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
Cannabis confusion pushes states to ban smokable hemp
January 15, 2020 by Pew Trusts
Cannabis confusion pushes states to ban smokable hemp – North Carolina Health News
By Sophie Quinton
Hemp plants can be made into anything from rope and insulation to granola. But today, most U.S. hemp farmers are growing hemp to produce cannabinoids, such as CBD — which means they’re growing plants that look like marijuana, smell like marijuana and, increasingly, are rolled into joints and smoked like marijuana.
People smoke marijuana to feel high, but they smoke hemp — a non-psychoactive form of cannabis — to ingest cannabinoids users say ease aches, pains and stress.
Now some state lawmakers, alarmed by how difficult it is for law enforcement officers to tell the difference between hemp bud or joints and illegal pot products, are cracking down on smokable hemp.
” data-medium-file=”https://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/HempSoap_AtRaleighFleaMarket-280×210.jpg” data-large-file=”https://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/HempSoap_AtRaleighFleaMarket-450×338.jpg” > cannabinoid, cannabinadiol,
” data-medium-file=”https://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/HempSoap_AtRaleighFleaMarket-280×210.jpg” data-large-file=”https://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/HempSoap_AtRaleighFleaMarket-450×338.jpg” alt=”display showing soap made with what is likely smokable hemp” height=”599″ width=”798″ srcset=”https://1lbxcx1bcuig1rfxaq3rd6w9-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/HempSoap_AtRaleighFleaMarket.jpg 2016w, https://1lbxcx1bcuig1rfxaq3rd6w9-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/HempSoap_AtRaleighFleaMarket-280×210.jpg 280w, https://1lbxcx1bcuig1rfxaq3rd6w9-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/HempSoap_AtRaleighFleaMarket-450×338.jpg 450w, https://1lbxcx1bcuig1rfxaq3rd6w9-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/HempSoap_AtRaleighFleaMarket-150×113.jpg 150w, https://1lbxcx1bcuig1rfxaq3rd6w9-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/HempSoap_AtRaleighFleaMarket-768×576.jpg 768w, https://1lbxcx1bcuig1rfxaq3rd6w9-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/HempSoap_AtRaleighFleaMarket-1536×1152.jpg 1536w, https://1lbxcx1bcuig1rfxaq3rd6w9-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/HempSoap_AtRaleighFleaMarket-600×450.jpg 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 798px) 100vw, 798px”>
Hand-made soap for sale at a Raleigh flea market. Hemp is now found in multiple products, from candies to body care products to foods. Photo credit: Rose Hoban
Louisiana and Indiana banned smokable hemp sales in 2019, and Texas banned smokable hemp manufacturing. Kentucky banned sales of hemp cigarettes, cigars, whole hemp buds and ground flowers in 2018. And a battle over whether to allow sales of dried hemp flower, pre-rolled hemp joints, hemp cigarettes and other smokable products has stalled a North Carolina bill that would regulate hemp production and sales in the state.
“My philosophy right now is, we are actually legalizing recreational marijuana if we don’t listen to our law enforcement and do something about this,” said North Carolina state Rep. Pat McElraft, a Republican and deputy House majority whip.
The rise of hemp products so similar to marijuana has caught some lawmakers by surprise. Nobody talked about smoking hemp or said police couldn’t tell the difference between hemp and marijuana when North Carolina created a hemp pilot program in 2015, McElraft said.
Farmers and hemp businesses are fighting the bans, arguing that they violate federal law and hurt a nascent industry. The 2018 farm bill legalized hemp sales and defined hemp as any part of Cannabis sativa L. with a tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, concentration of 0.3% or lower.
“If the North Carolina legislature wants to waste its time attempting to ban a smokable hemp — OK,” said Bob Crumley, founder and CEO of North Carolina-based hemp company Founder’s Hemp and a lawyer who has advised policymakers on hemp issues. “It’s not going to survive a court challenge.”
Besides, the market for smokable flower — the most pristine, cannabinoid-rich plants — is the most lucrative many hemp farmers, retailers and distributors can access.
That includes Indiana businesses, said Justin Swanson, president of the Midwest Hemp Council, an Indianapolis-based industry group that supports smokable hemp.
“The bill Indiana ended up passing was like essentially telling a cattle farmer, ‘Hey, you can sell beef, but you can’t sell steak,’” he said.
Hemp, or marijuana?
Nationally, people spend more money on hemp CBD oil than on smokable flower. The biggest CBD product category — tinctures — hit about $1 billion in sales in 2019, said Virginia Lee, CBD research manager at the Brightfield Group, a cannabis market research firm based in Chicago.
