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Is It Legal to Mail CBD Oil? [Here’s What the Laws Say]

While it is frustrating for marijuana advocates that the plant is federally illegal in the United States, the law is clear. It is also straightforward in most states that permit medical marijuana or recreational use of the substance.

However, it is a different story concerning CBD. The non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in hemp and marijuana is also not federally legal. Yet the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp (but not CBD) from the Controlled Substances list as long as it contains a maximum of 0.3% THC.

The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the Controlled Substances list as long as it contains a maximum of 0.3% THC.

On the plus side, most states have opted to at least tolerate the use of hemp-derived CBD with a few rule changes in a handful of states. However, there remains confusion over whether it is legal to transport CBD across state lines. We know it is illegal to do so with marijuana, but what about low-THC CBD oil?

You might think it is a simple answer since online CBD brands ship to different states. However, as this article outlines, it is a slightly tangled web.

CBD Laws – Noise & Confusion

Technically, CBD is not legal in all 50 states, even though they all permit industrial hemp cultivation. Until recently, laws in Nebraska, South Dakota, or Idaho, suggested that cannabidiol is illegal. These days, Idaho still only allows CBD with a maximum THC content of 0.1%, while Kansas’s THC threshold is 0.0%.

One could say it is illegal to mail or use CBD in one of these states. However, in this instance, it seems as if federal law supersedes the obscure rules of individual states. Yes, you could end up in jail for using cannabidiol, but enforcement of the law is practically non-existent, although there are a handful of exceptions.

In theory, there is cause for concern. In practice, authorities in states such as Nebraska talk a good game, but in reality, there are CBD stores all over the place!

Therefore, when companies claim that CBD is “legal in all 50 states,” they do so because of the lack of follow-through when it comes to cannabidiol arrests. Proponents of transporting CBD across state lines have more than one leg to stand on.

The 2014 U.S. Farm Bill legalized the cultivation and commercial sale of hemp and hemp extract (including CBD oil). At that time, however, you had to grow it as part of a government pilot program for academic or research purposes.

Even at that point, hundreds of companies selling CBD were not operating as part of such a program. They shipped their products nationwide to all 50 states with practically no consequences.

The 2018 Farm Bill Legalized Hemp

The Farm Bill of 2018 went much further and legalized hemp cultivation and declassified it as a Schedule I controlled substance. The new law defined ‘hemp’ as the Cannabis sativa L. plant and any part of the plant with a THC concentration of no more than 0.3%.

Interestingly, the FDA has confirmed that adding CBD to food products or dietary supplements is illegal. This is because cannabidiol is an active ingredient in an FDA-approved drug, and it is not allowed a nutritional supplement or food supply designation.

Furthermore, according to the FDA, any product marketed with a therapeutic claim must have the Administration’s approval before being introduced to interstate commerce. This suggests that mailing CBD oil is legal, as long as you don’t make any claims about its ability to heal. Companies that sell CBD oil across the United States are shielded from legal issues if they stick to the facts and educate prospective customers.

Before the 2018 Farm Bill became law, the DEA admitted that it wasn’t trying to crack down on CBD sales. In July 2018, a spokesperson for the agency, Rusty Payne, attempted to clarify its stance and said the following:

“I think people think [CBD] is high on [the DEA’s] priority list right now. It is not.”

Even at that stage, the DEA realized that CBD was not killing people. Since the Farm Bill became law, cannabidiol is even lower down on the DEA’s list. The fact is: hundreds of CBD companies sell the compound and transport it across state lines every single day. Aside from the occasional anomaly, you don’t hear stories of online stores, in particular, closing down due to law enforcement interference.

The USPS Speaks out About Mailing CBD

The United States Postal Service (USPS) tried to clear up some of the confusion in March 2019. It confirmed that hemp products are legal to mail under certain circumstances because the plant isn’t a federally controlled substance. The USPS said it had received many inquiries from companies and individuals about mailing CBD on its Postal Bulletin.

