Are CBD Edibles Legal?
Various CBD infused edible products on a shelf inside retail store. Photo taken in Vista, CA / USA - November 25, 2019. By Simone

Stumble into an organic grocery shop, pharmacy, or vitamin store, and you will see CBD products. The influx of CBD Oil products was quick. Ten years ago, most people didn’t know what CBD was. One year ago, finding CBD products required some serious research and trial and error. Today, it’s easy to come by, and CBD edibles are on the rise in grocery stores across the country, even in portions of the nation where the legalization of marijuana and its derivatives remains a hot button topic. Based on the sheer number of products on store shelves, one would assume that CBD edibles are entirely legal, but is that really the case? Well, not really. CBD edibles fall into an interesting gray area. 

Are CBD edibles legal?

The CBD industry is booming, but the legality of edibles is debatable. According to The Washington Post, the FDA does not currently approve of CBD as a food additive, and the movement of CBD-infused edibles across state lines is not a legal practice. Still, it appears that the FDA has been turning a blind eye in most cases.

That alone indicates that the FDA will likely loosen their stance on the additive in the coming years, but they will probably make a move to regulate the additive further and the health claims producers can make. If the FDA were to loosen their stance, an influx of CBD-infused products is likely. As The Washington Post notes, several major companies are chomping at the bit to enter the arena, but they can’t open themselves up to the legal grey area. There is a lot of money in CBD-infused products, but the money that can be made isn’t worth the legal battle for many larger companies. 

Why are CBD edibles technically illegal?

The legality of edibles seems to come down to the use of CBD in food products. Technically, CBD is not approved for consumption. The use of CBD in salves, balms, and even tinctures are note edibles and thus come under different regulations. When you get into the murky waters of food consumption, things get complicated. According to an FDA spokesperson, the FDA doesn’t allow any drug additive to be placed into food items, even those already approved by the FDA. 

Further complicating the legality of CBD edibles, is the inclusion of THC in the products. The 2018 Farm Bill made Hemp legal for interstate commerce, but differentiating hemp from cannabis has been difficult. Right now, any hemp plant that contains more than 0.3% THC is considered a marijuana plant, and thus can not be transported interstate, the same is true for products derived from the plant. 

How is the Cannabis industry combating the issue?

The easiest way to combat the issue right now is to keep products intrastate. When a product is dispersed within the company’s home state, they fall under state regulations. State regulation is far easier to deal with than federal legalities. Several states have stepped in to craft their own rules for the cannabis industry and have explicitly dealt with edibles. 

Some states require producers to provide a QR code that provides valuable information to consumers, such as product strength and batch codes. Other states are aiming to regulate the industry by stepping in to monitor the companies producing CBD-infused foods and drinks. Through regulations, legislators feel they can ensure the products produced are to higher standards than if CBD companies were left to operate on their own.

Florida, for example, recently implemented a program aimed at regulating the industry through licensing requirements. The program went into effect in July 2019. Medical marijuana is legal in the state of Florida, but not every medical condition will qualify a patient for a medical marijuana card. That being said, the list of disorders that would qualify a patient is lengthy. For those who don’t qualify, CBD-infused foods could be another option.