The feds maintain an almost complete ban on commercially-available CBD products. But a market has still grown – and is thriving. In recent years, more and more people have been using CBD as a treatment for a number of medical conditions, including seizures, pain and anxiety. Articles touting it as a new kind of miracle drug have even appeared in mainstream publications, including the Washington Post. With all this mainstream hype, you’d think CBD was legal. But the DEA doesn’t think so. That federal agency considers CBD a schedule 1 drug, illegal in all 50 states. Here’s what DEA spokesman Rusty Payne told an Indiana TV station about CBD.
“It’s not legal. It’s just not.” A drug recently approved to treat seizures in a rare form of epilepsy is the only CBD product federally-legal, and only with a prescription. The 2014 Hemp Amendment to the federal farm bill has created a lot of confusion. It federally legalized hemp production in states where it is legal – but only for research purposes. The feds still maintain a complete ban on commercial hemp production. As Payne noted, this includes the production of CBD for anything other than research purposes. But that hasn’t stopped a robust CBD market from developing in states that have ignored federal prohibition and legalized industrial hemp for commercial purposes anyway. In fact, many supposedly-compliant hemp programs in the states are still violating federal law on CBD. People across the country are producing, selling, buying and using it, even though the feds say they’re not allowed to. Here in downtown Los Angeles, you can walk into one of my favorite juice bars and find CBD infused cold-pressed green juice available over the counter. Or you can take a short bike ride to Lassen’s Natural Foods in Echo Park and find an entire display case filled with CBD products. The store even has a web page dedicated to CBD. Here in California, buying CBD is often times no different than buying Tylenol at your local market. This is actually quite different than buying recreational marijuana all along the west coast. Marijuana retailers are required to check your ID at a security station. They log you in whether you buy or not. They’re only able to accept cash or cryptocurrency, no credit cards allowed in most stores. But these other businesses selling CBD it’s being done in full public display, without restriction or registration. It’s almost like federal law doesn’t even matter. And as long as people keep acting like this, it really doesn’t. Taken together, all of these actions are nullifying the federal ban on CBD products in practice and effect.