By contrast, an estimated $70.6 million of hemp CBD pre-roll and raw flower were sold in the United States in 2019, Lee said. But, she said, those sales are growing.
People buying smokable products aren’t the stoner set associated with weed, Crumley said. “This product, smokable hemp, in my stores is being used by everyone from soccer moms, who want to have anxiety or stress release but not get high, to cancer patients,” he said.
” data-medium-file=”https://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Hemp_inPharmacy-225×300.jpg” data-large-file=”https://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Hemp_inPharmacy-338×450.jpg” > cannabinoid, cannabinadiol
” data-medium-file=”https://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Hemp_inPharmacy-225×300.jpg” data-large-file=”https://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Hemp_inPharmacy-338×450.jpg” alt=”a display of hemp-based pain relief and other health aids in a pharmacy” height=”450″ width=”338″ srcset=”https://1lbxcx1bcuig1rfxaq3rd6w9-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Hemp_inPharmacy-338×450.jpg 338w, https://1lbxcx1bcuig1rfxaq3rd6w9-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Hemp_inPharmacy-225×300.jpg 225w, https://1lbxcx1bcuig1rfxaq3rd6w9-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Hemp_inPharmacy-113×150.jpg 113w, https://1lbxcx1bcuig1rfxaq3rd6w9-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Hemp_inPharmacy-768×1024.jpg 768w, https://1lbxcx1bcuig1rfxaq3rd6w9-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Hemp_inPharmacy-1152×1536.jpg 1152w, https://1lbxcx1bcuig1rfxaq3rd6w9-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Hemp_inPharmacy-rotated.jpg 1512w” sizes=”(max-width: 338px) 100vw, 338px”>
A display of hemp-based products in a pharmacy. Even as lawmakers debate whether to allow the cultivation and sale of hemp in North Carolina, the market is moving forward with selling thousands of products containing hemp. Photo credit: Rose Hoban
Some consumers prefer to smoke hemp flower rather than ingest hemp oil because smoking delivers cannabinoids straight to the bloodstream, Swanson of the Midwest Hemp Council said. Others smoke because they don’t have to worry about toxic additives or mislabeling with dried buds.
“I’ve had a lot of people tell me they’re a lot more comfortable using this way,” he said.
For hemp farmers, plants high-quality enough to sell with minimal processing can be a big moneymaker. CBD smokable flower last month was selling for between $150 and $350 a pound, said Ian Laird, CFO and general counsel of New Leaf Data Services, a Stamford, Connecticut-based market research firm that tracks cannabis prices. That’s more than hemp biomass for making CBD oil.
“You’re talking about a huge, huge opportunity for farmers,” Swanson said.
Yet smokable products make some policymakers wary. Concerns about the health dangers of smoking and vaping CBD, along with fears that hemp could, in fact, be psychoactive, play a role in lawmakers’ decisions to ban smokable products, said Jonathan Miller, general counsel for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, a Lexington, Kentucky-based industry group.
“There’s some concern that hemp pre-rolls are Woodstock-era marijuana — what marijuana used to be 30, 40 years ago,” he said. A level of about 1% THC is considered the threshold for cannabis to have a psychotropic effect, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.
But pushback against the sale of smokable hemp products from police departments, state law enforcement agencies and district attorneys has dominated the debate in states such as North Carolina.
“It’s a flowering product that looks like marijuana, smells like marijuana, and unless you go to a specific lab for testing, you can’t tell the difference,” said Peg Dorer, director of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys.
The North Carolina state crime lab doesn’t have testing equipment sensitive enough to gauge the amount of THC in a cannabis sample, Dorer said. “In order to test it, they would need to send it to a private lab, and that is expensive, and we don’t have the budget for that kind of thing.”
Law enforcement officers in the state worry that the proliferation of smokable hemp will make it impossible for them to search a person or property for marijuana based on the smell of weed, said Roxboro Police Department Chief David Hess, first vice president of the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police.
