Products containing cannabidiol, or CBD, are popping up on store shelves across the country, just as legislators in Massachusetts are making more rules against its sale in certain products. In June of 2019, the state’s Agricultural Resource and Public Health Departments put out stricter guidance on which hemp-derived products will be allowed going forward.
What to Know About CBD in Massachusetts
According to the Federation of American Scientists, there are over 25,000 possible hemp products in nine different markets: agriculture, textiles, recycling, automotive, furniture, food and beverages, paper, construction materials, and personal care. One of over 85 cannabis compounds made from industrial hemp, CBD has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is also derived from the cannabis plant, cannabidiol has no psychoactive or intoxicating properties.
In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved their first CBD product, Epidiolex, for medicinal use – a treatment for seizures for certain people with epilepsy.
In America, the CBD market is expected to grow to $22 billion by 2022. Farmers, retailers, pharmaceutical companies, among many others, are eager to cut through state-specific regulations that are impeding the mass sale of CBD products across the country.
So, Is It Legal in Massachusetts?
Federally, CBD became legal with the passing of the U.S. Farm Bill in 2018. This covered the growing, production, and sale industrial hemp products with less than 0.3 percent THC.
The legality of CBD products in Massachusetts changed in 2019 with the aforementioned policy statement from the state’s various departments listing what will be allowed to be sold in the future. This announcement, which follows the FDA’s 2019 statement, prohibits the sale of food, supplements, or products that make therapeutic or medicinal claims containing hemp-derived CBD.
At the time of the writing of this article, stores across the state are being asked to voluntarily pull any food products containing CBD from their shelves. Some towns have issued warning letters to certain retailers or companies selling these items. Other cities are giving businesses until 2020 to remove these products from their inventories.
Meanwhile, with the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2016, products made with higher concentrations of THC are able to be sold in licensed stores across the state. CBD derived from marijuana plants is legal and regulated by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission.
The Future of CBD in Massachusetts
A bill filed in June of 2019 with the Massachusetts House of Representatives aims to legalize food and other products made from CBD. If passed, this legislation will reverse the policy put forward by the state banning the sale or production of certain CBD products.
This bill also will clarify the policy for hemp farmers, who had been growing crops to help in the manufacture of these products. Though hemp cultivation is permitted with the legalization of recreational marijuana and hemp production is federally legal, some of these Massachusetts farmers were growing hemp specifically for now-banned uses of CBD.
Under the bill, hemp-derived CBD would not be considered a controlled substance. Once it passes, it would also allow manufacturers to use CBD in cosmetics and personal care items.
In the meantime, Massachusetts does allow the sale of certain products outside of marijuana dispensaries. You are able to legally purchase hemp seeds, hemp seed oil, hemp-based building materials, and hemp clothing.
Because the laws are evolving, it is recommended that potential consumers check their local regulations before buying any CBD product. However, with the passing of 2018 U.S. Farm Bill, it is legal to purchase these products online, as long as they contain less than 0.3 percent THC.