Updated on May 8, 2021. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Fred Ashford, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
CBD is a widely recognized panacea for a range of diseases. With the legalization of recreational marijuana on 31st March 2021, whether consuming CBD is legal in New York has become a burning question.
While it is clear that people with a valid medical marijuana card in New York can buy and consume cannabis-derived CBD, what exactly CBD and its usages are lurks in the dark.
Let’s cater to each of these questions, one answer at a time.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a type of cannabinoid or chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. While tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is psychoactive, a cannabinoid in marijuana, CBD won’t get you high.
CBD is found in products like oils, soaps, balms, edible gummies, and lotions which can be consumed via oral tinctures and vape cartridges.
CBD Laws in New York
Right from supermarkets to cafes, products carrying CBD can be found all across New York. Some of these products are salves and tinctures, candies, oils, muffins, and coffee among others.
These products experienced a rise after the Federal Farm Bill 2018 made farming of hemp (from which CBD can be extracted and not CBD itself) legal. As part of this, New York has licensed (and continues to license) hemp growers through a pilot program.
Under the Farm Bill, Jonathan Miller – the general counsel at the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, said that it is legal to buy hemp-derived CBD online and ship it. This legal status, however, is applicable to CBD products that have a THC concentration of .3 percent or less.
Next came the issuance of an advisory letter on July 19 that stated CBD being illegal in New York when added to food or drinks. New York Department of Agriculture & Markets issued the advisory because it was found that even though CBD doesn’t contain THC, products were being adulterated with the same.
However, topical oils, patches, and oral tinctures stand as exceptions to the advisory. Not only this, the advisory does not apply to foods or beverages containing hemp seed oil (without CBD).
Unfortunately, the state hasn’t enforced the advisory fairly. While some products faced wrath; many others continue to find their way on the shelves of the places selling them.
In response to this, a cannabis grower/processor in Cortland and the president of the New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association, Allen Gandleman said, “It’s a gray area.”
Why Is CBD Illegal In Food & Beverages?
CBD is currently illegal in foods and beverages among other products like cosmetics because marijuana-based CBD contains more THC than hemp. Whether CBD can be added to drinks and food, thus, continues to be a mystery. It is because the federal drug administration advisory didn’t resolve this issue at hand.
While the bill did approve of adding about 20 ml of CBD in beverages, the bill didn’t approve CBD in gummies. Not only this, the state law doesn’t allow CBD manufacturers to label any CBD product else a lot of health claims will make their way to the bottle.
However, with the signing of a new law in 2019 by Andrew Cuomo, the hemp industry can now label its products. This is done so people know what product they are buying. CBD retailers need to have the license in order to sell CBD products.
What Are the Licensing Requirements for CBD?
The only way you can grow hemp in New York is by becoming a part of the New York Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program. An application to the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets costs around $500. If your application gets approved, the regulatory body issues a Research Partner Agreement.
With the passing of a new law in December 2019, hemp cultivators, producers, and retailers need to obtain licenses before conducting any commercial hemp and/or CBD activities. Under this law, the regulation of hemp cultivation in New York remains controlled by the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYDAM).
Are There Any Limits To New York CBD Possession?
Currently, there’s no law or restriction imposed on hemp-extracted CBD possession of products in New York. While medical marijuana NY cardholders can possess non-edible, non-smokable, cannabis-based CBD products, others might be charged or penalized for possessing the same.
Industrial Hemp In New York
Based on the US Farm Bill (2014 version), New York introduced a hemp research program focused on the cultivation of the crop together with educational institutions. Yet, there are still restrictions since they haven’t yet started a broader hemp cultivation program in response to the 2018 Farm Bill.
NY residents are still finding an abundance of hemp-derived CBD products for sale, such as foods, drinks, CBD-infused sweets, and more. Although this is good news at first, consumers should be aware that not all products are always of the best quality. Trying to find the one product that fills your specific requirements might prove to be time-consuming.
How To Buy CBD In New York?
CBD can be found everywhere in New York. However, for the best quality, we’ll recommend you buy CBD online. This is because you can go through the products and the manufacturers at length and do your prolonged research. Along with this, online sellers have a wide collection of such products.
Another point that is to be noted is that the CBD products have to undergo 3rd party testing. Thus, genuine brands, to build trust, showcase the results with pride and even mention the same on their website. In case you have trouble finding the CBD result, you know that that brand is not to be trusted.
The status of CBD in New York is a bit too dicey. While CBD products can be found everywhere in New York, finding authentic products is a hard nut to crack. One should look for products online if quality products are needed.
The laws have made it easy for people having MMJ card in NY to consume CBD. Not only this, even tourists and residents can enjoy it for recreational purposes. Buying CBD in New York is also entirely legal provided it isn’t being used as a medication but only for dietary supplements.