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Is CBD oil legal in New York?

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Contents

  1. What is CBD?
  2. Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
  3. New York CBD laws
  4. Where to buy CBD in New York
  5. How to read CBD labels and packaging

CBD derived from hemp is available in New York, but is subject to strict regulations. The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets does not allow the addition of CBD to foods or beverages. CBD is, however, allowed to be manufactured and sold as a dietary supplement provided it makes no therapeutic claims. Hemp-derived CBD is also in New York legal when sold as a lotion, salve, or balm.

A comprehensive regulatory framework surrounding the licensing, manufacturing, sale and use of hemp and CBD was approved by the New York State Legislature in June 2019 and is currently awaiting signing from Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Only individuals who hold a valid New York State Medical Marijuana Program card can legally access CBD derived from cannabis. Medical cannabis has been legal in New York since 2014. Cannabis remains illegal for adult use in New York, although marijuana possession was decriminalized to an extent in August 2019. Penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana have been reduced, and those with existing possession convictions may have their convictions expunged.

What is CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating substance found in cannabis. CBD is the second-most prominent cannabinoid in cannabis after THC, which has an intoxicating or psychoactive effect. CBD can be sourced from marijuana or hemp plants and has a wide range of purported therapeutic benefits, such as reducing pain, inflammation, and anxiety, and suppressing seizures. Since the cannabinoid has gained considerable attention for its therapeutic properties, more high CBD strains have recently been cultivated.

CBD stands for cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating substance found in cannabis. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Why is CBD sometimes illegal?

All types of cannabis, including hemp strains that don’t produce enough THC to cause intoxication, were considered illegal under the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The law categorized all cannabis as Schedule 1, which defined the plant as a highly addictive substance with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.

The 2018 Farm Bill re-classified hemp as an agricultural commodity and made its cultivation federally legal. Further, the act removed some forms of cannabis from Schedule 1 status by creating a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana. Hemp is cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, and marijuana refers to cannabis with more than 0.3% THC. This distinction in federal law effectively legalized CBD that is derived from cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, as long as it has been cultivated according to federal and state regulations.

The 2018 Farm Bill legislation does not mean that CBD derived from hemp is universally legal throughout the United States. According to the Farm Bill, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the power to regulate CBD product labeling, including therapeutic claims and the use of CBD as a food additive. The FDA has already maintained that even hemp-derived CBD may not legally be added to food and beverages, or marketed as a dietary supplement. Although the organization has begun to re-evaluate some of these stances on legal CBD products, the FDA has not revised its regulations. The agency also has been strict in its position against any labeling that could be perceived as a medical claim about CBD.

In addition to federal regulation of CBD, the Farm Bill also gave states the option to regulate and prohibit the cultivation and commerce of CBD. States may also regulate CBD in food, beverages, dietary supplements, and cosmetic products independently, even before the FDA finalizes its policies. New York is an example of a state that has devised its own regulatory framework for CBD, embracing some FDA directives while eschewing others.

New York CBD laws

In June 2019, the New York State Senate passed legislation which provides a comprehensive regulatory framework for hemp and CBD. Bill S6184A, also known as the Hemp Bill, will become enacted in thirty days once it has been signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Some more controversial aspects of the bill may be contested, however, which could delay its enactment.

Notable amendments in the June 2019 Hemp Bill include:

  • The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets are granted authority to regulate the production, processing, packaging, and labeling of hemp extract products sold in New York State.
  • Retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers selling cannabis products derived from hemp must apply for a cannabinoid permit.
  • The sale of beverages containing 20 milligrams of CBD per 12 ounces is permitted, but only if the hemp extract was grown, extracted, and manufactured in the state of New York.
  • The sale of out-of-state hemp extract intended for human and animal consumption is prohibited, unless it meets New York standards and regulations, which will be promulgated in the future.
  • All hemp extracts must be packaged and labeled according to New York Department of Agriculture and Markets standards and display a Supplement Fact panel where applicable, along with a QR code setting forth other relevant information. No product may advertise any therapeutic claims.

There is currently a lack of concrete regulations in New York while the Hemp Bill is awaiting approval from Governor Andrew Cuomo. At present, the New York State Departments of Health and Agriculture are implementing a catch-all enforcement strategy to prevent unlawful CBD products from being sold.

There is currently a lack of concrete regulations in New York while the Hemp Bill is awaiting approval from Governor Andrew Cuomo. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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CBD-infused food and beverages are prohibited in New York. Penalties for the sale of CBD-infused food and beverages include voluntary removal, seizure, or destruction of the product, a fine, and failing a health inspection. CBD-laced oils, lotions, salves, and other topical applications are legal for all. CBD oils and tinctures are also legal, but products cannot make therapeutic claims.

