The clarification doesn’t mean that CBD products can’t still be seized
Little by little, the legal landscape for CBD is improving. In December of last year, the 2018 Farm Bill was passed placing hemp under the supervision of the Agriculture Department, rather than the DEA. Entrepreneurs of the cannabis industry were hoping for a favorable ruling on CBD. Alas, that did not occur.
Following the Farm Bill’s signing, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb warned that CBD is a drug ingredient and therefore illegal to add to food or health products without FDA approval. “Selling unapproved products with unsubstantiated therapeutic claims is not only a violation of the law,” Gottlieb wrote, “but also can put patients at risk, as these products have not been proven to be safe or effective.”
But there was reason for optimism earlier this month when the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) clarified its regulations regarding the shipping of CBD products. The USPS stipulated, “some CBD products derived from industrial hemp can be mailable under specific conditions.”
Before a CBD product is put in the mail, the shipper must submit a sworn statement confirming that all documentation attached to the shipment is true. Secondly, documentation must be furnished that identifies the producer of the product by name, and demonstrates that the mailer is authorized by the registered producer to market products manufactured by that producer. Lastly, each shipment of CBD-hemp or hemp products should have the corresponding test results for that lot or batch confirming that the products contains a THC concentration of not more than 0.3 percent.
These regulations were in place with the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, which allowed shipping if in compliance with research-focused provisions. Still, the clarification of the rules does not eliminate the possibility that CBD products could be seized, as individual state agencies are not bound by USPS regulations. The USPS said that the instructions are subject to change, as it is awaiting the legislation connected with the current Farm Bill to be “fully implemented.”
So, for now, the status quo hasn’t changed. Cannabis remains illegal federally and states have the authority to write their own laws related to CBD and industrial hemp, which could result in a hodgepodge of differing statutes. Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration maintains the authority to regulate products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds. CBD’s status remains in limbo, but the horizon is brighter.