USPS policy states that you can mail hemp and hemp-based products like CBD, with a maximum THC content of 0.3% in the following circumstances:

  • You comply with all applicable local, state, and federal laws regarding hemp production, processing, distribution, and sale.
  • You retain a record that establishes your compliance with the laws. This record includes lab test reports or compliance reports for at least two years after the mailing date.

You don’t need to present the documentation when you mail the CBD. However, the agency can request it at that time or any date in the future.

This update comes several months after the USPS was embroiled in a legal battle for improperly seizing hemp-derived CBD. The case in question was KAB, LLC v. United States Postal Service. In September 2018, the administrative judge found that:

“Congress currently permits the interstate sale, transportation, and distribution of exempt industrial hemp pursuant to the most recent appropriations act; I find that exempt industrial hemp and products derived from exempt industrial hemp are mailable.”

The USPS update acknowledges that the 2018 Farm Bill is law. Once the Federal Government implements the code correctly, the agency says it will “modify the mailability criteria for CBD and cannabis products.”

Shipping CBD Oil Across State Lines: Legal or Illegal?

In a nutshell, it is LEGAL to ship CBD oil across state lines. That is, as long as it comes from hemp and has a maximum THC content of 0.3%. As outlined above, there are some states where the THC limit is even lower, so make sure you check the state’s rules before shipping the CBD.

Can You Mail CBD Oil?

Yes. Even private couriers such as FedEx, DHL, and UPS permit the mailing of CBD oil derived from hemp. Senders of such products via USPS must ensure they provide the documentation outlined by the service in March 2019.

Apart from that, and ensuring you protect the glass containers, mailing this form of cannabidiol is a breeze. Once you package the product, drop it off at a FedEx/UPS store or your nearest post office.

While it is perfectly okay to ship CBD oil, we can’t say the same for every product.

Can You Mail CBD Gummies?

This is a tricky one to answer, given the FDA’s stance. Remember, the Administration says that it is illegal to add CBD to human or animal food, and therefore, CBD food and beverages are technically illegal.

Indeed, a few states don’t allow CBD in food, although the law is far from clear even in these locations. Even so, top-rated CBD brands regularly mail CBD gummies to customers in virtually every state.

As is the case with CBD in general, local, state, and federal law enforcement have little appetite for enforcing a law that has left many people feeling confused!

Can You Mail Other CBD Products?

As per the information above, mailing CBD beverages is technically prohibited. There appear to be no laws surrounding CBD topicals or leftfield products such as bath bombs. However, you will encounter issues sending raw hemp across state lines even if it stays below the THC threshold. This is a surprise since hemp itself is no longer a controlled substance! Both FedEx and UPS don’t allow the shipping of raw or unrefined hemp plants.

Things are even clearer when it comes to CBD vape products. In October 2021, the USPS released its final ruling regarding the mailing of vaping devices and products, including items containing hemp or marijuana derivatives.

Due to the PACT Act, UPS, USPS, and FedEx announced they would no longer ship vaping products for home delivery.

It came after the federal government introduced the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act, which was signed into law along with other legislation in December 2020. The PACT Act introduced a series of rules, so UPS, USPS, and FedEx announced they would no longer ship vaping products for home delivery.

You can still buy CBD vape products online, but significantly fewer companies now offer them.

Shipping CBD Oil Internationally: What You Need to Know

There is even greater complexity in shipping internationally, which is why so many American-based CBD brands, such as Joy Organics , don’t bother at present. Certain countries permit CBD importation but with lower THC levels. For instance, United Kingdom rules dictate that the maximum THC content for hemp-derived CBD is 0.2%.

Even though Canada allows recreational marijuana, it still wraps American CBD sellers in red tape if they try to sell their products north of the border. Indeed, the bureaucracy involved puts off most CBD companies who view breaking into the Canadian market as more trouble than it’s worth.