Licensing requirements for CBD

Presently, the only legitimate way to grow hemp in New York is by participating in the New York Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program. Those interested must apply to the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, which costs $500. Approved applicants receive a Research Partner Agreement.

Licensing for hemp growers, manufacturers, extractors, and retailers will change under the 2019 Hemp Bill. The bill is yet to be enacted, but provides specific guidelines for growers, manufacturers, and extractors of industrial hemp. All applicants will have background checks performed to confirm they are of good moral character, and possess sufficient experience and competence to farm hemp.

Applicants must first obtain a license through the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets. The license for cannabinoid extractors is the most comprehensive. Licenses will be renewed biannually, and licensed premises will be subject to random inspections.

Manufacturers and growers must contract with an independent laboratory approved by the commissioner for routine testing. The reports from testing must be made available to the Department.

New York CBD possession limits

There are currently no possession limits for hemp-derived CBD products in New York.

There are currently no possession limits for hemp-derived CBD products in New York. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Medical marijuana patients can legally possess a thirty-day supply of non-smokeable, non-edible, cannabis-derived CBD products.

Although cannabis was decriminalized to an extent in New York in August 2019, those who are found in possession of cannabis-derived CBD products may be subject to penalties.

Where to buy CBD in New York

CBD balms, salves, lotions, and tinctures can be purchased from small pharmacists, specialty stores, CBD storefronts, and vape stores. Food and beverage retailers may offer CBD products, but they are not legal.

CBD derived from marijuana is only available from a licensed dispensary.

Shopping online for CBD represents another option for purchase. Consumers can buy from a wide variety of online outlets for CBD products, read consumer reviews, and ship purchases to their homes.

Online shopping also offers the ability to gather detailed information about each product, compare different products and product types, and comparison shop for the best price. CBD brands often also have their own e-commerce shop, allowing you to purchase your desired CBD products straight from the source. Find out more about where to purchase CBD.

How to read CBD labels and packaging

The 2018 Farm Bill shifted the oversight of hemp and hemp-derived products from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA currently does not presently allow CBD-infused food, drinks, or dietary supplements to be sold, and hasn’t yet provided regulations for hemp-derived CBD products.

Still, the agency warns that regulations in flux still require companies to make legitimate claims on their labels. Buyers should nonetheless approach CBD products with caution. Most reputable CBD producers typically include the following information on their CBD product labels:

  • 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.

Is CBD oil legal in New York? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is CBD? Why is CBD sometimes illegal? New York CBD laws Where to

New York’s Long-Awaited CBD Regulations Are Here

Already, advocates and lawmakers have raised concerns about the exclusion of “CBD flower.”

Published on Oct 28, 2020 6:55AM EDT New York

Co-founder of Cannabis Wire.

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The push to better regulate hemp and CBD products in New York began more than one year ago, and it began with Assembly member Donna Lupardo.

As hemp production boomed upstate and unregulated CBD products hit shelves across New York City, from cafes to smoke shops to standalone CBD retailers, the Broome County lawmaker told Cannabis Wire at the time that she had introduced legislation to regulate these products because “we have to do something.”

In December, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill, sponsored in the Senate by Senator Jen Metzger, to establish regulations for the production and sale of hemp and hemp extracts in the state. This week, nearly one year later, the New York State Department of Health released those regulations, which were expected in mid-July, but delayed, like many things, by COVID-19. The regulations will land on the NYS Register on November 10, and the public comment window will be open until early January.

“These regulations are the next step toward regulating the growing hemp industry in New York in a way that protects consumers and helps ensure the industry’s long-term viability,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement Wednesday. “Establishing the State’s Cannabinoid Hemp Program to regulate production and sale of hemp and hemp extract will help protect both consumers and farmers.”

Lupardo told Cannabis Wire on Wednesday that, when she first saw the hemp regulations to establish the state’s Cannabinoid Hemp Program, “it was just a real feeling of relief that we finally had a document that we were going to be able to to look at, with a date, certain that we knew that it would go to the register in early November.”

Lupardo added that there wasn’t anything in the regs that she wasn’t expecting “except the ban on the sale of flower.”

“That was definitely not something I expected to see. Our businesses who have been operating in the hemp industry, they’ve already been selling this. They’ve already been manufacturing and processing this. Many, many consumers have already been using this. The goal was to bring them out of the gray area, because it was unclear from the prior rules and regulations what the official position was on flower,” Lupardo said.

Lupardo foreshadowed a potential regulatory wrinkle: Cuomo is expected to again add legalization to his budget in January, and lawmakers in New York are likely to face more pressure to get legalization over the finish line, as New Jersey voters are expected to legalize next week. After New York lawmakers legalize cannabis, the hemp, medical cannabis, and adult use cannabis programs would all be regulated under the same umbrella, the Office of Cannabis Management. While New York’s medical program bans flower, no adult use cannabis program has made such a move, so how will New York regulate flower?

