Is CBD Even Legal Where You Live?

This state-by-state guide will tell you.

Though CBD oil made from industrial hemp—that is, oil with 0.3 percent or less of the psychoactive compound THC—may be federally legal now, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to make or find throughout the country. In fact, all 50 states and Washington, D.C., have different laws on the books, and different paths to changing them. As a result, it’s perfectly reasonable to worry whether the tincture you bought at the health food store is actually contraband.

Is CBD Even Legal Where You Live?

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Unless a person lives in one of the ten states and D.C. where marijuana is broadly legal (medicinally and recreationally), there’s a chance local authorities will treat CBD like the demon weed of Reefer Madness, rather than a promising (albeit not FDA-approved) health supplement. But the patchwork nature of each state’s regulations shouldn’t cause a migraine. Public support for legal cannabis has been increasing for years, and CBD’s high profile and federal legality makes prosecution less likely.

Is CBD Even Legal Where You Live?

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Even so, the legal situation is hazy enough that it’s important to exercise caution and common sense when shopping for CBD products. If you know already suspect there would be tough consequences for getting caught with a joint in a particular state, then do some research before making any big CBD purchases.

Below, we’ve mapped a general outline of where state laws stand right now, ranked from least to most CBD-friendly. Take it as a guide, but remember that the legality of CBD is ever-evolving (in fact, the FDA has scheduled a hearing about the substance for May), so things could look very different in just a year.



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This is a bad state to drive through if you loaded up on tinctures and edibles in Washington or Oregon. Anything with any amount of THC in it is illegal here, and legislators just brought state law in line with the 2018 Farm Bill in March, meaning police officers might not be as caught up on CBD’s status as in friendlier states—and that could lead to problems for you.

Even so, business owners are moving forward: One Pocatello wedding and event store owner became the public face of CBD sales when police investigated her last Fall for selling CBD oil with .0175% THC. As of January, she was advertising hemp products again.



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CBD oil is still considered marijuana here, and law enforcement has been hostile to businesses selling it, even after the Farm Bill passed. There is a bill to legalize medical marijuana working its way through the state government, but that won’t make it easier to buy CBD in Nebraska. Despite what the State Attorney General says publicly, CBD shops do operate in urban areas—the substance is already popular enough to get a trend piece in Omaha magazine.

South Dakota


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SD is one of the worst places to be caught with marijuana, and state officials want to keep CBD out of reach as well. Governor Kristi Noem said it should stay illegal despite federal law, and while there is a debate over the future of cannabis law in the state, the Attorney General released a statement in March 2019 saying that hemp and CBD are still illegal. Proceed with extreme caution whether buying, selling, or simply possessing.

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Mineral in Austin, Texas.




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Former US Attorney General and Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions remains a staunch cannabis prohibitionist, and calling state authorities “unfriendly” to cannabis would be an understatement. Cops arrested the owner of a Birmingham CBD shop last year before the passage of the Farm Bill, but he’s back in business now and considering expanding operations.



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The laws here seem designed to discourage people from using CBD, but that hasn’t stopped the public from seeking it out. It’s technically okay for patients with certain medical conditions to possess what the state calls “low THC oil,” but Georgia is known for its harsh marijuana laws. Definitely look for products online, or at stores in big cities like Atlanta or Athens, for the best Farm Bill–approved goods.


Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About CBD




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Medical marijuana dispensaries opened in December 2018, but Iowa has harsh laws for marijuana, and state law still says CBD products can only be sold with a dispensary license. Despite official opposition, CBD businesses do operate across the state. Authorities may be less friendly in the Western part, which is represented by Rep. Steve King, the notoriously problematic congressman who said, among other things, that undocumented immigrants are unusually jacked marijuana mules.



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State officials have warned that CBD with even trace amounts of THC is illegal, and they have said they are waiting for more guidance post-Farm Bill. Law enforcement officials have also said they will issue citations to stores caught selling CBD products. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find a CBD store in New Orleans, but it does look like the Bayou State will be fighting to keep it off shelves for a while.



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The state has extremely restrictive laws for CBD use as a medical treatment, and police are still opposed to CBD despite new federal guidance. Being on the right side of federal law won’t necessarily stop local authorities from taking action.

North Dakota

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Hemp is still considered a controlled substance in the state constitution, so that will have to change to bring state law in line with federal rules. Even with that discrepancy, this is 100 percent the Dakota in which to buy CBD.



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Ohio authorities are not fans of CBD. Officials raided stores across the state and embargoed CBD products, and the state pharmacy board continues to insist that CBD can only be sold in nine of Ohio’s 56 licensed marijuana dispensaries. Worse, a man went on trial in January for two felonies after being found with CBD oil during a DUI traffic stop. If you order online, cross your fingers that the post office doesn’t flag your package.

South Carolina

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CBD is legal for only certain severe seizure disorders and that’s super narrow. In 2016, a law that would have expanded the state’s medical marijuana program failed despite passing in the state’s Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee.

