Hemp is federally legal; however, agencies and officials have interpreted the law differently. State by state, we’ve seen hemp and its derivatives declared as illegal by a state agency or public official. One state that currently faces confusion over CBD legality is Michigan, Made by Hemp’s home state.
2019 update: The 2018 Farm Bill passed, which officially separates hemp from marijuana and clears up its legality.
Under the 2014 Farm Bill, hemp-derived CBD is legal to possess and sell in the United States. However, many government agencies have referenced a legal “grey area” regarding hemp. One such agency is the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), which has tried to regulate components of hemp (such as CBD) the same as marijuana. In April 2018, the 9th Circuit Court sided with the DEA’s decision to regulate CBD as a schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
In response to this federal decision, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) issued a statement announcing that CBD would be subject to the same regulations as other marijuana-derived products. In Michigan, medicinal marijuana was legalized in 2008. According to the LARA statement, only those with an MMJ card could purchase CBD (even when derived from hemp).
The statement caused confusion for Michigan authorities, hemp businesses, and CBD consumers.
The LARA statement, however, was just that: a statement. LARA does not have the jurisdiction to change laws. Michigan hemp businesses remain protected by the Farm Bill despite the DEA’s classification, as the DEA’s classification is superseded by the 2014 Farm Bill. Under the Farm Bill, derivatives from the stalk and seed of the hemp plant (with less than 0.3% THC) are legal.
While technically this statement did not change the legality of CBD, it did put the legitimacy of CBD products into question. It put Michigan hemp companies at a halt, as they were unsure if the statement would cause legal repercussions. Additionally, some Michigan authorities took the statement as a law. As a Michigan hemp company, we were personally affected by the LARA statement.
Michigan government has yet to react to the LARA statement. Despite the statement, Made by Hemp is operating business as usual.
Michigan residents will vote on the legalization of recreational marijuana in November 2018 and, if passed, CBD and hemp will be legalized under state law. Until then, Michigan residents can contact their state representatives and ask for their support of the 2018 Farm Bill, which includes the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. The Hemp Farming Act will confirm the legality of hemp in entirety and will leave no room for interpretation.