Cannabis & CBD in Wyoming – Are They Legal?
Welcome to the latest round of legislative meanderings concerning marijuana and CBD! Those familiar with the complexities of these laws are doubtless saying “not again” as they light a joint to relax their frayed nerves. Of course, only residents of 11 states plus Washington, D.C., can do this without an MMJ card. Even in some of those locations, recreational cannabis isn’t yet for sale!
Then there are the other 22 states that have medical marijuana programs. Again, a handful has yet to implement the program in any meaningful way. As for CBD, the rules surrounding it are the stuff of migraine headaches. Like cannabis itself, the compound, CBD, isn’t federally legal. However, hemp that contains CBD, is!
The 2018 Farm Bill led us to the current merry-go-round of confusion, consternation, and condemnation. You see, each state is allowed to make rules regarding cannabidiol. Few of them have provided any clarity whatsoever. We have a truly bizarre situation where marijuana is recreationally legal, but CBD is technically illegal in at least one state (we’re looking at you, California).
With CBD at the whims of state and even local lawmakers, things are getting messy. At Wayofleaf, we continue to delve into the cannabidiol labyrinth, in the hope we don’t run into the minotaur! Today, we take a look at Wyoming and see if cannabis and CBD are legal in that state. At least on this occasion, the rules are somewhat clear!
Does Wyoming Permit Marijuana?
In a nutshell, heck no! Wyoming has among the strictest anti-marijuana stances in the United States. There is disagreement over when the state first banned the plant. In the Pursuit of Oblivion: A Social History of Drugs, Richard Davenport-Hines suggests prohibition occurred in 1929. However, in The SAGE Encyclopedia of Pharmacology and Society, Sarah E Boslaugh writes that the ban happened in 1913.
Either way, Wyoming has remained firmly against cannabis ever since. In 2015, the Wyoming chapter of NORML gained signatures to get MMJ on the 2016 ballot. However, the state’s ballot initiative requirements are among the toughest in the nation. In the state’s House of Representatives, legislation to decriminalize marijuana has failed several times.
This is despite a 2014 poll showing that 72% of the population supported the use of marijuana if approved by a doctor. A survey from 2016 showed that MMJ support had increased to 81%. An even more recent poll put the percentage in favor at 86%! Alas, there was no movement in the state legislature when it adjourned its session in the first half of 2020.
At present, without decriminalization, there are strict penalties in play. Being caught ‘under the influence’ of cannabis is a misdemeanor in Wyoming! It comes with a potential jail term of six months. Possession of less than three ounces is also a misdemeanor but has a possible prison sentence of up to a year. Possession of over three ounces is a felony, and you could spend up to five years in jail. Sale of any amount is a more serious felony, and comes with a maximum sentence of ten years!
According to a 2018 ACLU report, African-Americans in Wyoming are 5.2 times more likely to get arrested for marijuana possession. This is despite a similar rate of usage.
What Is the Situation with CBD in Wyoming?
It is better news on the CBD front, though even that is only a recent development. For a very long time, the state of Wyoming resisted any attempts to legalize CBD for any reason. That changed in 2015 when a law took effect and allowed the use of CBD oil to treat seizures. At that point, you were not legally permitted to use it for any other reason. It was an incredibly narrow law with no in-state access.
At the time, you could only apply through the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH). You could use medical CBD after a doctor prescribed it to treat seizures caused by epilepsy. You needed to apply for a Hemp Extract Registration Card. It cost $150 and required annual renewal, just like MMJ cards in other states.
Even those with intractable epilepsy could only use CBD oil with a maximum THC content of 0.3%. It was also necessary to register with the Hemp Extract Registry!
Common Sense Prevails in Wyoming
The above was an awful lot of trouble to go to just to use CBD oil! After years of procrastination, the state legislature finally acted. On March 6, 2019, the state enacted HB0171. Republican Governor, Mark Gordon, signed it into law. It resulted in the end of the Hemp Extract Registry and changed the CBD industry in Wyoming for the better.
HB0171 made the Wyoming Department of Agriculture the rulemaking authority for the production and regulation of hemp. The bill came around three months after the American President signed the Farm Bill into law. After years of fighting against cannabidiol, the bill passed through with ease. The House voted 56-3 in favor, and the Senate also voted heavily in favor, 26-3.