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Serra, in Portland, Oregon, has two locations and is opening a new store in Los Angeles.

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Law enforcement officials say that while CBD is legal, if it has even a trace amount of THC, then possessing it could result in a felony charge. While annual festivals like South by Southwest and Austin City Limits are sure to be filled with people knowledgeable about the best CBD brands and it’s possible to find products on shelves throughout the state, there’s real risk when it comes to messing with CBD in Texas.



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As recently as last year, a woman faced felony charges after being found with a sample bottle of CBD oil, and state law makes it a felony to possess more than .03 grams of oil that contains even trace amounts of CBD. Legislators can’t agree over whether to decriminalize CBD, so the discrepancy between state and federal law is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. Consider buying online or waiting until the next show you go to across the border at Red Rocks.



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CBD is popular enough here that some medical marijuana dispensaries will stock CBD products in the public portions of their offices, and there is at least one TLC reality show–ready CBD business operating in the state. When possible, buy local: It’s the right thing to do.



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CBD has been legal to sell since 2017, and the first CBD businesses opened in early 2018 and have only expanded since then. Nevertheless, it has pretty strict marijuana laws overall.



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Hemp-derived CBD products have been legal in Delaware since 2014, as is medical marijuana. Still, there’s no legal access to recreational cannabis because the First State isn’t first in everything.



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Florida may have passed a medical marijuana law in 2016, but the situation for CBD has been less than rosy. Authorities seized more than $500,000 in products from a Tallahassee business in 2018 before the federal Farm Bill became federal law. The fact that the US Postal Inspector was involved in those seizures might give one pause when ordering online, but now that hemp CBD is legal, things in the state should be easier.




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CBD has made it to the hip restaurants and bars of Kansas City, but state law says CBD oil is only legal if it has zero THC content, so getting caught with CBD products could still cause headaches. State lawmakers have been working on legislation that would allow people with certain life-threatening conditions to get CBD with THC.



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Though it’s legal to buy, sell, and possess CBD products, cops have been slow to adjust to the new situation. At least one police department has said that people could still be arrested for CBD, even if it turns out to have less than 0.3 percent THC after testing.

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NETA, in the historic Brookline Bank building in Brookline, Massachusetts.

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Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell was instrumental in getting industrial hemp legalized, spearheading the Farm Bill’s passage through Congress. As a result, farmers here are ready to take advantage of the crop’s rise as tobacco farming falls out of favor. Still, enforcement may not be uniform across the state until the federal regulations are clarified.



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The first dedicated CBD and hemp store opened in Minneapolis at the end of 2018, and farmers are excited by hemp’s potential as a crop. Depending on what you’re looking for, it may be easier to buy online. Avoid trips to neighboring South Dakota.



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CBD is legal, but in March 2019, police searched the hospital room of a man with stage-four cancer for marijuana, causing him great distress. They ultimately found only CBD oil and wrote no tickets.



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Montana doesn’t have its own laws prohibiting CBD, so stores are popping up in cities, but it’s also bordered by more than one state with laws hostile to cannabis products.

New Hampshire

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New Hampshire isn’t big on marijuana, although CBD is available. As lawmakers debate legalizing cannabis, check with retailers about the quality and source of what you’re buying.

New Jersey

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A push to legalize recreational marijuana only just failed to get a vote, but CBD stores can be found everywhere from Atlantic City to Newark and beyond. But buyers beware: New Jersey is home to some of the worst-rated CBD stores in the entire country.

New Mexico

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This state is a bit of a mess, CBD-wise. Last year, medical marijuana dispensaries were barred from selling any hemp products grown outside New Mexico, and since the state doesn’t actually have a system under which to grow cannabis plants to make CBD set up, even patients allowed to get CBD products with THC in them fear potential shortages at medical dispensaries. Stores that aren’t licensed as dispensaries aren’t bound by the same rules.

New York

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CBD is everywhere in New York City, but the quality is definitely cause for concern. What's more, in early 2019, the Big Apple officially banned restaurants from selling food or drink made with CBD, and even raided a bakery in February, but have since announced that the crackdown won’t be fully enforced until later this year and will result in fines for the noncompliant (rather than confiscation). Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to legalize marijuana state-wide—recreational marijuana was even slated to appear on a state budget this year, but it was eventually set aside. Maybe next year.

North Carolina

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You may be able to buy CBD products in North Carolina, but the state is cracking down on CBD-infused food, drink, and supplements. State law is absurdly strict, so don’t get caught selling CBD snacks at a Moral Mondays legal defense fundraiser.

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Farma in Portland, Oregon.

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In February 2019, the state department of health informed CBD and marijuana dispensaries that they will need food licenses by the end of April to make or sell consumable products. State law enforcement has said that stores that sell CBD are unlikely to get in trouble if their products accidentally contain small amounts of THC.



