Is CBD oil legal in North Carolina?
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- What is CBD?
- Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
- North Carolina CBD laws
- Where to buy CBD in North Carolina
- How to read CBD labels and packaging
Yes. Hemp-derived CBD with less than 0.3% THC became legal at the federal level in 2018 and it is legal in North Carolina. In addition, hemp extract that contains less than 0.9% THC and at least 5% CBD by weight is legal if the person purchasing it is registered with the state as a patient with intractable epilepsy or a patient’s caregiver.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis. Cannabidiol is the second-most abundant cannabinoid in the plant after tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It has many potential therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-anxiety, and seizure-suppressant properties. CBD can be sourced from both marijuana and hemp plants.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating substance found in cannabis. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
Even though industrial hemp plants don’t produce enough THC to cause intoxication, all types of cannabis, including hemp, were made illegal following the passage of the 1970 Federal Controlled Substances Act. The legislation swept all types of cannabis into the Schedule I category, which defined cannabis as a substance with a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use, and a likelihood for addiction.
However, industrial hemp production was legalized after the passage of the 2018 US Farm Bill, which legalized hemp cultivation and created a pathway to remove some cannabis from Schedule I status by creating a legal divide: Hemp is cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC by weight, and marijuana is cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC.
To meet federal legal criteria, CBD oil must contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Hemp-derived CBD was thus descheduled by the bill, but CBD that is derived from the marijuana plant is still considered federally illegal because marijuana is categorized as a Schedule I substance. While hemp is now considered an agricultural commodity, it still must be produced and sold under regulations that implement the bill.
The Farm Bill also shifted oversight of hemp-derived products to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), giving the agency the ability to regulate CBD’s labeling, therapeutic claims, and its use as a food additive. Despite the passage of the Farm Bill, the FDA has taken the stance that even hemp-derived CBD may not be added to food and beverages, nor can this non-intoxicating cannabinoid be marketed as a dietary supplement.
While the FDA has begun a process of re-evaluating its stance on such CBD products, it has yet to revise its rules or specifically regulate CBD products, leading to further confusion. The FDA has been strict when it comes to health claims and content that could be construed as medical advice about CBD.
The federal legislation still highly regulates the production and sale of hemp and its cannabinoids, including CBD. The Farm Bill also provides that states may also regulate and even prohibit CBD cultivation and commerce. In addition, states may attempt to regulate CBD foods, beverages, dietary supplements, and cosmetic products, independently of the FDA finalizing its views on such products.
The FDA released guidance on the regulation of cannabis and hemp-derived CBD products in March of 2020. The agency is seeking high-quality, scientific data to help it understand and regulate CBD.
North Carolina CBD laws
North Carolina permitted the cultivation and production of hemp under the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, authorized in 2014. The following year the North Carolina General Assembly passed Senate Bill 313, allowing the Industrial Hemp Commission to create rules and a licensing structure to stay within federal regulations. The law was modified again in 2016 with House Bill 992, which authorized a research program related to hemp.
The North Carolina Farm Act of 2019, or Senate Bill 315, originally added more clarifications on the production, distribution, and possession of CBD. However, after an impasse over outlawing smokable hemp, all mentions of the plant were stripped from the bill.
North Carolina’s hemp pilot program was set to expire in 2020 under a US congressional mandate but Congress extended the expiration date to September 20, 2021.
Separately from the industrial hemp pilot program, in 2014, the state passed House Bill 220, or the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act. It allowed patients with epilepsy who register with the state’s program to possess and use hemp extract with less than 0.9% THC and at least 5% CBD by weight.
Licensing requirements for CBD
There are no requirements or laws governing the production or sales of hemp-derived CBD with less than 0.3% THC. CBD is not approved by the FDA as a food or beverage additive or as an over-the-counter remedy for any condition. Suppliers need to adhere to federal guidelines and not make any false claims. Additional labeling guidelines can be found below in the section on CBD labels.
To possess hemp extract with 0.9% THC, patients and caregivers must submit a North Carolina Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act Caregiver Registration Application. This application can be filled out online or sent to the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS). The program is only open to patients suffering from intractable epilepsy.
North Carolina CBD possession limits
There’s no possession limit for CBD products in North Carolina or for medical patients with epilepsy who have registered with the state. Medical hemp extract must contain less than 0.9% THC and at least 5% CBD by weight.
Where to buy CBD in North Carolina
It is legal to purchase hemp-derived CBD online, as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC. The United States Postal Service (USPS) and private delivery services are permitted to mail hemp-derived CBD items to North Carolina addresses. There are a growing number of stores and retail outlets that carry hemp-derived CBD products in North Carolina, in addition to online retailers.
While medical hemp extract with 0.9% THC is legal in North Carolina, the state has made no provisions for legal sales, leaving patients and caregivers to seek products outside the state.
How to read CBD labels and packaging
CBD product labels contain important information for consumers, and those should be your most important resource when looking to buy CBD. To keep from running afoul of the FDA, CBD product labels should:
- Not be false or misleading
- Disclose identity statement (honest description of an organization/product), weight or volume of contents, name and place of business, distributor statement, material facts, warning or caution statements, and ingredients)
- Properly display label information
- Not violate the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970, which requires products to be packaged in child-resistant packaging
Where CBD is legal, consumers should seek out only products with the following information on the label:
- Amount of active CBD per serving
- Supplement Fact Panel, including other ingredients
- Net weight
- Manufacturer or distributor name
- Suggested use
- Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate
- Batch or date code
One of the most important things to pay attention to is whether a CBD product is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
One of the most important things to pay attention to is whether a CBD product is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate.
