spectrum CBD legal in Washington?
Does Washington have a CBD possession limit?
Do you need a prescription for CBD in Washington?
Where to buy CBD in Washington? Can you buy CBD at 18 in Washington? 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

Washington legalized hemp agriculture and allows certain types of CBD products to be made and sold in the state. Consumable CBD products are prohibited.

You do not need a prescription to access CBD and the state has not set any age restrictions for buying CBD.

Consumers in Washington often outsource their CBD needs to brands in other states, but quality regulations are scarce in the CBD industry. This lack of regulations can put consumers at risk.

Shopping online may give you better oversight of brand quality, and many online CBD brands ship legal CBD products to Virginia to buyers aged 18 and up.

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.

Two bottles of CBD oil, which may need to be ordered online in Washington.

What are the CBD laws in Washington?

Washington signed SB 6206 in 2016, which created an Industrial Hemp Research Program in accordance with the 2014 Farm Bill. After the 2018 Farm Bill passed into law, the state quickly passed SB 5276, a bill to further regulate and expand access to hemp agriculture in the state. Under this bill, CBD was officially legalized for consumers across the state, and hemp was established as a separate substance from marijuana.

However, the state quickly released new rules to ban many different CBD formulations in the state. In October of 2019, the state Department of Agriculture updated regulations to clarify that CBD cannot be used as an additive in foods, beverages, or dietary supplements. This is in line with the FDA’s current stance on CBD food items, and the same laws have been applied in other states, like California, Hawaii, and Minnesota.

There is no ban against CBD in topical applications. The state has no imposed legal penalty for the sale or possession of these consumable products but is actively working to remove unapproved products from the market.

In other words, CBD from hemp is legal in the state, but the types of products that can be made from CBD are heavily restricted. The state-approved the adult use of cannabis with Initiative 502 in 2012, however, which serves as a loophole for CBD access for many. Although not as common as THC preparations, some cannabis-derived CBD products, including consumables, are available in state-licensed dispensaries.

While hemp CBD cannot be made and sold in the state, there seems to be no penalty for the possession of products that meet federal regulations and are made according to legal guidelines. That means that users may shop out of state or online to find the CBD products they need.

Is full spectrum CBD legal in Washington?

It’s easy to assume that CBD isolate, which contains no THC, is legal in most places. Laws surrounding full spectrum products that contain some amount of THC are not always so clear. Washington law allows for CBD products to contain up to 0.3% THC, which means full spectrum CBD products are legal in the state.

Does Washington have a CBD possession limit?

There are no Washington state laws that define any possession limits for CBD products derived from hemp. Products that contain more than 0.3% THC are considered cannabis products by the state and are only available at licensed state dispensaries. These CBD products are subject to different possession limits and regulations.

Do you need a prescription for CBD in Washington?

There is no need for a prescription to access CBD products in Washington. 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 Washington?

A handful of CBD capsules, which may be legal to possess but difficult to find in Washington.

Various forms of CBD, especially CBD consumables, are prohibited in Washington. Other types of CBD and hemp products, like topicals and hemp seeds, may be available in local grocery markets or health stores. Some CBD oil products derived from cannabis may be accessible as a recreational cannabis product at state-licensed dispensaries.

Since CBD access is limited in Washington, many people choose to buy CBD online instead of locally.

There are multiple benefits to buying CBD online. Most significantly, you can get better oversight of the brand’s quality 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 Washington?

In theory, CBD should be accessible to people of all ages, especially since it originally 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.

CBD age limits are mostly undefined, even by federal law. Washington does not impose any age restrictions for buying hemp-derived CBD products, but there may still be limitations.

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 Washington.

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 Washington but is heavily restricted. Every state has different regulations regarding the manufacture and sale of CBD. Click here to find out where CBD is legal.

Resources

  1. “Hemp Farming Act of 2018” https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/5485
  2. “SB 6206 - 2015-16” https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=6206&Year=2015
  3. “SB 5276 - 2019-20” https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5276&Year=2019
  4. “RESTRICTIONS ON THE USE OF HEMP CBD AS A FOOD INGREDIENT” https://agr.wa.gov/departments/food-safety/food-safety/hemp-cbd-in-food
  5. “Initiative Measure No. 502” https://www.sos.wa.gov/_assets/elections/initiatives/i502.pdf

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