Updated: Mar 29, 2021
2020 made nearly every company pivot to offer online stores and at-home delivery, including CBD companies. But with laws in every state differing and seemingly changing every day, it can be confusing for consumers to know if buying CBD online is legal.
The first step is to know your state's CBD laws. The state department that regulates the hemp program for your state should have that information available for consumers. The company that you are considering purchasing from should also be up to date on the laws for your state as well. With the USDA's Hemp Production Plan being implemented in each state, laws should begin to stabilize, but if you are unsure, verifying is always a safe bet.
The next step is shipping. USPS, FedEx, and UPS all have regulations governing the shipping of hemp-derived products.
According to USPS's website "some products derived from industrial hemp are mailable under specific conditions, which include"
A license issued by the state's Agricultural Department authorizing the sender to produce hemp products
The hemp product does not contain more than the .3% THC threshold.
A business providing a current COA for a purchased product should cover the necessities. If you speak to customer service regarding your package, request that a COA be sent along with your products.
Note added 3/29/2021: The sale of CBD vape products by mail is prohibited by the Preventing Online Sales of E-cigarettes To Children Act. To read more on this Act, please click here.
UPS relies on the state and federal guidelines for guidance on Hemp products. According to UPS's website, "UPS accepts products made from Hemp (including Cannabidiol - CBD) for shipment only as permitted by all applicable state and federal laws."
UPS also stresses that it is the shipper's responsibility to ensure compliance. They go on to stress that under no circumstances will they accept packages of hemp related products from a store that also sells Marijuana and other THC related products.
To help avoid miscommunication, businesses should consider shipping a current copy of their product's COA with the customer's order.
Note added 3/29/2021: As of March 2021, CBD vape providers can ship products via UPS if they obtain a contract with the carrier. To read more about regulation details, please click here.
FedEx has a long list of prohibited content, which unfortunately includes hemp and hemp related products. Item 25 reads, "Marijuana, including marijuana intended for recreational or medicinal use and cannabidiol (“CBD”), any product that contains any amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC") and synthetic cannabinoids".
Directly under that, Item 26 prohibits, "Raw or unrefined hemp plants, or their subparts and derivatives".
Taking no chances, FedEx may be the last delivery service to join the list of those who deliver CBD products.
The more we rely on delivery services, the greater the need for clarity on what is and isn't allowed to be sent through the mail. While hemp businesses should remain up to date on shipping policies to help determine which carrier to use, being a well informed consumer is just as important.