“Obviously, when we put all those three together, we’re going to have to allow smokeable products in all three areas. So it’s going to become consistent at some point,” Lupardo told Cannabis Wire.

As Cannabis Wire has reported, states are divided on smokable hemp, with some lawmakers embracing the trend and others moving to ban it.

Allan Gandelman, president of the New York State Cannabis Growers and Processors Association, told Cannabis Wire that both the timing of the release of the regulations—just after harvest season—as well as the exclusion of hemp flower, have dealt a major blow to New York’s hemp farmers.

“Most small farmers are really upset because the only product they could actually sell in this market is flower. And at the last minute, they took flower out of the regulations and are not allowing it to be sold,” Gandelman said.

Specifically, the hemp flower market is important to New York’s hemp farmers because of the existing hemp surplus from last year, so it “doesn’t make sense” for small farmers to put their energy elsewhere.

“What small farmers are very good at is producing a high quality craft flower. That is, at a small scale, is what is economically feasible,” Gandelman said.

So why was hemp flower excluded? Gandelman said he’s not 100% sure, but that he was told that, because flower isn’t allowed in the state’s medical program, it could create unfairness if the hemp regulations allowed flower.

These regulations come as businesses across the country eagerly await word from the Food and Drug Administration about CBD products. The 2018 Farm Bill removed cannabis plants with .3% THC or less, also known as hemp, from the Controlled Substances Act, catalyzing the hemp industry nationwide. While the USDA has been tasked with regulating hemp production, the FDA has spent months holding public hearings and accepting public comment as it decides which non-pharmaceutical products can contain CBD, and how much.

That a state with the population and influence of New York is poised to green-light CBD in food and drink, in vapes, in cosmetics, and in supplements, could encourage other states to do the same.

Gandelman said the inclusion of CBD in food was “amazing,” adding that NYCGPA “fought for that for two years,” though it’s unclear what specific shape this section of the market will take, because it’s not been allowed before.

After a flurry of growth in 2019, the state’s hemp industry has been in a limbo in 2020, in part due to the delayed regulations. (Another factor was uncertainty over the future of the state’s hemp program, which was expected to transition from 2014 Farm Bill regulations to 2018 Farm Bill regulations this month, but states were granted a one year extension.) Gandelman told Cannabis Wire that the “uncertainty” created by the delay has prevented the hemp industry from really taking off.

“People have not made investments in any sort of real infrastructure in terms of processing and manufacturing in New York until there was a clear path to market,” Gandelman said.

Lupardo told Cannabis Wire in June that she communicated to Cuomo that the state has an entire industry of growers, processors, manufacturers, and retailers who were “anxiously waiting” for the rules to be released.

“We have a whole industry on pause. And it has been exacerbated by the surplus that was grown last year,” Lupardo said, adding that the surplus adds an “urgency” to the situation.

Over the past year, the state has made efforts to accommodate the booming hemp industry. The New York State Departments of Health and Agriculture and Markets announced last November, for example, that the state’s medical cannabis license holders will be able to use hemp and hemp extracts produced under the state’s Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program to “produce cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids for approved medical marijuana products.” As Cannabis Wire reported, agriculture commissioner Richard Ball said this move gives hemp farmers “another market for their products.”

“It’s kind of a perfect storm, in terms of COVID and then also the lack of regulations and oversupply of hemp on the market, both in New York state and nationally,” Gandelman told Cannabis Wire in June. “Some farmers have decided not to grow hemp this year. And some farmers have decided to scale back, which is very different from 2019, when people were scaling up their operations and growing a lot of acres across the state.”

One of those companies that scaled back is Canopy Growth, one of the world’s highest-valued cannabis companies, which had unveiled a hemp park in upstate New York last year. This April, the company announced that it would halt growing in New York, “due to an abundance of hemp produced in the 2019 growing season,” and would instead use existing supply to “produce hemp-derived CBD products for the US market.”

Lupardo told Cannabis Wire that she’s had “a number of conversations with them recently.”

“They tell me they’ve been waiting for these regs to come out so they could decide what they are going to manufacture in the plant that they’re developing in my community. The plant was put on hold because they didn’t know what they were going to be making up there. So this will prompt them to figure out what kind of product lines they’re going to put out there,” Lupardo said.

Public comment will be open until January 11.

“This is the opportunity for all interested parties to respond. And they will. And I expect the issue of the ban on flower to be loudly, loudly discussed,” Lupardo said.

Editor’s note: this story was updated on October 28 to include comments from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assembly member Donna Lupardo, and Allan Gandelman with NYCGPA.

Already, advocates and lawmakers have raised concerns about the exclusion of “CBD flower.”