March 16, 2021 13 min read

CBD, a cannabinoid derived from hemp, originally gained legal ground in select states thanks to its anti-seizure effects. As researchers began uncovering the slew of agricultural and health benefits related to hemp and CBD, the federal government stepped in to legalize it across the nation.

After the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law, hemp was effectively legal in all 50 states.

So, that means CBD is legal everywhere, right?

Not exactly.

The Farm Bill granted every state the right to decide how hemp and its constituents (like CBD) are regulated within state lines, and thus, the country's CBD laws were instantly split 50 different ways.

Honestly, it gets pretty confusing.

Some states have virtually no restrictions in place, while a handful have fully integrated, well-regulated CBD markets. Others, even some of the most Cannabis-friendly states, have banned CBD altogether.

To help cut through the confusion, we put together this Comprehensive Guide to Legal CBD. It includes everything you need to determine if CBD is legal in your state and how you can access safe, legal CBD today.

Let's get started:

Table of Contents
A Glance at Federal Laws
Licensing and Manufacturing Laws
Seller Laws
Possession Laws
Formula Restrictions
Special THC Laws
CBD Laws by State
Buying CBD Near You

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

Hemp and CBD laws vary by state. Some states impose advanced hemp regulations, while others fall back on federal regulations.

Many states have restrictions on the types of CBD products that can be made and sold.

CBD accessibility and legality are impacted by the state you live in. In many cases, you can purchase CBD online and have it shipped to your door, even if CBD isn’t accessible in local stores.

Because CBD is legal to send through the mail, buying CBD online may be the best option for consumers. Even though the CBD market is not yet well regulated, online shopping gives a unique opportunity to carefully vet each CBD brand for consistency and quality.

A Glance at Federal Hemp Laws

Although every state's laws are unique, they typically balance on the basic requirements laid out by federal laws. If a product does not meet these requirements, it's not considered legal by federal standards. Similarly, cannabis may be legal for recreational use within a select state's jurisdiction but is still considered illegal by federal standards.

The 2018 Farm Bill is a lengthy, complex bill meant to bolster hemp agriculture across the country, but federal legislation achieved two key things that affect CBD:

First, it defined hemp as any part of the Cannabis Sativa L. plant with less than 0.3% delta-9-THC. The definition includes all parts of the plant, including cannabinoids, extracts, and other derivatives.

Second, the U.S. government removed hemp from the definition used for "marijuana," removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.

Thanks to these two actions, hemp and CBD are both federally legal and have the potential to be legal in every state.

Factors that Affect State CBD Laws

A map of the United States, where CBD laws are inconsistent across the country.

We mentioned that CBD laws vary by state, but it's important to understand the scale at which these laws can vary. Unfortunately, laws are never as simple as "yes or no," and there are a variety of different rules and regulations that affect the CBD climate across the country.

Here are some important factors and how they affect the CBD market in every state:

Licensing and Manufacturing Laws

Part of each state's responsibility within the legal hemp market is submitting a hemp agriculture plan to the USDA for approval. To date, most states have submitted a plan, and a select few are still waiting for approval.

The USDA hemp plan submitted by each state must include information about the licensing process for hemp growers, as well as the testing procedures that the state will use to ensure hemp material is below the federal threshold for delta-9-THC content.

Every states' hemp plan will also designate a state department, such as the Department of Agriculture, to oversee each program. This is the department you should contact to get the most accurate, up to date hemp laws in your state.

Manufacturing and licensing laws vary greatly by state. Some states require growers, manufacturers, and sellers to each hold an individual license. Others simply require growers to be licensed through the state program, and otherwise do very little to regulate the manufacture and sale of CBD products.

While these licensing laws don't typically affect consumers directly, they can affect the availability and quality of CBD in your state. In general, most testing requirements only concern the legal THC content, and only a handful of states have quality regulations in place.

The lack of quality regulations in most states is risky for consumers. Check out our CBD Buyer’s Guide to learn how to carefully research CBD brands for yourself if you don’t want to rely on state regulations.

Seller Laws

As we mentioned, some states require sellers to be licensed before they can distribute hemp or CBD products. In other states, anyone can sell CBD so long as it is made according to legal guidelines.

Typically, seller laws don't affect consumers unless there are age limits in place in your particular state.