Full-spectrum means that the CBD has been extracted along with all other cannabinoids and terpenes, including whatever trace amounts of THC the plant may have produced. Consuming full-spectrum CBD may yield better results thanks to the entourage effect, a phenomenon in which the mixture of cannabinoids and terpenes work together to produce a more pleasant experience.
Broad-spectrum means that the product contains CBD and terpenes, but has undergone additional processes to strip out any THC.
Finally, isolate is a product that has gone through more intensive processing to remove all compounds except for CBD. Consuming isolate may produce different effects than full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD, as these products do not produce the entourage effect.
This page was last updated on November 30, 2020.
Is CBD oil legal in North Carolina? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is CBD? Why is CBD sometimes illegal? North Carolina CBD laws
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By now, most North Carolina residents know that CBD oil is legal in the state. But did you know that some of the other types of CBD products being sold in North Carolina are technically illegal? Also, did you know that anyone can apply for a license to grow their own hemp in North Carolina? If you’re planning on growing, processing, selling, or buying CBD oil and other CBD products in the state here are some tips and tricks for staying on the right side of North Carolina CBD laws.
Before we get into the nitty gritty on the rules and regulations that apply to hemp and CBD in North Carolina, let’s get clear on what exactly we’re talking about.
What, exactly, is CBD oil?
Real quick, we’ll try to get everyone up to speed. CBD is a compound produced in the cannabis plant. It stands for cannabidiol. CBD is just one of scores of similar compounds collectively known as cannabinoids. The most abundant cannabinoid found in cannabis is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, for short.
THC is the compound responsible for the intoxicating effects of marijuana. Marijuana specifically refers to the flower clusters (buds) of cultivars of cannabis that are bred specifically for medicinal and recreational use. Like THC, CBD also provides medicinal benefits. However, unlike THC, CBD does not cause a high.
Cultivars of cannabis that contain negligible amounts of THC are collectively known as hemp. There are two kinds of hemp. So-called industrial hemp — the kind used to make clothing and seeds — is very low in cannabinoids. However, marijuana breeders have developed strains that are high in CBD, but still produce less than 0.3 percent THC, and therefore fall under the legal definition of hemp. More importantly, they do not qualify as marijuana and therefore are not controlled by marijuana laws.
The flower clusters of some strains of CBD hemp produce as much as 20 percent CBD or higher. This makes the crop extremely valuable. That accounts for the meteoric rise in hemp production in North Carolina.
The evolution of North Carolina CBD laws
Retailers have been selling hemp-derived CBD oil in North Carolina since the feds semi-legalized hemp in 2014. But in 2015 the state officially legalized all hemp products. However, not one drop of hemp CBD oil was produced in the state for another few years.
Also in 2015, the state passed a medical marijuana law — albeit a weak one. The law allowed only certain patients with intractable epilepsy to use CBD oil with up to 0.9 percent THC — a negligible difference in THC levels from hemp CBD oil. Furthermore, the law did not say where medical marijuana patients were supposed to buy their medicine. Anyone who wished to purchase this product had to purchase it, essentially, illegally or buy it in a state where it’s legal and transport it into North Carolina, which is also illegal.
North Carolina’s first hemp pilot program actually kicked off In 2017 with the farming of fewer than 1,000 acres of hemp. The first harvest was actually a disaster. The Federal Drug Enforcement Agency refused to let any hemp seeds into the state. As a result, the state had to import live plants from Colorado and the 2017 harvest fell about 95 percent short of estimates.
In 2018, however, the number of hemp farmers in North Carolina increased tenfold. Before the year was out, there were more than 600 licensed hemp farmers growing 8,000 acres of hemp outdoors, plus a whopping 3.4 million square feet of indoor greenhouse space.
That same year, 2018, the federal government divorced hemp from the definition of marijuana and put the decision of whether or not to allow its cultivation into the hands of the states. This really kicked hemp production into high gear in North Carolina.
In 2019, North Carolina licensed nearly 1,000 hemp farmers and produced more than 11,572 acres of hemp and a staggering 4.5 million square feet of indoor hemp cultivation.
All seemed to be going well until a couple of wrenches got thrown into the works. First, law enforcement officials could not tell the difference between smokable hemp and marijuana. They look and smell the same. As a result, police and state attorneys called for a ban on smokable hemp in the state.
As of the time of writing it’s looking like lawmakers are, indeed, going to appease the police and outlaw the sale of smokable hemp. As a result, it’s getting harder and harder to find smokable hemp in the state. No one wants to be stuck with bud they can’t sell after the ban becomes effective.
Secondly, the US Food and Drug Agency declared that, although CBD is now legal, the use of CBD in food products and dietary supplements is still illegal. In 2019, the FDA sent warning letters to 15 companies adding CBD to food products. But, frankly, that has not stopped many shops from selling these products.
Today hundreds of North Carolina hemp processors are producing an array of hemp products including CBD oil and CBD isolate. Isolate is used to produce a variety of CBD-infused products such as CBD edibles, skin creams, vape oils and much more.
So now you have a basic understanding of what CBD oil is as well as the history of hemp laws it the state. Now let’s get into the details or North Carolina hemp CBD laws.
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