CBD Use in Light of Federal and State Laws: Tread Carefully

The latest health craze to make the rounds in America is the use of cannabidiol (CBD) products sold as supplements, essential oils, vaping liquids, and so forth. Despite CBD having proven itself as an economically viable substance, our country currently finds itself in uncharted territory. Trying to make heads or tails of federal and state laws is elusive at best.

This may matter to you if your company is trying to develop its own CBD policy. Don't look to lawmakers to make it easy for you. Right now the legal environment surrounding CBD is nothing short of chaotic and until the dust settles there will be no clear answers.

For the record, the federal government classified CBD as a drug long before manufacturers began infusing products with it with the intention of promoting it as a health supplement. As such, marketing and selling CBD-infused products is classified as interstate commerce and is, therefore, illegal. The only saving grace is that the federal government is not fully enforcing the law.


Regulating CBD in Louisiana

At this point it might be helpful to look at what some of the states are doing in regard to CBD. We start in Louisiana, where the legislature just sent two bills to the governor's desk. One bill legalizes growing hemp while the other recognizes CBD and puts some starting regulations in place.

The bills are seen as companion bills inasmuch as CBD is extracted from hemp. Legalizing the growing of hemp is seen as a way to encourage more CBD production in the state. To that end, the second bill brings CBD product sales under the watchful eye of the Louisiana Department of Health and Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control. In essence, the same regulators who control tobacco and alcohol sales will also have control over CBD sales.


Similar Legislation in California

The Golden State has not yet reached the same place as Louisiana, but lawmakers are working on it. They are currently developing two bills that would effectively do the same thing as Louisiana's legislation. One bill would classify hemp is a legal agricultural product and the other would regulate how medicinal products – read CBD here – could be derived from that hemp.


A Single Bill in Texas

Where Louisiana and California are addressing the CBD question with dual bills, Texas aims to tackle it all in a single bill. According to news reports, state legislators are currently working on House Bill 1325, a bill that legalizes both hemp and a variety of extracts derived from it. Those extracts include CBD. However, there is a catch in the Texas bill: the derived products cannot contain more than 0.3% THC.

To the dismay of some, the Texas bill does not address marijuana. Growth and sales of marijuana are still illegal in the Lone Star State. Legislators intend to keep it that way for now.


CBD in the Workplace

While federal and state lawmakers are wrestling with questions surrounding hemp and CBD, consumers are using CBD-infused products with greater regularity. And because CBD is being promoted as a health supplement, many of those products are making it to the workplace. Where does that leave employers?

If we were talking about something like cocaine or heroin, employers would have a legal obligation to report any such use on their premises. Both hemp and CBD exist somewhere in that gray area. CBD is definitely illegal under federal law. In some states, hemp is as well. But since no one is enforcing the law at this point, there are no clear-cut answers.



  1. The Advocate – https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/politics/legislature/articl...
  2. LA Times – https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-skelton-cbd-hemp-california-...
  3. Texas Tribune – https://www.texastribune.org/2019/05/15/texas-hemp-farming-legal-under-s...