While CBD is legal in dozens of countries, it is currently prohibited in several locations, including:

  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Moldova
  • Singapore
  • Venezuela

There are also many nations where CBD remains stuck in an even murkier gray area than the United States and others that only permit medical use of the cannabinoid.

Is It Legal to Mail CBD Oil? Final Thoughts

The 2014 and 2018 Farm Acts suggest that mailing lawful hemp and CBD is legal. It doesn’t matter whether they have the documentation specified by the USPS. On the plus side, the postal service is developing a method of ensuring that it seizes fewer packages.

Ultimately, the gap between federal and state law makes everything more confusing than necessary. Yet, realistically, if reputable brands such as PureKana believed it was illegal to mail CBD oil, they wouldn’t risk shipping to so many states.

The authorities in most states exercise common sense. The time and expense of enforcing such an absurd law are enormous, and most agencies are content to use their resources elsewhere. However, few delivery services allow the shipping of CBD vaping products, so many sellers have stopped offering them.

If you live in a state where CBD is technically illegal, you may need to exercise caution. Even so, you’ll find that most CBD sellers ship to almost every state. Why? Because they are confident of avoiding legal consequences.

Your Guide to Shipping CBD Products

Cannabis has gone mainstream, and business is, to put it bluntly, booming. As of this writing, marijuana products are fully legal in 16 U.S. states, Washington D.C., Guam, and Canada. Cannabis is legal for medical use and/or decriminalized in another 24 states. Marijuana remains illegal in only six U.S. states.

Cannabidiol or CBD, which is derived from the cannabis plant, is legal at the federal level. CBD products that comply with federal regulations can be sold in the vast majority of U.S. states. The logistics of eCommerce fulfillment for CBD oil and other CBD products continue to get easier. Now is a great time to grow a CBD business.

Shipping CBD lets you reach consumers who live in states where CBD products are hard to find in stores. If you run an eCommerce business that sells CBD oil or other CBD products, your growth prospects are good. The industry is predicted to hit $22 billion in sales by 2022.

However, a few states continue to prohibit CBD sales, and a patchwork of other regulations and carrier restrictions across the US can make shipping CBD a challenge. For these reasons, as of this writing, Red Stag Fulfillment doesn’t accept CBD products, but we are constantly monitoring the legal landscape and always evaluating whether to serve this growing and exciting industry. Here is a summary of what we’ve learned so far.

What Is CBD?

CBD is present in both marijuana plants and hemp plants. Unlike THC (short for tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD doesn’t have psychoactive properties. THC is the part of the marijuana plant that causes intoxication.

According to its supporters, CBD has a long list of health benefits, including pain relief, reduced anxiety, and even curing acne. However, because there were strict federal limits on the use of marijuana and hemp plants for scientific study until a few years ago, the evidence for uses of CBD is still coming in. However, early studies have shown that it can help combat insomnia and reduce inflammation in a topical ointment.

The most successful pharmaceutical application of CBD is for the treatment of severe forms of childhood epilepsy. A cannabidiol-based anti-seizure medicine is the first cannabis medication to get FDA approval.

Can You Mail CBD Oil?

CBD oil has a broad range of applications beyond merely medicinal. Manufacturers are producing everything from CBD-infused soda to CBD massage oil to CBD gummy bears.

Here’s what you need to know to make sure that your CBD order fulfillment complies with federal law.

The Hemp Farming Act of 2018

Under the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, legal CBD is defined as cannabidiol derived from strains of hemp that have less than 0.3% THC.

HEMP.—The term ‘‘hemp’’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds there- of 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.”

– Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, Sec. 297A (1), as amended by the Hemp Farming Act of 2018

CBD can be extracted from plants that contain higher levels of THC. However, products using CBD made from marijuana rather than hemp can only be legally sold in some places. In states where medical or recreational cannabis is legal, CBD products are less regulated. If you are interested in shipping CBD products across state lines, you’ll need to use only CBD refined from low-THC hemp.

