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2020 Complete Guide

Is CBD in New York Legal? | NY CBD 2020

It’s 2020, do you know where your CBD is, New York? Did you know CBD oil is perfectly legal in New York, but it’s illegal to add CBD to food? Crazy right? In this post, we’ll talk about this and other absurd aspects of New York’s CBD laws like the fact that all shops that sell CBD oil will soon be required to be licensed by the state. There’s also some good news. Let get right into it.

Table of Contents

A brief history of hemp and CBD laws in New York

Cannabis in New York State has been a long and winding road . The confusion over the legality of CBD in New York is just the latest chapter in a long story that started more than 100 years ago.

Back in 1914, the state of New York began requiring a doctor’s prescription to legally possess hashish (back then, hemp flower was not very potent). Thirteen years later the state banned cannabis altogether — hemp along with it. Hemp refers to non-intoxicating strains of cannabis.

In 1939 New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia assigned a committee to investigate the issue of cannabis. The report didn’t come out until 1944. Ironically, the committee concluded that cannabis was not associated with addiction, school children, or juvenile delinquency. The report infuriated Harry Anslinger, commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Other than that, the five-year-long study fell on deaf ears.

The evolution of New York hemp CBD laws

New York’s CBD oil policies really only started to turn around in the past decade — the same time that CBD oil started to become abundantly available in the state.

In July of 2014, New York legalized medical marijuana for patients suffering from a list of qualifying medical conditions (listed below). Today the number of patients participating in New York’s medical marijuana program is nearing 100,000.

In 2015, after the US federal government initiated a nationwide hemp pilot program, New York State launched the Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program. The measure permitted a limited number of educational institutions to grow hemp for research purposes.

In his 2018 State of the State address, Governor Cuomo initiated a study on the effects of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. In its study, The Department of Health recommended the state legalize cannabis citing potential benefits to public health and safety as well as the state’s economy.

The study was soon followed by the drafting of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act bill, intended to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana in the state. The bill never made it to the Governor’s desk. However, lawmakers did expand decriminalization.

Why are we so concerned with the legality of marijuana when we’re here to discuss CBD oil? Keep in mind, that all this time, there was nothing in state law to delineate hemp from marijuana. Therefore, technically, marijuana laws also applied to hemp and CBD oil.

Nevertheless, New York CBD retailers kept selling CBD oil and a range of other CBD products. Although some sellers did get some pushback from the state (we’ll talk about that later) for the most part, New York law enforcement officials and agencies have not bothered CBD retailers.

Everything changed in 2019 when, on the final day of New York’s legislative session, the lawmakers passed two new bills. The first measure legalized the production of hemp in the state. It also laid the foundation for the development of a regulatory system. The second bill laid out how CBD oil could be produced and sold.

Many experts consider New York’s hemp and CBD program to be one of the most comprehensive regulatory frameworks in the country.

Today there are more than 400 licensed hemp farms in New York — a 400 percent increase in just two years. Further, more than 20,000 acres of hemp were grown in New York in 2019. That’s up from 3,500 the prior year. There are also 108 licensed hemp processors in the state.

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