Is CBD oil legal in Washington, D.C.?
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- What is CBD?
- Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
- Washington, D.C. CBD laws
- Where to buy CBD in Washington D.C.
- How to read CBD labels and packaging
The possession and the sale of hemp-derived products including cannabidiol (CBD) oil are currently legal in Washington, D.C. CBD derived from cannabis is also legal, but can only be purchased from D.C. regulated dispensaries with a medical marijuana card.
Cannabis was legalized in the District of Columbia in 1998 under Initiative 59, although it was not formally implemented until 2013.
Cannabis became legal for adult use under Initiative 71 in 2015 but is prohibited from commercial sale. The possession and use of cannabis and cannabis-derived products are illegal on federal land.
The District of Columbia has not expressed an explicit stance against the sale of CBD in food, beverages, animal feed, or as a dietary supplement. In July 2019, however, District Attorney Carl A. Racine co-signed a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calling for further research, direction, and regulations regarding CBD products to improve consumer protection.
What is CBD?
CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis and the second-most prominent in the plant after THC, which is primarily responsible for producing an intoxicating high. CBD can be sourced either from marijuana or hemp plants and has a wide range of potential therapeutic benefits.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating substance found in cannabis. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
To date, researchers have identified a number of potential applications linked to CBD, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-anxiety, and anti-seizure properties. Further, the chemical has shown promise in treating numerous health conditions, including seizure disorders, mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and psychosis, chronic pain, and many more.
Most raw cannabis strains on the market today contain small amounts of CBD, especially compared with THC. But since the cannabinoid has gained considerable attention for its wide range of purported therapeutic benefits, more high-CBD strains have recently been cultivated.
Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
All types of cannabis, including hemp strains that don’t produce enough THC to cause intoxication, were considered illegal under the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The law categorized all cannabis as Schedule 1, which defined the plant as a highly addictive substance with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.
The 2018 Farm Bill re-classified hemp as an agricultural commodity and made its cultivation federally legal. Further, the act removed some forms of cannabis from Schedule 1 status by creating a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana. Hemp is cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, and marijuana refers to cannabis with more than 0.3% THC. This distinction in federal law effectively legalized CBD that is derived from cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, as long as it has been cultivated according to federal and state regulations.
To meet federal legal criteria, CBD oil must contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The 2018 Farm Bill legislation does not mean that CBD derived from hemp is universally legal throughout the United States. According to the Farm Bill, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the power to regulate CBD product labeling, including therapeutic claims and the use of CBD as a food additive.
The FDA has declared that even hemp-derived CBD may not legally be added to food and beverages, or marketed as a dietary supplement. Although the organization has begun to re-evaluate some of its stances on legal CBD products, the FDA has not revised its regulations. The agency also has been strict in its position against any labeling that could be perceived as a medical claim about CBD.
In addition to the federal regulation of CBD, the Farm Bill also gave states the option to regulate and prohibit the cultivation and commerce of CBD. States may regulate CBD in food, beverages, dietary supplements, and cosmetic products independently, even before the FDA finalizes its policies.
Washington, D.C. CBD laws
To date, no specific industrial hemp legislation has been introduced in the District of Columbia. Despite the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, the district has yet to roll out an industrial hemp program.
In line with the 2018 Farm Bill, products derived from industrial hemp are legal for sale in Washington D.C. on the provision that their THC concentration that does need exceed 0.3% by weight. In July 2019, District Attorney Carl A. Racine co-signed a document requesting clear FDA guidelines for the manufacturing and sale of CBD.
Cannabis is legal in the District of Columbia for medicinal and adult use. Cannabis was legalized in the District of Columbia in 1998 under Initiative 59, although it wasn’t formally implemented until 2013. Patients with medicinal marijuana cards can purchase cannabis-derived CBD from regulated dispensaries.
Cannabis became legal for adult use for individuals 21 years of age or older under Initiative 71 in 2015. Initiative 71 did not, however, make any provision for the sale of cannabis. The possession and use of cannabis and cannabis-derived products is additionally illegal in public places. The District of Columbia is currently working towards legalizing the commerce of recreational cannabis with the Safe Cannabis Sales Act of 2019.
Licensing requirements for CBD
Washington D.C. does not currently have an established industrial hemp program. There is no legislation specific to the licensing, growing, testing, or manufacturing of industrial hemp.