Possession Laws

Typically, there is no possession limit in place for legal CBD products. However, CBD products with more than the legal amount of THC are considered cannabis products and are heavily restricted in many states. Even in states where cannabis is legal, CBD products derived from marijuana are typically subject to strict possession laws.

Formula Restrictions

CBD can be used for edibles, like these cookies, but it isn't legal in all states.

The most common way that state CBD laws affect consumers is through formula restrictions. There are many different types of CBD available in today’s hemp market, but not every type of CBD is legal in every state.

In some states, hemp and CBD are both legal, but CBD is classified as an adulterant. This means that it cannot be legally added to food, drinks, or dietary supplements.

While this ruling is in line with the FDA's current stance on CBD as a food additive, some states have specifically legalized the use of CBD in foods and drinks.

In other states, smokable forms of CBD, like hemp flower or vaporizers, may be prohibited from sales. Some states only prohibit hemp in it's raw, unprocessed form (like raw hemp flower), but allow CBD vaporizers.

Generally speaking, these formula restrictions are aimed at manufacturers and sellers and don't affect consumers directly. In other words, there may be no penalty for possession of these products, but you may not be able to buy them in every state.

Special THC Laws

Finally, some states have legalized CBD, but still maintain complete bans on THC. That means that CBD may be legal, but only if it contains no THC at all. In other words, these states allow the sale of CBD isolate, but not full spectrum CBD, which may contain up to 0.3% THC per federal legislation.

CBD Laws by State

Here's a glance at how CBD laws vary by state. Click through to read more about each state's CBD rules and regulations:

Alabama

Alabama was one of many states to offer early access to CBD for qualifying medical patients. The state eventually expanded access to hemp and CBD to all residents. Overall, the state hemp market is very loosely regulated and there are virtually no quality or labeling requirements in place to protect consumers.

Alaska

Although Alaska became the third state to legalize recreational cannabis in 2014, their CBD laws are much stricter. The state prohibits the manufacture and sale of CBD entirely, citing a lack of FDA regulations. Still, there are ways that Alaska residents can access legal CBD from the state, like by shopping online.

Arizona

Arizona has passed some legislation to update hemp regulations in the state, which generally align with federal regulations. The state also classifies CBD as a hemp product, so both hemp and CBD are legal in Arizona. However, there are virtually no quality or labeling requirements in place, and buying CBD can be risky if you don’t carefully vet your CBD brand first.

Arkansas

Arkansas also introduced CBD legislation early through a medical access bill targeting qualifying patients. Eventually, the state updated legislation to match federal regulations, but with one key difference—the state does not permit “living” hemp material to be sold. That means that all CBD products sold in the state must be processed, and CBD hemp flower is not legal to sell directly to consumers.

California

Although California is historically a cannabis-friendly state, the state’s CBD laws are particularly strict and vague. The state has not issued a finite ruling on CBD but has declared that CBD cannot legally be added to foods, drinks, animal foods, or dietary supplements. Hemp agriculture is legal in the state, and CBD products are still generally accessible to consumers.

Colorado

Unsurprisingly, Colorado has one of the most advanced and well-regulated hemp markets in the country. Hemp and CBD are both legal, including when used as an additive in foods, beverages, and dietary supplements. The state also imposes a series of regulations, like potency and quality testing, as well as stricter labeling requirements than many states.

Connecticut

Connecticut moved to legalize hemp in 2015, and thanks to updated federal regulations, CBD is now legal in the state. The state has very few restrictions but does require that all CBD consumables be marketed as a food item and without any health claims.

Delaware

Delaware legalized hemp agriculture and sales in accordance to federal regulations, and by default has legalized CBD. The state does very little to regulate CBD quality within the state.

Florida

Florida updated legislation to match the federal definition for hemp, and the state has very few restrictions on the types of CBD products that can be sold and used in the state. The state does have slightly different THC regulations, and products manufactured and sold in the state must also contain less than 0.08% THC by volume. Florida also requires products to meet certain labeling standards, such as containing a QR code linked to third-party test results.

Georgia

Georgia technically legalized hemp and CBD according to federal standards but has specifically banned CBD as an additive for foods, beverages, and dietary supplements. Similarly, the state also prohibits smokable CBD products from being sold in the state.

Hawaii

Hawaii has also updated legislation to legalize hemp agriculture, but the state prohibits the sale of all consumable and smokable forms of CBD.

