Even as we witness the unrelenting growth of the hemp and cannabis markets across the U.S., most legal aspects of the industry continue to be shrouded in veritable shades of gray. Federal lawmakers remain stubborn in removing cannabidiol (CBD) from the DEA’s list of Controlled Substances, even though the compound has recently been approved by the FDA to treat two rare forms of epilepsy.
For consumers and retailers alike, this stubbornness has (to put it mildly) proven to be quite a thorn in the side. Regardless, dozens of hemp extract companies across the U.S. continue to cultivate, process, and manufacture low-THC CBD oils, most of which are sold online and routinely shipped to all 50 states.
Of course, this begs the question: is it legal to mail CBD oil?
The manufacturers would have you believe that yes, it is indeed perfectly legal to mail CBD oil throughout the USA with no limitations, and indeed most brands openly advertise as much on their websites. As you’ll soon see, however, the exact legalities of the issue are a little more complicated than this.
In this article, we do our best to get to the bottom of whether or not it is in fact legal to mail CBD oil – whether you’re a private retail company or just a regular old joe trying to mail a bottle of infused hemp oil to your sister-in-law.
First Things First: Understanding the Laws
To be clear, there is nothing explicitly in the federal government’s legislation that states it is legal to mail CBD oil across state lines, or even within state lines. And for that matter, there is nothing that even states CBD is 100% legal – a fact that most brands would have you believe otherwise.
This is of course contradictory to what dozens of CBD companies are claiming on their websites. That is, most are saying that their products are 100% legal to buy and ship in all 50 U.S. states.
If you dig a little deeper, you’ll see that their basis for making such claims stem from the approval of Barack Obama’s 2014 U.S. Farm Bill – an Act that legalizes the cultivation and commercial sale of hemp and hemp extract (including CBD oil) as long as it is grown under a government pilot program for academic or research purposes.
And to be fair, there are several high-quality companies (mostly in Colorado, Oregon, and Kentucky) that are operating 100% legally and selling/mailing their CBD oils as part of a pilot research program.
However, there are likely dozens more companies that are not operating under a pilot program, yet are freely selling and shipping their CBD oils nationwide and claiming 100% legality.
According to strict legislative language, it is not in fact legal to mail CBD oil across the US, or even to a different town in the same state. By federal definition (which falls under the scope of the Controlled Substances Act), CBD is a component of the Cannabis sativa plant, and therefore is an illicit Schedule I substance.
It would be, then, hypothetically possible for a “federal authority” to seize a mailed package of CBD oil on the grounds that it is considered felony drug trafficking. But is this realistic?
Not at all.
In fact, the DEA has outwardly come out and said via a recently published statement that “while CBD currently is still Schedule 1, with our limited resources [it] has not been our highest priority … It is not a priority like opioids or synthetic [drugs] which are killing people.”
Moreover, DEA spokesperson Rusty Payne has reiterated the same sentiment in a recent Vice News article, saying: “Does [the fact that CBD is a Controlled Substance] mean we’re going to come in and search warrant your house? No, we’ve got bigger fish to fry. We are in the midst of an opioid epidemic. I think people think [CBD] is high on the priority list right now. It is not.”
| “I think people think [CBD] is high on [the DEA’s] priority list right now. It is not.”
-DEA Spokesperson Rusty Payne
As you can see, while it is from a technical standpoint illegal to mail CBD oil, it hardly seems to be an issue that is being enforced. Case in point, dozens of firms across the U.S. are selling and shipping thousands of bottles of CBD oil every single day, and we have yet to hear of a single instance where a company (or individual) has been arrested on federal charges.
So bottom line, is it legal to mail CBD oil? Not exactly — but that certainly doesn’t mean people aren’t doing it.
When Mailing CBD Oil, Know that there’s a BIG Difference Between CBD and Other Cannabis Products
Granted, mailing CBD oil that’s derived from hemp and mailing other cannabis-based products are two very, very different things.
Basically, what it all comes down to is the source of the CBD product. As we mentioned earlier there are essentially two different “types” of CBD oil: oils that are derived from industrial hemp and oils that are derived from high-THC cannabis.
High-THC cannabis CBD oils, like the ones you would get from a licensed medical dispensary, are NOT legal to mail. And of course neither are hemp-based CBD oils, but as we said it’s apparent that the DEA is more or less turning a blind eye to products extracted from industrial hemp.
Is it Legal to Mail CBD Oil: Final Thoughts
If you’re wanting to know the official “right” answer to the question ‘is it legal to mail CBD oil,’ then the answer is no; there is nothing (in either federal or state law) that explicitly says you can package up a bottle hemp CBD oil and mail it to your buddy across state lines.
That said, it is clear that hemp-derived CBD oil with less than 0.3% THC is of little concern to federal authorities – even if it remains a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. While there’s a slim-to-none chance of getting your package confiscated (or worse, getting arrested), for mailing CBD oil in the United States, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility. This is best exemplified by the fact that companies are shipping thousands of bottles of hemp-derived CBD to all 50 states, with seemingly no legal repercussions.
Hopefully, as more and more people become educated as to the therapeutic potential of cannabis – and in regard to the fact that hemp oil does not cause a high – we won’t have to bother ourselves with silly questions like ‘is it legal to mail CBD oil.’ Until then, it appears that things will remain in a hazy state of legal confusion.