There are also no licensing requirements for retailers selling hemp-derived CBD products, including CBD oil. The Safe Cannabis Sales Act of 2019 has, however, proposed labeling requirements for products derived from cannabis.
Washington D.C. CBD possession limits
Hemp and hemp-derived products, including CBD oil, are legal in Washington, D.C, and there are no established or enforced possession limits. The Safe Cannabis Sales Act of 2019 has proposed a limit of 72 ounces of a cannabinoid product in liquid form per day, though this legislation has not yet passed.
CBD derived from cannabis is subject to possession limits. While these have not been explicitly articulated, there are possession limits clearly stated for cannabis. Individuals are allowed up to two ounces of cannabis or less. Those with more than two ounces in their possession may be charged with a misdemeanor, imprisoned for up to 6 months, and fined a maximum of $1000.
Where to buy CBD in Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. consumers can purchase hemp-derived CBD products from CBD-specific stores and health shops. When purchasing from a storefront, particularly if the store specializes in CBD, you can receive guidance from an employee. Explain what you’re looking for, your reasons for consuming CBD, and they can point you in the right direction.
Washington D.C. consumers can purchase hemp-derived CBD products from CBD-specific stores and health shops. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
D.C. residents can also buy hemp-derived CBD online, usually through specific brands’ websites. You can also find verified CBD brands on Weedmaps. Reputable brands will generally provide you with essential product details, including the form of the CBD (such as oil, capsules, topicals, tinctures, etc.), the quantity of CBD the product contains, the other chemicals or ingredients present in the product, and more.
CBD derived from cannabis can only be purchased from a D.C. regulated dispensary with a medical marijuana card.
While many online checkout systems support US-based CBD sellers, some companies like Paypal consider CBD a “restricted business” and don’t support online sales. Confirm the websites’ checkout system before purchasing CBD online.
How to read CBD labels and packaging
The 2018 Farm Bill shifted the oversight of hemp and hemp-derived products from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA does not presently allow CBD-infused food, drinks, or dietary supplements to be sold, and hasn’t yet provided regulations for hemp-derived CBD products.
Still, the agency warns that regulations in flux still require companies to make legitimate claims on their labels. Buyers should nonetheless approach CBD products with caution. A CBD product should clearly state what kind of CBD is used.
Full-spectrum CBD oil means the extract contains cannabis-derived terpenes and trace amounts of cannabinoids such as THC. Broad-spectrum also includes other cannabis compounds but has had THC removed during the processing phase. CBD isolate is a pure crystalline powder containing only CBD.
Most reputable CBD producers typically include the following information on their CBD product labels:
- Amount of active CBD per serving.
- Supplement Fact panel, including other ingredients.
- Net weight.
- Manufacturer or distributor name.
- Suggested use.
- Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate.
- Batch or date code.
Washington D.C. Marijuana Laws
The U.S. capital, despite being a city, has its own set of laws. Although the District of Columbia hasn’t led the way in regards to cannabis policy, Washington D.C. marijuana laws have established a comprehensive medical marijuana program and legalized recreational marijuana possession and use in certain situations. Learn more about Washington D.C. marijuana laws below.
Recreational Marijuana in Washington D.C.
Is marijuana legal in Washington D.C.? Yes. As of February 2015, the D.C. Council legalized the recreational use of marijuana by adults 21 years of age and older. Under the law, individuals can now possess up to two ounces without being arrested. In addition, people may also grow up to six plants in their homes for personal use.
It’s important to note, however, that Washington D.C. continues to prohibit public possession and the use of marijuana on federal land, which accounts for roughly 20% of the D.C. area.
Additionally, DC residents cannot buy or sell marijuana, but in May 2019, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the Safe Cannabis Sales Act with hopes of establishing safe regulations on the sale of marijuana in the District.
What Is Conditional Release and How Does it Relate to Washington D.C. Marijuana Laws?
A conditional release allows individuals who are facing their very first marijuana-related prosecution to choose to be under probation rather than have their case go to trial. After the completion of probation, the first-time offender will have the charge wiped from their criminal record.
In Washington D.C., all first-time marijuana offenders are allowed to opt for conditional release, giving them the opportunity to accept probation. This allows them to avoid going to trial, have any subsequent jail time, and pay a fine. Once they have successfully completed probation, the marijuana charge will no longer appear on their permanent record.
