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Clarifying the Legality of CBD

(Winter 2018) You may be seeing CBD items widely for sale in Ohio, but do not be fooled. CBD sales are still illegal in the Buckeye State, except by an establishment licensed as a Medical Marijuana Control Program dispensary. In October the Ohio Board of Pharmacy issued a statement to this effect to clarify the confusion surrounding CBD, a chemical found in the hemp plant that is purported to have beneficial health effects without the “high” caused by marijuana’s THC.

Because Ohio’s House Bill 523, which set up the medical marijuana initiative, did not revise how marijuana is defined, the Board ruled that CBD falls under the original definition. Therefore, the substance is still illicit for any Ohioan not registered through the state’s medicinal cannabis program. House Bill 523, however, does permit qualified and approved patients in Ohio who suffer from one of 21 ailments to purchase and consume marijuana and marijuana-based goods, which includes CBD oil.

Currently, the Board has not stated how it intends to crack down on offending retailers. However, it made clear that action will be taken if businesses continue illegally offering items containing CBD. The Board has warned that it may pursue criminal or administrative action against drug stores and pharmacists that do not halt their sales of such merchandise. Other businesses stocking CBD-infused items, such as gas stations and health food stores, could find police at their doors.

In other CBD news, late September saw the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) move medications accepted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that are composed of CBD extracted from marijuana and have less than 0.1% THC into Schedule V. Although this is the least restrictive classification of controlled substances, it doesn’t change the fact that for the most part, CBD remains illegal under federal law. The sole medication this new schedule applies to currently is Epidiolex, a drug used to help regulate uncommon types of epilepsy.

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