Is CBD Legal in Ohio?

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A New Legal Frontier

CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, has had a surge in popularity over the past couple of years. Unlike THC, the chemical compound that gives marijuana its signature effect, CBD has been shown to help with a variety of illnesses and conditions — without the typical intoxicating effects of marijuana. The market for CBD has boomed, and is expected to grow to $1 billion by 2020.

Since the Federal legalization of hemp-derived CBD in 2018 via the Federal Farm Bill, you can now buy the product in traditional brick and mortar stores like SephoraCVS, and The Vitamin Shoppe. The market has been booming ever since the product gained national popularity. Which leads to a pressing question – is CBD legal to purchase in Ohio? Let’s take a look at how the law has evolved around this product.

What is CBD?

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CBD is a cannabis compound that can be purchased in a variety of forms. CBD stands for Cannabidiol – one of over 100 chemical components found in Cannabis. It’s important to note that CBD differs significantly from THC – or Tetrahydroncannabinol – in that it does not produce the “high” effect typically associated with Marijuana. Since CBD is naturally soluble in fat, edible drops of CBD have surged in popularity over the last couple of years.

Since the CBD industry is in its infancy, many misconceptions exist. Sellers claims a wide array of conditions that it can help to treat – ranging from inflammation to cancer. However, due to the limited test data and lack of peer review, many of these claims cannot be substantiated. Nevertheless, the market has been rapidly expanding.

However, in clinical tests, CBD has been found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties – that have been shown to help treat psychosis, epilepsy and seizures, anxiety, movement disorders and multiple sclerosis.

The infancy of this product has created new challenges for regulators, an issue that has frequently resulted in confusion and legal gray areas. Most notably, the overnight success of the consumer market for CBD has created a situation in which some producers have opted for poor quality control. Often times, CBD products either don’t contain what they say they do – or contain trace levels of THC in violation of Federal Law. In 2016 – the FDA issued warnings to 8 CBD manufacturers after finding that some contained zero trace of CBD and illegal levels of THC.

CBD and Federal Law

CBD can be derived from hemp. The 2018 Federal Farm Bill legalized hemp, but the legal status of hemp-derived cannabidiol remains in limbo. This is largely because CBD can be derived from hemp or cannabis, but if a hemp plant contains more than 0.3 percent THC (the active “high” ingredient in marijuana) it is then technically a “marijuana” plant – which is illegal. It’s confusing and imperfect – and Experts say drafting and implementing regulations could take years.

Since the CBD industry is in its infancy, many misconceptions exist. Sellers claims a wide array of conditions that it can help to treat – ranging from inflammation to cancer. However, due to the limited test data and lack of peer review, many of these claims cannot be substantiated. Nevertheless, the market has been rapidly expanding.

In a June 16th, 2019 FDA document entitled “What You Need to Know” the FDA states that:

“We are aware that there may be some products on the market that add CBD to a food or label CBD as a dietary supplement. Under federal law, it is currently illegal to market CBD this way.”
, Is CBD Legal in Ohio?, Personal Injury Lawyers | Sawan & Sawan LLC | 419-900-0955

When asked which scenarios of CBD sale might prompt legal action, the FDA said it had no additional comments. Many of the companies operating in the CBD space have opted to remain intrastate – or within a state that has legalized THC – to invoke the protections of State law. However, the massive increase in the market has enticed large interstate corporations from entering the market, which will prompt additional regulatory scrutiny and further issues with banking and tax law.

CBD and Ohio Law

In 2016, House Bill 523 was passed establishing a medical marijuana program in Ohio. The bill allows for Ohio residents with certain medical conditions (shown bewlo) to obtain medical marijuana with a doctor’s prescription. The bill also authorized dispensaries to sell the CBD hemp oil and other CBD products to Ohio residents. However, the program has had significant setbacks and is not expected to be fully operational until sometime this year.

The conditions for which marijuana (and CBD) can be prescribed in Ohio are also incredibly narrow comparative to many states. As of this article, the conditions approved for medical marijuana in Ohio are:

  1. AIDS 
  2. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 
  3. Alzheimer’s disease 
  4. Cancer 
  5. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy 
  6. Crohn’s disease 
  7. Epilepsy or another seizure disorder 
  8. Fibromyalgia 
  9. Glaucoma 
  10. Hepatitis C 
  11. Inflammatory bowel disease 
  12. Multiple sclerosis 
  13. Pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable 
  14. Parkinson’s disease 
  15. Positive status for HIV 
  16. Post-traumatic stress disorder 
  17. Sickle cell anemia 
  18. Spinal cord disease or injury 
  19. Tourette’s syndrome 
  20. Traumatic brain injury 
  21. Ulcerative colitis

In August 2018, The Ohio Board of Pharmacy ruled that CBD products are illegal unless sold by licensed dispensaries who are part of Ohio’s state-sanctioned medical marijuana program. “Until dispensaries are operational,” the board wrote, “no one, including board licensees, may possess or sell CBD oil or other marijuana-related products.” The first state-approved dispensaries are expected to open their doors in early 2019.

This is a common misconception in Ohio – that CBD is legal no matter where it is bought. The simple fact is that, as of July 19th, 2019, CBD is still illegal in Ohio unless purchased through a medical dispensary.

However, there is an effort underway in the Ohio Legislature to form a legal pathway for the manufacture and distribution of hemp-derived CBD products. Senate Bill 57 would set up a framework for regulating hemp cultivation and processing, which includes extracting the compound cannabidiol, or CBD. The bill passed the Ohio Senate in a 30-0 vote and went to the House for consideration.

Today – July 8th, 2019 – the Ohio House of Representatives similarly passed the law – which would permit Hemp-Derived CBD that contains less that 0.3% THC. The law will know go to Governor Mike DeWine for consideration and will become effective immediately if he signs it. 

Until then – CBD is not legal in Ohio without a prescription.  

 

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