” data-medium-file=”https://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Simons_HEMP-280×210.jpg” data-large-file=”https://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Simons_HEMP-450×338.jpg” > marijuana, CBD,
” data-medium-file=”https://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Simons_HEMP-280×210.jpg” data-large-file=”https://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Simons_HEMP-450×338.jpg” alt=”older man and a younger man, they have their arms around each other’s shoulders and look at the camera” height=”599″ width=”798″ srcset=”https://1lbxcx1bcuig1rfxaq3rd6w9-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Simons_HEMP.jpg 2016w, https://1lbxcx1bcuig1rfxaq3rd6w9-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Simons_HEMP-280×210.jpg 280w, https://1lbxcx1bcuig1rfxaq3rd6w9-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Simons_HEMP-768×576.jpg 768w, https://1lbxcx1bcuig1rfxaq3rd6w9-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Simons_HEMP-450×338.jpg 450w, https://1lbxcx1bcuig1rfxaq3rd6w9-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Simons_HEMP-600×450.jpg 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 798px) 100vw, 798px”>
Marc Simon and his son, came to the legislature in May to advocate for continued hemp cultivation. They have a farm and hemp store in Winston-Salem. Photo credit: Rose Hoban
The current version of the North Carolina Farm Act, to be taken up by lawmakers again this year, defines smokable hemp as “harvested raw or dried hemp plant material, including hemp buds or hemp flowers, hemp cigars, and hemp cigarettes” and classifies it as a form of marijuana.
The legislation does allow licensed hemp producers to grow and process smokable hemp, as long as they don’t sell it within state borders. “You could still sell it outside of North Carolina,” Dorer said. “That was our compromise.”
Republican state Sen. Brent Jackson, a farmer, said in an email to Stateline that he remains hopeful lawmakers will sign off on his bill that would allow smokable hemp sales. “The Federal Farm Bill of 2018 made it very clear that all hemp shall be legal,” he said, “and it is my intention to support the hemp growers, processors, and retailers as they move this new industry forward.”
Farmers fight back
Hemp industry groups, meanwhile, are fighting the smokable hemp bans.
“We don’t want to start our state program with a ban in place on any part of the plant that’s compliant,” said Blake Butler, executive director of the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Association. “Even though it’s being smoked, it’s still an agricultural commodity.”
Butler’s looking to Indiana, where last fall the Midwest Hemp Council and seven hemp businesses won a preliminary injunction against a 2019 Indiana law that defined “smokable hemp” as hemp products that allow THC “to be introduced into the human body by inhalation of smoke” and made manufacturing, delivering or selling smokable products a misdemeanor.
In their suit against the state, the hemp businesses argued that the law’s smokable hemp provisions violate the 2018 farm bill and would seriously harm them and their businesses. The state Attorney General’s office argued that Indiana’s law complies with the farm bill and protects the public.
“Permitting smokable hemp to be produced or possessed in Indiana would present significant obstacles to the ability of law enforcement to enforce Indiana’s laws against marijuana,” it argued.
U.S. District Senior Judge Sarah Evans Barker of the Southern District of Indiana sided with the hemp industry. “The fact that local law enforcement may need to adjust tactics and training in response to changes in federal law is not a sufficient basis for enacting unconstitutional legislation,” she ruled in September.
The Indiana Attorney General’s office is appealing the decision.
Although the court fight is far from over, the Barker ruling should give lawmakers pause, said Rod Kight, a cannabis attorney based in Asheville, North Carolina. “I think it’s a very strong signal to state legislatures that they can’t get in the way of hemp that’s now federally legal,” he said. “They can’t stop a whole piece of the hemp industry from going into effect and thriving.”
hemp, CBD, rural health, farmers, marijuana, THC
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The NC Department of Agriculture is vetting a test that would determine the amount of THC in a substance. Screenshot courtesy of CBD QuickTest
If North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, does sign a law banning smokable hemp sales, Butler said his group will take legal action.
But he’s hopeful that hemp businesses and law enforcement groups can team up to solve the problem of policing smokable products. “We respect law enforcement,” Butler said, “and we need to work together.”
A proposed bill in Tennessee could be one way to neutralize police opposition, he said. It would extend the 6.6% excise tax on smokeless tobacco products to hemp products people either smoke or consume like snuff and chewing tobacco.
Money raised by the tax could help law enforcement groups buy roadside THC testing equipment and fund other hemp industry priorities such as research and development, said Joe Kirkpatrick, president and chief lobbyist of the Tennessee Growers Coalition, a hemp advocacy group based in Nashville.
A 2019 Tennessee law prohibits the sale of smokable hemp products to minors. Kirkpatrick said lawmakers’ approach to regulating such products has been influenced by their desire to help farmers, particularly tobacco farmers grappling with falling sales.
“Farmers really need an alternative specialty crop,” Kirkpatrick said. Smokable hemp, he said, isn’t known to be carcinogenic or addictive and might just be the next tobacco. “It would be much better than the vape poisons that [tobacco companies are] pushing on the youth,” he said of hemp.
One big legislative question is what to do about smokable hemp, which some N.C. law enforcement worry looks too much like marijuana.