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Want to try a CBD massage? You can get one in the Keystone State. While hemp-derived CBD is fine, anything made from marijuana has to go through the state’s medical marijuana system. It’s unclear if officials would change their mind if CBD is found to mellow out beloved sports mascots Gritty and the Phillie Phanatic.



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Right now, Virginia has not passed any laws about CBD outside of its medical cannabis program, so sellers in the state are still dealing with some confusion over whether they’re protected by the Farm Bill. It has started expanding that program, however, so progress is happening.


West Virginia

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For at least one business owner in West Virginia, CBD is a way to fight the prescription drug epidemic that has made the state ground zero for harrowing news stories about the dangers of opioids. But that doesn’t mean CBD is broadly accepted. In February, a West Virginia man says he failed a work-related drug screening after taking CBD oil. It may be legal, but there are other potential (if rare) consequences to consider.



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In 2018, the state Department of Justice did say that CBD is legal only in certain circumstances and with a doctor’s approval, but the state is headed in a new direction in 2019. Now that a Democrat is in office, Wisconsin could see more positive conversations around changing cannabis laws. While that’s happening, you can find CBD sold in stores, especially in progressive cities like Milwaukee and Madison.



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Medical marijuana generates millions of dollars for the state each year, and CBD is legal to purchase and consume, but possessing marijuana without a medical license could get you fined $150 or more.



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Hawaii legalized medical marijuana in 2000 and led the way on hemp production and sales, even if it’s been trying and failing to legalize recreational cannabis for a while. Try to buy local if you’re looking for CBD while on the islands—it’ll be more affordable since it wasn’t flown in from out-of-state.



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Possession of small amounts of marijuana has been decriminalized in Illinois, and Cook County voters specifically want cannabis to be legalized and regulated. Police did raid stores selling CBD up until recently, but hemp’s potential as a cash crop have state legislators working on getting IL in on the action. It’s a big state, so authorities may have different attitude in Cairo than in Chicago; buy and use accordingly.

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Serra’s storefront in downtown, Portland, Oregon.

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Maryland is one of the states where you will soon be able to buy topical CBD products at the local drug store. It remains to be seen if they’ll replace cigarettes behind the counter or sit next to the natural supplements.

Rhode Island

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Recreational marijuana is decriminalized in small amounts, so you’re unlikely to have much trouble when it comes to CBD products.



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Both Walgreens and CVS plan to sell CBD in stores in the state, and right now, even children under 18 can legally buy CBD products, though that could change soon. Employers can still fire you for testing positive for THC after taking CBD oil.



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According to a new law, CBD oil and hemp products are legal, but those products have to be registered with the state and provide samples for testing so that consumers know what they’re getting. Simpler than the rules that govern Utah bars!



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The state's Department of Health and Social Services has an easy-to-find brochure on marijuana in Alaska. CBD shouldn’t be a problem but, as always, exercise common sense (maybe don’t hit your vape in public?), and watch out for bears.



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Yes, marijuana is legal everywhere in California, but that doesn’t mean all products are treated the same. The hemp plant and marijuana plant have different THC content, so you’ll find different options at a dispensary than a drug store. Know what you want and where you’re shopping.



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Walgreens has announced plans to sell CBD products in its stores here, and Colorado is also the home of many innovative, nationally-focused cannabis product businesses. The biggest risks for an individual here are buyer’s remorse and getting caught in a neighboring state with less-friendly laws.



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Governor Janet Mills signed a law in late March that allows cannabidiol to be treated as a food rather than a medicine, which means CBD is the same under federal and state law. Look for more high-quality products in stores soon.



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Though citizens voted to legalize marijuana in 2016, dispensaries only opened in the state this past November. CBD products are available and legal, and the biggest question should be whether the products come from a reputable seller.

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NETA’s Northampton location in Massachusetts.

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Voters approved recreational marijuana in November 2018, and CBD products are already available and allowed in the state. If you can’t find a brick-and-mortar store that sells what you’re looking for, ordering online should cause no problems.



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If the lights and noise of Vegas casinos cause a panic attack, feel free to chill out by purchasing CBD in stores or dispensaries. It’s also legal to possess up to an ounce of marijuana.



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The CBD industry in Oregon is one of the nation’s biggest, so you’re more likely to deal with inferior quality than with the cops. In fact, the state has already reached the “multi-million dollar lawsuit over seed gender” phase of hemp’s normalization.



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Hemp is big business here, and CBD stores are located throughout the state. Apologies to its neighbor New Hampshire: Vermont is where hemp lives free.



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Think twice before driving east through Idaho in a Subaru loaed up with CBD products, but buying in Washington or from a company based in the state should be a smooth experience.

Washington, D.C.

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The top-rated CBD stores in the nation’s capital are ready and able to help relieve the stress of being near members of the Trump administration.


Welcome to the ABCs of CBD

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Meredith Clark