Wait, isn’t CBD illegal?
CBD is perfectly legal… except for it’s also super illegal. Welcome to America, where state and federal laws often conflict with each other, confusing the hell out of everyone! But thanks to the Farm Bill of 2018, approved entities can grow and sell hemp products and extracts. (That doesn’t mean you can start growing it in your backyard, according to The Brookings Institute. Sorry, notable cannabis enthusiast Seth Rogen.) Here are a few important facts to know before we get into the fun stuff:
- Cannabis is a plant that can produce marijuana (still illegal according to the federal government) or hemp (no longer illegal!)
- In order for the hemp plant to be legal under federal law, it must contain less than .3% THC, the ingredient in marijuana that has psychological effects/gets you high as hell
- If Cannabidiol (CBD) is derived from the hemp plant and has less than .3% THC, it is legal under federal law because it doesn’t get you high as hell
Keep in mind that even though CBD from hemp is legal federally, each state has its own laws, and it may be illegal to possess where you live. The laws get even more hazy for sparkling drinks that incorporate CBD.
“Nationwide, CBD is legal to consume on its own,” explained Robertson Allen, Ph.D., a senior consultant at The Hartman Group, which advises food and beverage companies on consumer trends. “But when you’re putting CBD in a food or beverage product, then it becomes more of a regulatory issue that’s under the purview of the FDA.”
Michael Lewis, CEO of the CBD sparkling soda maker Sprig, said that the FDA has been clear about CBD in food and drink. “It’s simple,” he said. “The FDA does not allow CBD in food products today. It’s in conflict with the Farm Bill, which broadly legalized hemp and removed it from the controlled substances act. There’s been a lot of pressure on the FDA from both Congress and the public to allow these products.” Lewis predicted that the FDA will likely approve CBD for consumption (along with regulations for those companies producing it) between now and the beginning of 2020.