The use of cannabidiol oil (CBD oil) for treating medical problems is growing faster than ever before. Since it has been legalized, it’s being bought to help relieve pain in chronic conditions like arthritis and even to fight off serious illnesses like cancer.
However, people are still being arrested for possession of CBD.
This article will explain the difference between legal and illegal CBD and why people are being arrested.
Common Legal Vs Illegal CBD Thinking
With the passing of the December 2018 Farm Bill, CBD that contains 0% THC is no longer considered illegal in any of the 50 states in the USA.
However, while CBD derived from hemp is considered legal in the 50 states, ‘marijuana’-derived CBD is illegal at the Federal level.
Both CBD and marijuana come from the cannabis plant. The difference between them lies in the concentration of THC, the compound has a psychoactive impact on the human and responsible for giving users a ‘high’.
Cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC is classed as hemp, whereas cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC is classed as marijuana.
Therefore, CBD oil that contains less than 0.3% THC is totally legal at the Federal level in the US.
A More Detailed Look
With everything that has already been discussed, it seems like the lines are still blurred. This means that it’s so important to study what the law actually states.
In 2004, Hemp Industries Association vs DEA was a case that ruled marijuana and synthetic THC were banned under the Controlled Substances Act. However, this case did not define whether CBD was specifically legal or illegal.
Therefore, it’s necessary to look into the legal definition of marijuana. This is the key to determining whether or not it is legal.
As defined by the Controlled Substances Act:
“All parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resins; but shall not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of
such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination.”
This shows that certain parts of the cannabis plant are clearly illegal. On the other hand, there are still some parts that fall into a grey area. One of which is CBD, which comes from hemp, a legal part of the cannabis plant.
Only now does the 2018 Farm Bill come in. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD is no longer considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance, meaning it’s been made federally legal.
However, CBD remains on the DEA’s list. This means that states can create their own stance on CBD, even if it is considered totally legal under the Farm Bill. It also remains illegal to obtain CBD from plants that are grown without a license.
So, while it’s still considered illegal in parts of the US, leading to intense media coverage when stories break.
Here are a couple of examples of arrests made after the 2018 Farm Bill was signed.
Disney World Arrest
A woman named Hester Burkhalter, 69, was arrested in April 2019 for the possession of CBD oil. During a routine bag check at Disney World, she was stopped as security found a 1oz bottle of CBD oil in her possession.
Photos went on to show that the bottle in question showed it contained 0mg of THC, making it federally legal. In fact, the reason why Hester had the CBD oil in her bag was because of her arthritis.
In an interview with Fox 35, Burkhalter said, “I have really bad arthritis in my legs, in my arms and in my shoulder. I use it for the pain because it helps.”
The security guard that made the arrest reported that after testing the CBD oil, they found that it did contain traces of THC. After the discovery was made, Burkhalter was arrested.
According to her bail bond agent, she then went on to spend 12 hours in jail before being released on a $2,000 bail. The charges against her were later dropped.
Dallas Airport Arrest
71-year old Lena Lena Bartula, an accomplished artist, was also arrested last year in connection with the possession of CBD oil.
As she was passing through Dallas to visit her granddaughter, police officers found the CBD oil in her bag and placed her in cuffs. Bartula was then driven to Dallas Fort Worth Airport Jail she spent the night.
The next day, Bartula was moved again to Tarrant County Jail where she would spend another night. At the time, she was facing drug felony charges.
This was protested by CBD industry attorneys. The argued that federal authorities had no right to detain Bartula, or anyone else for that matter, that was in possession of the federally legal product.
However, customs officials weren’t interested. They said they were still processing the new laws. As such, products containing THC remained prohibited.
As a general rule, if the authorities detect THC in any product, they are obliged to notify airport police. In Texas, this will likely end with an arrest as even though it’s legal at the federal level, state law still prohibits CBD oil, even if it contains less than 0.3% THC.
The charges against Bartula were later dropped after a Tarrant County grand jury decided not to move the case any further.
While CBD may have its benefits, its legality remains under the spotlight. As unfair as it might sound, that’s just the way it is at the moment. If anyone is thinking about growing, buying or using CBD oil, be prepared. There is likely to be further clarification by the government at some point but until then, it’s best to proceed with caution.