Hash Laws in Washington D.C.
Hashish (hash) is a substance made from the resin found in cannabis plants. Hash is extremely potent and can cause a user to feel very strong psychoactive effects. While the possession of hash is not a misdemeanor, it can come with up to 180 days of jail time and a $1,000 fine. If you are found manufacturing hash in Washington D.C., you can be sentenced to up to five years in jail and a $50,000 fine. However, manufacturing hash is still not a criminal act and does not come with any misdemeanor charges.
Marijuana Concentrate Laws in Washington D.C.
A marijuana concentrate is created by taking marijuana and removing any excess plant materials and residue that remains from the cannabis plant. The resulting concentrate is an extract that is highly potent and contains very high levels of THC. Similar to hash, possessing and manufacturing marijuana concentrate is not a misdemeanor, but comes with heavy fines and other penalties. The penalties for the possession and manufacturing of concentrates is identical to the penalties for possessing and manufacturing hash mentioned above.
Drugged Driving Laws in Washington D.C.
Even if you have legally acquired and used marijuana, there are no circumstances in which you are legally allowed to drive in Washington D.C. after consuming marijuana. Marijuana use can greatly impact your ability to safely navigate the road and operate motor vehicles, and because of this danger to yourself, anyone in your car, and anyone you share the road with, there is little tolerance for drugged driving. If you have recently used marijuana, Washington D.C. marijuana laws state that you should avoid drugged driving at all costs.
Washington D.C. Marijuana Laws Regarding Drug Paraphernalia
Drug paraphernalia is the name given to any items that are used in the consumption or ingestion of drugs, with the most popular examples of marijuana paraphernalia including pipes and bongs. Washington D.C. marijuana laws regarding drug paraphernalia are actually quite forgiving, as there is no penalty for the possession or sale of marijuana paraphernalia, as long as the individual is at least 21 years old.
Possession of paraphernalia for an individual under the age of 21 can result in a $100 fine and up to 30 days of jail time. Anyone found selling paraphernalia to somebody under the age of 21 or breaking any other paraphernalia selling laws is subject to six months in jail, and a $1,000 fine. Any subsequent offense can result in two years of jail time and a $5,000 fine.
Medical Marijuana in Washington D.C.
Medical marijuana was first legalized in Washington, D.C. in 1998 after voters approved the “Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1998.” Despite its passing, the implementation of the program was delayed by Congress passing the Barr Amendment, legislation that prohibited D.C. from using funds to support a medical cannabis program. That amendment was eventually overturned in 2009, finally opening the door for legal medical cannabis purchases.
The District of Columbia’s City Council then unanimously approved the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Amendment to legalize medical marijuana in 2010.
Several changes to the law have been made since it took effect. In 2014, the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee announced it would be adding new qualifying conditions and passed emergency legislation to lift restrictions on physicians to make it easier for patients diagnosed with conditions like PTSD and epilepsy to quality. In September 2016, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a directive to double the amount of cannabis medical marijuana patients can purchase in a 30-day period to 4 ounces.
On November 1, 2016, the D.C. Council unanimously passed B21-0210 to allow registered nurses, physician assistants, dentists, and naturopathic physicians to recommend medicinal cannabis and to require that an independent laboratory test all marijuana. The bill also includes a provision that allows patients to purchase cannabis from any dispensary rather than being limited to one.
There are currently seven medical marijuana dispensaries and eight cultivation centers operating in Washington D.C. Licensing of dispensaries is operated by the Washington D.C. Department of Health. In August 2019, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that Washington, D.C. dispensaries would accept medical marijuana cards from any state in the U.S.
Medical marijuana can be approved for any debilitating condition as long as it is recommended by a DC licensed doctor.
Consumption of CBD from Hemp Oil in Washington D.C.
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.
Cultivation of Cannabis in Washington D.C.
Under the District of Columbia’s recreational marijuana law, adults ages 21 years and older can personally cultivate up to six marijuana plants within their residence. In a home with multiple adults, residents can grow up to 12 plants, and six of those can be mature.
Legal Status of Other U.S. States
Stay up to date on the latest state legislation, referendums, and public opinion polls. Our Marijuana Legalization Map allows you to browse the current status of medical and recreational marijuana laws in other U.S. states and territories.
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