One exception to the rule against shipping cannabis that contains significant levels of THC is farm feed made from the stalks or other parts of the plant. So, federal law allows cows to get high, just not humans.

Which Carriers Are Best for Shipping CBD?

In the states where marijuana is legal, you can sell a wide variety of CBD products in brick-and-mortar retail settings and cannabis delivery businesses deliver both CBD and THC products locally. This includes products that contain THC as well as CBD. However, if you are selling CBD online and shipping via carriers, you need to comply with carrier requirements and federal rules. You can’t mail a marijuana-derived product from Boulder to Denver, even though cannabis is legal throughout Colorado. You definitely can’t ship that product from Boulder to Boston. Sending CBD via one of the major carriers is highly regulated and even intrastate shipments are subject to carrier rules.

USPS CBD Mailing

In June 2019, USPS issued a revision to its Publication 52 to provide guidance on shipping CBD products through the mail. Federal regulations to implement the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 were released in March 2021, so look for a possible update to USPS policies to incorporate the federal rules.

For now, the USPS requires eCommerce businesses shipping CBD to follow all applicable federal, state, and local laws, including but not limited to the THC caps and the licensed grower requirements. Your business must keep paperwork showing this compliance. Contrary to earlier guidance, you don’t have to include a statement of compliance inside each package you ship.

UPS and Shipping CBD

UPS guidelines clearly state that the carrier will not ship any marijuana products or even pick up CBD products from a business that sells marijuana products. However, UPS does ship CBD and other hemp products, as long as you comply with federal law. If you send any other marijuana products via UPS, the carrier may throw out your shipment.

If you run a business that sells marijuana products as well as federally-sanctioned CBD items, you can still ship your CBD products via UPS. Simply use a third-party logistics company. That way, UPS will pick up from the warehouse, rather than your business location.

FedEx CBD Restrictions

FedEx is the only major carrier that still won’t ship CBD products and includes CBD on its list of prohibited items. However, it makes two exceptions: farm feed that contains cannabis plant materials and synthetic cannabinoids.

Rules for Shipping CBD Across State Lines

In the past, shipping CBD across state lines, especially when shipments traveled through states where it’s not legal, was hazardous. The Canna Law blog reported on a shipment of industrial hemp that was seized in Idaho in 2019. The shipment originated in Oregon, where cannabis is legal, it met the federal definition of legal industrial hemp, and was on its way to a Colorado company that makes CBD products. Because Idaho had not legalized cannabis (and still hasn’t), state authorities refused to let the shipment pass.

That incident happened before the USDA issued federal regulations to detail how to implement the law Congress passed in 2018. The new rules, which became official on March 22, 2021, should make the safe passage of 0.3% CBD products in interstate commerce easier.

Tips for ECommerce Businesses to Ship CBD Products

Lawmakers have repeatedly introduced bills to make cannabis legal at the federal level. However, it may take a while before cannabis legalization goes national. Until then, it can be tricky to figure out how to stay on the right side of the laws around shipping CBD.

Here are some things you can do to protect your business while participating in the booming market for CBD products:

  • Know your suppliers. Make sure your suppliers have all relevant licenses for industrial hemp production. Obtain copies of their certifications and keep them in your files.
  • Get your CBD products tested. Periodic lab tests will ensure that the THC level in your CBD products is within legal limits.
    • If you’re considering selling food, drink, or supplements containing CBD, pay special attention to the FDA’s rules and regulations.

    Arm yourself with knowledge about cannabis law as it evolves. Don’t let worries about shipping CBD slow the growth of your business.

    More about shipping regulated items:

    The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only. Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice or professional opinions. If you are considering manufacturing, buying, shipping, storing, or selling CBD products, you should not rely on the above information, but instead must make your own judgments regarding the legality of your proposed actions. Red Stag Fulfillment, LLC disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this article. Contact a reputable attorney to obtain legal advice.