What the act did was to remove hemp from the Wyoming Controlled Substances Act. Crucially, it also removed CBD. This is something that the Farm Bill did not do, and would frankly have alleviated a lot of confusion if it had.
Therefore, Wyoming residents can freely purchase CBD oil in their state, as long as it comes from hemp, and has less than 0.3% THC. However, please remember that the FDA maintains regulatory authority once hemp-derived CBD products are sold across state lines. If you use any marijuana product or anything with more than 0.3% THC, you are at risk of one of Wyoming’s strict penalties.
Does Wyoming Have an Industrial Hemp Program?
Yes. It is a significant part of HB0171. The Farm Bill permits industrial hemp cultivation throughout the United States. However, each state must submit a plan for approval. Wyoming did so in January 2020 and received good news within a few weeks. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the Wyoming hemp regulatory plan. It granted authority to the WDA to regulate the Wyoming hemp industry.
The next step for the WDA was to implement emergency rules, which will remain in place for 120 days. During this period, the WDA aims to go through the standard rule promulgation process. This includes a public comment period and a final rule. At the time, the WDA Director, Doug Miyamoto, said hemp was a new crop with the attached inherent risks.
In the meantime, Wyoming farmers have come together to learn more about hemp. The state certainly has advantageous climate conditions for the crop. Justin Loeffler is part of the GreenTree Ag LLC and believes the short growing season is a huge help. His company planted 11 varieties of hemp in Colorado on 60 acres of land. They selected an area of the state with similar climate conditions to Wyoming. It hopes to learn enough to help farmers combat the challenges they are sure to face.
A considerable majority of the hemp grown in the United States is for the CBD industry. It is potentially an enormous cash crop, and it is no surprise to learn that thousands of farmers want to try. However, there are also plenty of risks attached. Issues like cross-pollination, flooding, and pests can all damage a crop. Also, farmers that produce hemp with more than 0.3% THC will see their plants destroyed.
Final Thoughts on CBD and Cannabis Laws in Wyoming
The prohibition on marijuana in Wyoming has lasted for more than a century. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon. At present, it is one of 17 states with no MMJ program. With various attempts to bring an MMJ bill to the legislature failing, we fear it will be several years before Wyoming makes a serious effort at permitting cannabis. This is despite the overwhelming majority of state residents saying they support MMJ!
At least Wyoming now allows the sale, possession, and use of CBD. However, this process also took several years, and only came into effect in 2019. Residents can now use hemp-derived CBD with a maximum of 0.3% THC, without a doctor’s prescription. The Wyoming hemp industry will start in earnest this year. It is interesting to see how many farmers try to make the most out of this promising cash crop. Even if it doesn’t make the CBD market, there are a ton of other uses for hemp!
Cannabis and CBD laws are difficult to understand, and Wyoming is no exception. We aim to clear up some of the confusion in this quick guide.
Is CBD oil legal in Wyoming?
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- What is CBD?
- Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
- Wyoming CBD laws
- Where to buy CBD Oil in Wyoming
- How to read CBD labels and packaging
Yes. In Wyoming, cannabidiol (CBD) oil is legal to use and possess, as long as it’s only a hemp-derived product that contains less than .3% THC by weight. The state formerly had stricter laws regarding CBD use for medical patients, but these restrictions have since been loosened following the passage of a House Bill 171, which state lawmakers approved in March 2019. The measure removed hemp and hemp-derived CBD products from the Wyoming Controlled Substances Act.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released guidelines regarding regulations on how to treat and sell CBD products according to the Hemp Farming Act of 2018.
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.
Combine THC and CBD to fully employ the entourage effect.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating substance found in cannabis. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
Even though hemp strains don’t produce enough of the cannabinoid THC to cause intoxication, all types of cannabis, including hemp, were considered illegal under the 1970 Federal Controlled Substances Act. The legislation swept all 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.
The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 legalized hemp cultivation and created a pathway to remove some cannabis from Schedule I status by creating a legal threshold: Hemp is cannabis that contains less than .3% THC by weight, and marijuana is cannabis that contains more than .3% THC. Hemp-derived CBD products were thus descheduled by the bill, but CBD 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.
