Marijuana comes from plants that have hundreds of chemicals known as cannabinoids. The two most notable cannabinoids are the psychoactive Tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) and the non-psychoactive Cannabidiol (“CBD”). Hemp, while also derived from the cannabis family, has virtually no THC present thereby causing no psychoactive effect.
The Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) is the statute under federal law regulating drug policies in the United States. It regulates everything from the manufacturing, possession, use and distribution of certain substances. Under the CSA, Marijuana is considered a Schedule I controlled substance while CBD is considered a Schedule V controlled substance, the least restrictive under the Act. Hemp is no longer treated as a controlled substance pursuant to the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (“Farm Bill”).
Given the extremely small level of THC present in CBD, many people have been asking: is CBD legal in New Jersey? While this is arguably unchartered territory for New Jersey, both the New Jersey State Assembly Bill 1330 and Farm Bill offer some guidance.
Assembly Bill 1330 is known as the New Jersey Industrial Hemp Pilot Program bill. It allows for industrial hemp farming to promote the research and cultivation of industrial hemp to the maximum extent permitted by federal law. Under the Bill the Department of Agriculture may partner with any qualified institution of higher education to administer the program or individual, so long as that individual demonstrates (to the satisfaction of the Secretary of Agriculture) that it has complied with all the federal regulations concerning the cultivation of industrial hemp. A person validly participating in the program is exempt from crimes and penalties related to the purchase, sale, or cultivations of marijuana. The takeaway here – industrial hemp production is now legal in New Jersey provided you participate in the Hemp Pilot Program.
The Farm Bill which was signed into law on December 20, 2018 permits the production of hemp under certain circumstances and authorizes states to regulate hemp production without federal intervention. The Farm Bill defines hemp as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.” See Section 297A. In other words, if the hemp contains more than .3%, it is then treated as a controlled substance. The takeaway here – hemp is no longer treated as a Schedule I controlled substance. Because hemp is no longer a Schedule I controlled substance, hemp derived products can now be sold or purchased.
These two pieces of legislation demonstrate that the state and federal government recognize that hemp can be a viable agricultural crop enabling farmers to diversify their crops. Moreover, programs such as the New Jersey Industrial Hemp Pilot Program would allow for further research on hemp and its medicinal benefits.
So is CBD legal in New Jersey? That all depends on how the CBD was extracted. Hemp derived CBD – because it contains virtually no THC, is legal in New Jersey. As such, individuals interested in producing hemp derived CBD oils, edibles or pain creams are permitted to do so (at least until legislation says otherwise). Cannabis derived CBD is only legal in New Jersey pursuant to the New Jersey Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act (i.e., only if it is sold at an Alternative Treatment Center with a dispensary endorsement).
It should be noted that the legal landscape surrounding CBD is unclear and rapidly changing at both a state and federal level. Thus, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our office.