The 2018 Farm Bill has had a significant impact on the legal status of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis. Despite popular belief, the Farm Bill does not legalize CBD in general. However, it does remove hemp-derived products from their Schedule I status under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that hemp producers and companies that trade hemp and hemp-derived products, such as CBD, are now free to develop their businesses more aggressively and with less concern that a radical change in enforcement priorities could result in their investigation or prosecution by federal government authorities. It is important to note that the Farm Bill has no effect on state legal marijuana programs.
Each of the state-sanctioned cannabis programs remains illegal under federal law, and the Farm Bill does nothing to change that. The regulations applied by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) present additional legal and non-criminal issues with respect to the sale of hemp-derived CBD products. Even CBD products produced by state cannabis programs that are legal, medical or used for adults are illegal products under federal law, both within states and across state boundaries. Companies involved in the hemp industry must comply with state and federal regulations related to the legalization of hemp, and companies that sell CBD (including food and beverages) must stay away from aggressive health-related marketing as it can generate unwanted attention from the FDA. Additionally, they must carefully analyze other health and food regulatory issues involved in FDA oversight. The 2018 Farm Bill has been a major step forward for the hemp industry, allowing companies to develop their businesses more aggressively without fear of federal prosecution.
However, it is important to remember that CBD is still illegal at the federal level if it comes from marijuana, which already has more than 0.3 percent THC. In other words, if CBD or any other cannabinoid comes from a cannabis plant that has more than 0.3 percent THC or was not cultivated in the manner prescribed in the Agricultural Act, it is still a Schedule I substance in the eyes of federal law and, therefore, illegal.