There has been a lot of buzz about cannabidiol or CBD lately, and its journey to legalization has been a long and still ongoing one in the state of New York. Since this process began over a century ago and progress is being made in small stages with many exceptions, it is normal and understandable for people to be confused about the parameters and “how legal” CBD exactly is in the state.
That being said, given all the rapid changes and continuous decriminalization happening over the past decade, the future for CBD legality in New York looks bright. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
Is CBD oil legal?
The short answer is yes. However, it still has a lot of restrictions and is heavily regulated by the state of New York. While buying New York CBD oil from a licensed seller is perfectly fine now in its legal forms, this was not always the case. While there is a clear difference between CBD oil from marijuana, the same laws regulating (or rather prohibiting) marijuana still applied to CBD oil and hemp as late as 2018.
Still, this didn’t stop many retailers from selling CBD oil. While there was some minor backlash, the sellers were mostly left alone by law enforcement officials. Things took a big step in 2019 when lawmakers passed two bills that made way for a comprehensive regulatory framework for New York CBD oil and hemp. Firstly, it was now legal to produce hemp in the entire state of New York and clear guidelines were in place for the regulatory system. Secondly, there were now strict and legal parameters for how CBD oil could be used and sold to the public.
Since New York’s hemp and CBD program is considered one of the most updated and thorough in the whole country, this has only encouraged the legal production and distribution of hemp and CBD all throughout the state. There are currently 400 licensed hemp farms and 108 licensed hemp processors in New York. Additionally, there was more than 20,000 hectares of hemp grown in the state alone in 2019.
What are the restrictions on CBD oil distribution?
As of 2020, CBD oil may only be taken in preparations that cannot be smoked such as oils, tinctures, capsules, vape liquids, lozenges, and patches. However, the use of CBD oil in foods is still illegal in the state of New York. All individuals and businesses who grow, process, and sell CBD oil are also required to have the license to do so and adhere to the strict requirements of the law.
What about cannabis oil?
Keep in mind that there is a clear difference between cannabidiol and cannabis oil. Also called hash oil, cannabis oil is a form of CBD that contains Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which induces a buzz in users. CBD by itself, does not provide a high to its users. THC or cannabis oil is ONLY legal for medical marijuana users who have a card. If you are caught possessing cannabis oil and cannot prove that you are a medical marijuana user, you are still subject to the appropriate punishments.
Do know that all growers, producers, and retailers are aware of this guideline and could lose their licenses if they are caught selling CBD products with THC. Cannabis oil also shows up in drug or sobriety tests, so buyers should be careful about who they purchase their CBD products from in New York.
Can doctors prescribe CBD oil?
At the moment, doctors in New York are only permitted to prescribe Epidiolex (a purified form of CBD). It was recently approved by the FDA and may only be prescribed to children with special cases of specific types of epilepsy. Other than that, doctors cannot legally prescribe CBD oil in any other form to their patients. This is because cannabis products are referred to as herbal preparations and the content varies from batch to batch, making it hard for the FDA to regulate and approve of it.
However, doctors can recommend CBD oil to their patients because a prescription is not needed to purchase it. Since they are aware of the effects of CBD oil and many studies have proven it to be safe and effective, doctors are free to suggest that their patients try CBD oil as a way to help treat their symptoms. Moreover, if the doctor can also tell that a patient can possibly benefit from cannabis oil instead, the patient can qualify for a medical marijuana card if they don’t have one yet.
Note that aside from Epidiolex, many insurance providers are not legally required to cover the cost of CBD oil and other cannabis products.
What medical conditions can be treated with CBD oil?
There is a wide range of medical conditions that can be treated with CBD oil. New York has its own list for this. People that suffer from mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and more can take CBD oil so they can function normally. CBD oil can also help improve your appearance. It can help treat acne, hair loss and other skin conditions, as well as aid in weight loss, especially for people dealing with obesity.
Individuals who also suffer from chronic diseases and autoimmune diseases can also benefit from the use of CBD oil. However, patients who may need medical cannabis instead can still obtain it as treatment if they fall under the New York qualifying conditions.
Where can CBD oil be legally purchased in New York?
As stated before, CBD oil products can be legally sold as long as they are not infused in food or beverages. That being said, you can commonly find CBD oil and CBD-infused products at most health-food and smoke shops. However, with the clearer legal guidelines regarding its distribution, convenience stores and licensed flea market retailers have also begun selling CBD oil and legal CBD-infused products to make it more accessible to the public.
It is also perfectly legal to purchase CBD products online as well. This is a great option if you want more variety and cannot leave your house often to purchase it. You will simply need to be more discerning as some retailers may be shady or dishonest about their products.
However, if you are a medical marijuana patient with a card and want to get CBD products with THC, you can go directly to a licensed dispensary to get your cannabis oil.