Idaho

Idaho has also joined the majority of states in legalizing hemp agriculture and CBD manufacturing, but they have one strict caveat—no THC allowed. Only CBD isolate is legal to make and sell in the state, and full spectrum CBD that contains up to 0.3% THC is prohibited.

Illinois

Illinois has legalized hemp and CBD and has relatively relaxed laws concerning CBD products made and sold in the state. The state does not outline any specific types of CBD products that are prohibited but does suggest that any federal regulation regarding CBD outweighs state laws in all cases.

Indiana

Indiana has legalized hemp and CBD and has very few regulations in place that affect CBD quality. There are no restrictions on the types of CBD products that can be made, but consumers should be wary of low-quality formulas from the state.

Iowa

Iowa has also legalized hemp agriculture and matched state definitions to the federal definitions for hemp. The state’s CBD laws are some of the most relaxed in the country, but quality regulation is scarce.

Kansas

Kansas allows hemp to be grown and sold, but all CBD products sold in the state must contain no THC. That means that full spectrum CBD that contains 0.3% THC or less cannot legally be manufactured or sold in the state.

Kentucky

Kentucky legalized hemp agriculture early and quickly became one of the leading hemp producers in the U.S. Generally speaking, state regulations match federal regulations, but the state prohibits the sale of raw, unprocessed hemp products (like flower) directly to consumers. Certain testing regulations are in place for hemp grown in the state, making it a popular hemp source for high-quality manufacturers.

Louisiana

Louisiana has gotten the ball rolling on hemp agriculture, too, and CBD is legal in the state. However, the state aligns with FDA regulations on CBD foods. Consumable CBD products cannot be made or sold in Louisiana, nor can alcoholic beverages containing CBD.

Maine

Maine promotes hemp agriculture throughout the state and has virtually no restriction in place regarding the types of CBD products that can be made or sold. The state also has very loose quality regulations for hemp CBD products.

Maryland

Hemp and CBD are technically legal in Maryland, but the state has declared that it is illegal to make or sell certain CBD consumables or dietary supplements. Otherwise, the state does not impose many regulations that affect quality.

Massachusetts

Hemp and CBD are both legal in Massachusetts, but the state originally prohibited certain CBD consumables. The state legislature is working to update these laws to allow the manufacture and sale of CBD food items in the state.

Michigan

Michigan has legalized hemp agriculture and CBD, by definition, but prohibits certain consumable forms of CBD from being made or sold in the state.

Minnesota

Like many other states, Minnesota aligns fully with federal legislation. CBD is legal in the state, but some forms of CBD are illegal to make and sell.

Mississippi

Mississippi has legalized hemp and CBD, but the state imposes certain potency regulations that aren’t quite aligned with federal regulations.

Missouri

Missouri has legalized hemp and CBD but has otherwise done very little to regulate hemp quality or sales in the state. Overall, Missouri’s CBD regulations are incredibly relaxed and CBD is accessible.

Montana

Hemp is recognized as an agricultural commodity, and the state aligns with the federal definition for hemp and CBD. While the state does very little to regulate quality, it does prohibit certain forms of CBD from being made or sold in the state.

Nebraska

Nebraska allows hemp to be grown and sold and has virtually no regulations or restriction on CBD sales in the state.

Nevada

Nevada is one of the top CBD producers in the country, and the state employs a series of regulations and restrictions that are stricter than that of most states. The state allows most forms of CBD to be made and sold but has a few restrictions on certain types of edibles.

New Hampshire

Hemp and CBD are both legal in New Hampshire, but some forms of CBD are prohibited. Otherwise, the state has not imposed many CBD laws of their own and instead defaults to federal legislation.

New Jersey

New Jersey allows hemp and CBD manufacturing and sales but has more rigorous testing requirements than many states. There are virtually no restrictions on the types of products that can be made or sold as long as they meet state regulations.

New Mexico

Hemp and CBD are legal in New Mexico, and the state has some of the most rigorous requirements in the nation. In fact, the state requires documentation to follow each product from the time that each hemp seed is planted all the way to the vendor.

New York

Hemp and CBD are both legal in New York, and the state imposes some testing requirements on products manufactured in the state. Otherwise, there are no restrictions on the types of products that can be made or sold.

North Carolina

North Carolina has legalized hemp, but still prohibits certain forms of CBD from being manufactured or sold. The state’s laws are still a little hazy, but most of them do not affect consumers.