To meet federal legal criteria, CBD oil must contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The Farm Bill also gave the FDA the authority 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 marketed as dietary supplements. While the FDA has begun a process of reevaluating its stance on such CBD products, it has yet to revise its rules or specifically regulate CBD products. 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 thus still highly regulates the production and sale of hemp and hemp derivatives, including CBD. The 2018 Hemp Farming Bill also provides states with the ability to regulate and even prohibit CBD cultivation and commerce. In addition, states may attempt to regulate CBD food, beverage, dietary supplement, and cosmetic products, independently of the FDA finalizing its views on such products.
Wyoming CBD laws
In 2015, there was a strict medical process through the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) that allowed CBD to be prescribed to patients with severe epilepsy. People had to apply for a Hemp Extract Registration Card, which cost $150 and needed to be renewed annually.
The law permitted people in Wyoming to use medical CBD oil products that contain less than .3% of THC by weight and only to treat intractable epilepsy. The Hemp Extract Registry ceased operation following the passage of House Bill 171, the 2019 House Enrolled Act (HEA) 110.
Wyoming lawmakers worked on an amendment called House Bill 171 to match the federal classification of hemp and hemp-derived CBD laid out in the 2018 Farm Bill. As of March 6, 2019, the state enacted the measure, which was signed into law by Governor Mark Gordon, formally removing hemp and hemp-derived CBD from the Wyoming Controlled Substances Act.
In addition to catching up to the federal law on hemp, House Bill 171 opens up the world of farming and hemp production for the state. The law gives the Wyoming Department of Agriculture regulatory authority over hemp production. The House voted in favor 56-3 and the bill passed the Wyoming Senate with a 26-3 vote.
Wyoming lawmakers worked on an amendment called HB0171 to match the federal classification of hemp and hemp-derived CBD laid out in the 2018 Farm Bill. Photo by: Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The law also sets a framework for the state to work with tribal governments and pave the way for Native American farmers to access hemp production. The law also sets up a research process with the University of Wyoming to cultivate and find out more about hemp.
After Gordon signed House Bill 171, the state’s Department of Agriculture submitted its plan for rulemaking and regulating hemp to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), but it has yet to be approved.
Wyoming CBD possession limits
In the past, before Wyoming passed House Bill 171, it was a felony to sell, buy or possess CBD oil containing more than .3% of THC. However, the state seems to have eased up on its penalties for CBD possession as long as it follows the federal limit of .3% THC.
If found with CBD oil that contains more than .3% THC, individuals will face marijuana possession charges under the Wyoming Controlled Substances Act. Individuals found possessing less than .3 grams of liquid concentrate containing more than .3% THC face a misdemeanor charge with penalties of up to 12 months incarceration and a $1,000 fine. Possession of more than .3 grams of concentrated liquid with more than .3% THC is a felony with penalties of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Where to buy CBD Oil in Wyoming
More stores have been selling CBD oil in Wyoming since the law was amended in the state in March 2019. These include health stores, convenience stores, grocery stores, and CBD-specific retailers.
CBD oil is also legal and available for purchase online, but buyers must be certain that it contains less than the legal federal limit on THC. The United States Postal Service confirmed in June 2019 that it allows carriers to legally deliver hemp-derived CBD through the mail.
How to read CBD labels and packaging
As of September 2019, the FDA does not allow CBD-infused food, drinks, or dietary supplements to be sold, and hasn’t reached a conclusion on regulating hemp-derived CBD products. While the FDA slowly and cautiously approaches making new regulations for CBD products, the gap between regulated products and anything goes grows wider, leaving consumers at risk of buying poor-quality products. When buying CBD products look for these 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 if 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 if a CBD product is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate.
Full-spectrum means that the CBD has been extracted from a hemp plant along with all other chemicals in the plant, including terpenes and trace amounts of THC. Consuming full-spectrum CBD may yield better results due to a phenomenon known as the entourage effect, which happens when cannabis compounds work together to bolster the benefits of the plant.
Broad-spectrum means that the product contains CBD and terpenes, but has undergone additional processes to strip out THC.
Finally, CBD isolate is a product that has gone through more intensive processing to remove everything but CBD. Consuming isolate may produce different effects than full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD, as these products do not produce the entourage effect. However, CBD isolate may be preferable for someone looking to avoid even trace amounts of THC.
Is CBD oil legal in Wyoming? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is CBD? Why is CBD sometimes illegal? Wyoming CBD laws Where to