North Dakota

North Dakota allows hemp and CBD to be manufactured and sold and has virtually no quality regulations in place. There are also no restrictions on the types of CBD products that can be made.

Ohio

Hemp-derived CBD is legal in Ohio, but the state has some of the most relaxed hemp laws in the nation. There are no quality testing requirements and no formula restrictions.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma also has very relaxed CBD regulations in place. The state allows the manufacture and sale of virtually all types of CBD products but does have various restrictions regarding certain types of CBD edibles.

Oregon

Hemp-derived CBD is legal in Oregon, and the state imposes certain quality regulations on hemp growers. While Oregon may produce bountiful amounts of clean, quality hemp, the same regulations are not imposed on CBD manufacturers in the state.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania quickly legalized CBD after the federal Farm Bill passed into law, and CBD products are accessible throughout the state. There are some restrictions on the types of products that can be manufactured in Pennsylvania, and the market lacks regulation.

Rhode Island

Virtually all forms of CBD are legal in Rhode Island, and the state has implemented some regulations on CBD consumables. There are also some age limits in place that affect who can buy CBD products in Rhode Island.

South Carolina

South Carolina was one of many states who originally legalized CBD for medicinal purposes on a limited basis. The state later expanded hemp legislation to boost its agricultural economy, and legislation followed to legalize hemp and CBD for all consumers. While CBD on its own is legal, the state does prohibit the manufacturing and sale of multiple forms of CBD.

South Dakota

South Dakota was later to act than most states, but hemp and hemp-derived CBD are now legal in the state. The state hasn’t imposed many regulations on hemp production, but it does prohibit vendors from selling certain forms of CBD to consumers.

Tennessee

Tennessee has passed legislation to align state law with federal law. There are no restrictions on the types of CBD products that can be sold in the state, and quality regulations are scarce.

Texas

Texas legalized hemp and redefined it to match federal definitions following the federal Farm Bill. CBD is legal, but the state doesn’t allow some raw forms of hemp to be sold to consumers.

Utah

Compared to other states, Utah has a fairly regulated CBD market. Most forms of CBD are legal, but the state does have restrictions on the types of consumable CBD products that can be sold.

Vermont

Hemp and CBD are legal in Vermont, and the state does not prohibit any types of CBD products from being made or sold. Products are subject to strict labeling requirements and some products may be subject to a special tax.

Virginia

Virginia was one of the earliest states to push hemp agriculture, and their research on hemp as an agricultural commodity may have impacted federal decisions. CBD is legal in the state, but the state is still working out its regulations for hemp products.

Washington

Washington has legalized hemp and CBD, but they impose strict regulations on the way that CBD can be used. Many people access CBD products through the state’s recreational cannabis program, but these products are subject to increased taxes and strict possession limits.

West Virginia

Like neighboring state Virginia, West Virginia had its hands in hemp agriculture early. Hemp and CBD are both legal, and hemp regulations are incredibly relaxed in the state. This improved accessibility but may impose quality concerns for consumers.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin has legalized hemp and CBD, but the state hasn’t finalized it’s hemp regulations. CBD products are legal, but accessibility is in question. State laws could change as Wisconsin irons out its hemp agriculture plans.

Wyoming

Wyoming removed hemp and CBD from its Controlled Substances Act and otherwise aligns with federal rule in every way. The state prohibits certain types of CBD from being made and sold in the state, but most laws don’t affect consumers.

Buying CBD Near You

A CBD tincture, one of the most popular types of CBD.

Local laws may impact CBD availability at local stores, and in many cases, it may be difficult to find local CBD products that you can trust. While this may not be the case for hemp-friendly, well-regulated states, it is the case for the majority of states in the country.

Luckily, you aren’t limited to your local supply. The USPS has declared that CBD is legal to ship through the mail, and many consumers find better quality products when shopping online.

Buying CBD online, from any state, allows you an opportunity to thoroughly review a brand before you buy. Although state regulations are often scarce, the best CBD brands will provide third-party testing and manufacturing information before you buy. Plus, buying online helps you access many different types of CBD products, including those that may not be available in local stores.

At Vida Optima, we proudly ship high-quality, full-spectrum CBD products to all 50 states. You can read more about our quality promise and manufacturing process, or jump straight into shopping our CBD collection.


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